Leafy greens time now

Leafy greens time now

Leafy greens love cooler weather.

Endive, miners lettuce [not really a lettuce], gotu kola, parsley, rocket, chervil, coriander, lettuce, etc. There are so many varieties we can plant now.

This is a good time to plant a new lot of lettuce and other greens to provide lovely leaves for many months now the weather is cooler as the days are shorter. And it’s too cold for the caterpillars hopefully by now.

Caterpillars in autumn seem to love leafy green lettuces here. Green looper caterpillars created havoc last year. This year I have planted them under an insect mesh net. Let’s see if that is better! They don’t seem to like the endive or other greens nearly as much as succulent, juicy lettuce.

 

Soil temperature

Too cold  and seeds take ages to start to grow.

Try an experiment some time and go out at mid-afternoon and put your hand flat onto soil in full sun and notice how cold/hot it is. Now feel soil in a shaded place. Then choose where best to sow/plant for your crops.

Best times for planting seeds of greens?

After the new moon on Tuesday 15th May 2018 is the best week to plant for lush leafy greens.

The best days are Friday 18th- morning of Sunday 20th 2018. 

 

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at  http://gardenate.com

 

PPS

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 15th May

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 15th May

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the dark of the moon on Tuesday 15th May 2018. As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

Do other things instead.

Such as enjoy autumn flowers and seeds in the garden. Or check out what seeds you can save from plants that did well this year.

Autumn is such a lovely month for flowers and color. Trees changing from green to gold, red and brown. Then shedding leaves onto the ground.

Gingko 20170601

For some of us, this is a gift of mulch/compost for the garden, nourishing plants we grow.

For some people, it’s a problem, creating mess, blocked drains and slippery paths.

So, if you are an avid gardener, consider leaves as a resource falling from our trees to the ground. Especially from our beautiful street trees which provide shade in summer and light in winter. It would be great if the leaves were used rather than taken away as waste by the council street sweeper.

And if your neighbors see the leaves as a problem, maybe you can relieve them of their problem to create a wonderful benefit in your garden. This is a great time to

  • Have a big ‘clean-up’ time! Build a new compost bin – this is a time when lots of annual plants die and are ready to be composted – a great mix with the carbon from leaves fallen to the ground and some grass clippings or manure.
  • Renovate garden beds ready for their next plantings and give them a covering of leaves over some compost and other nutrients. Stops weeds growing and soil washing away in heavy rain as well as giving the worms and other soil life protection from the cold winter weather.
  • Make some lovely leaf mold for great potting mixes in spring from the fallen leaves.
  • A-n-d – to save seeds of your best plants when the seeds are fully formed and brown/black or otherwise matured so they will keep well.

 

Happy autumn gardening everyone!

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at Tui Planting calendar or at http://gardenate.com    [although I disagree with some of the recommendations as Auckland really is more temperate than sub-tropical we have found]

PPS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 —

Chokos and the ‘look-alike’ Moth Plant pest – which have you got?

Chokos and the ‘look-alike’ Moth Plant pest – which have you got?

It’s choko time again! A-n-d the pest moth plant is fruiting too. As the seeds of moth plant are apparently poisonous, please know a real choko from the poisonous alternative.

 

So how to tell the delicious from the noxious?!

Which is choko and which is Moth Plant?

 

The fruit look ‘sorta similar’ from the outside so people can easily confuse the two. Yet the leaves, flowers and seeds are different. 

Here’s how:

The Leaves

Choko

 

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Choko leaves are similar to grape vine leaves, whereas Moth Plant leaves are different.

Moth Plant:

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Moth Plant leaves and fruit

The Fruits

Here are piks of a choko fruit cut in half. One seed in the middle of the fruit.

 

Here’s a pik of a Moth Plant fruit cut in half – showing the many, many seeds in the center.

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See also the flesh is different – harder, and has a milky sap which can be really irritating so best to not touch it at all [if you must pick this plant, use gloves].

 

The Seeds

The single seed of the choko sprouts a little root and shoot from the fruit.

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Whereas the Moth Plant splits the old, shriveled fruit and releases millions of fluffy seeds [so its also called ‘kapok plant’] to fly on the wind far and wide.

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The flowers

Chokos have 2 types of flowers – the little white-petaled  male ones grow in a long group. The female one [which  forms the fruit we eat] is a single one.

 

Moth Plant flowers look very different:

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Here’s a link to a Wikipedia article on Moth Plant [also known as Kapok plant, Common moth vine, Cruel vine, and White bladder] for more info.  Also, here’s a Weed Busters article.

 

I hope this post makes clear the difference between the delicious, edible choko and the noxious, pest Moth Plant.

 

For more about the delicious chokos:

 

 

See the post for how we grow the plants and also for recipes using the fruits too.

Enjoy!

 

 

Sow below-ground crops

Sow below-ground crops

Recommended best days for sowing seeds to grow great root crops are

Tuesday 1st May, then again from afternoon Friday 4th to Sunday 6th May 2018 

Often planting charts talk generally of sowing these seeds during the week after the full moon – which will be on Monday 30th April 2018.

