Sow seeds for leafy greens next week after the dark of the moon on Friday 16th February 2018.
Best days – Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th February 2018, then again from Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd February 2018 [here in New Zealand].
This is a challenging time to grow leafy greens – through summer heat and humidity. Partial shade and constant water supply help them grow leaves rather than bolt to seed.
If you do plant, heat-lovers are good. Cool-loving lettuce, spinach, coriander [cilantro] take more care and attention at this time – can you give it to them now?
Leafy greens are best in semi-shade now as they bolt to seed in strong sun and dry soil.
They need constant moisture to stay tender [Auckland is really helping there with all the rain we’ve had!]. I keep a watch on soil moisture around them [I poke a finger into the soil and feel if its moist or not].
It’s good to sow new batches often so there are more growing leaves when previous crops are making flowers and seeds instead.
If you do sow seeds, choose from
- Lettuce – I’ve spread around seed-heads from a number of summer varieties so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does now – hot/dry/wet. In shade as well as some sunnier beds.
- Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden] These are self-seeding around the garden at present. Even perpetual beet [which is coarser to us but withstands rust and mold better than traditional forms so we grow some of each.
- Rocket [Arugula] – the perennial version which is stronger tasting, and has finely divided leaves. It seems to survive the heat better, in fact, it has prospered this year.
- Asian greens – maybe mizuna. Haven’t grown so well this summer, so maybe more success soon.
- New Zealand Spinach – ours is self-seeding so I’ll look see if there are little, new ones growing. It’s OK cooked [needs 2 changes of boiling water to draw out and minimize the oxalic acid content – in the same way that adult forms of true spinach and silver-beet also need]
Still time to plant hot-climate ‘greens’ including:
- Magenta Spreen [Chenopodium giganteum] – see Wikipedia for more info
Amaranth [we like Mekong Red = Amaranthus tricolor] – see Wikipedia for more info
Orach [Atriplex hortensis] – see Wikipedia for more info
All grow more strongly in warmer weather than do lettuce or silver-beet. Most also grow far taller than lettuce. Do some research. Have a go with something different too.
Summer is a challenging time to have traditional leafy greens grow well – they need some care.
Best wishes and enjoy the warm weather and your garden!
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!