Here in south Auckland we’ve had rain so the ground is moist – and it’s supposed to be a warm, late winter according to NIWA. So we are putting in some carrots – I prefer Egmont Gold as it is less affected by carrot fly.

Also beetroot, daikons, radish, parsnip, etc.

Garlic

Garlic can be planted from now with good results. We’ll prepare some areas and start putting the crop in from now onward until the shortest day.

Some years we’ve had great success with this crop – to read how we grew great garlic, go here.

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We’ll choose the biggest bulbs, with the biggest cloves to replant first. The bigger the seed clove, the bigger the food store for the new seedling so it has the best start to grow big and strong.

Then we’ll save the large cloves from smaller bulbs to also plant. [And eat the smaller cloves]

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

 

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at Tui Planting calendar or at http://gardenate.com    [although I disagree with some of the recommendations as Auckland really is more temperate than sub-tropical we have found]

 

PPS

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

Sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

Sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week

Autumn here in New Zealand can be such a lovely time.

It’s time we can sow seeds for optimum growth of fruits and flowers this week,

especially Friday 27th – Sunday 29th April 2018.

Before the full moon on Monday 30th April 2018.

 

Down-under, here in New Zealand,

The ground is still warm and seeds can germinate quickly. If you haven’t already planted these and have them growing strongly, another sowing can be worth a try. NIWA forecast a late, warm autumn so it’s worth a try still

We can still sow seeds throughout the week of

  • beans – if you can keep them warm. A plastic tunnel was great last year for us to get a good crop into winter. I sow direct and put out snail bait or surround them with plastic cut-off bottles to protect from snails and slugs which love baby seedling legumes. ‘Prince’ dwarf variety is good to grow now.
  • Peas! Maybe it’s time to plant peas again now – they like it cooler so will crop when the cooler weather arrives.  Plant the seeds 3x diameter of the seed to keep them down where the soil will be moister than near the surface where they could still dry out.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel-sprouts, kale, etc – seedlings rather than seeds probably would be better now.
  • Flowers – check requirements. Now we can plant flowers which will over-winter – different types to spring planting. Sweet peas! Love them.

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This week the moon is growing towards full and the days listed are when many aspects line up to give optimum good germination for strong seedlings. Worth a try I think.

 

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at  http://gardenate.com

 

PPS

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 

 

 

 

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

20160521_100028Woo hoo! It’s choko time again!

Here’s a link to a post about the delicious chokos available now.

The small ones are the ones we eat [like those lower left in the photo showing many chokos of different sizes].

Steam a few minutes for the tiny ones whole or sliced medium-sized ones. Sweet and delicious when they are young.

Large chokos develop a tough skin and are flavorless compared with the tiny ones. We spice large ones to make them worth eating. They are kept in a cold place until we have no more small ones on the plant. Then we use the large ones [unless we’ve given them away].

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Large chokos are usually the ones available in shops. If you see small ones, choose them for flavor.

Chokos grow on a rampant vine. Our’s covers the back fence and a tree. It will die back as cold winter weather and frosts arrive.

choko vine over cherry guava tree

The roots remain in the ground to re-sprout next spring. Covering the roots with mulch for protection in winter helps this short-lived perennial plant last longer.

Where could you put such an abundant provider of sweet, buttery new chokos to enjoy next autumn?

See the post for how we grow the plants and also for recipes using the fruits too.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Leafy greens time now

Leafy greens time now

Lettuces love cooler weather.

And other leafy greens – endive, miners lettuce [not really a lettuce], gotu kola, parsley, rocket, chervil, coriander, etc.

There are so many ways to have the benefit of raw, leafy greens, even in winter.

This is a good time to plant a new lot of lettuce and other greens to provide lovely leaves for many months now the weather is cooler as the days are shorter. And it’s too cold for the caterpillars soon.

Caterpillars in autumn seem to love leafy green lettuces here. Green looper caterpillars created havoc last year. This year I have planted them under an insect mesh net. Let’s see if that is better!

They don’t seem to like the endive or other greens nearly as much as succulent, juicy lettuce.

 

Moisture

It’s such a balancing act – too much moisture [either from over-head rain or watering] makes for constantly wet leaves which touch each other, hold moisture and become slimy or mush – not nice!

Keep them just moist so they can germinate and grow strong roots. Sometimes a tunnel-house or cover can grow  greens well when there is too much rain about. Isn’t Auckland amazing with the amount of rain and warmth we get.

 

Soil temperature

Too cold  and seeds take ages to start to grow.

Try an experiment some time and go out at mid-afternoon and put your hand flat onto soil in full sun and notice how cold/hot it is. Now feel soil in a shaded place. Then choose where best to sow/plant for your crops.

Best times for planting seeds of greens?

After the new moon on Monday 16th April 2018 is the best week to plant for lush leafy greens.

The best days are Tuesday 17th-Wednesday 18th, and again on Saturday 21st – Sunday 22nd April 2018. 

 

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at  http://gardenate.com

 

PPS

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!