Buds are forming on deciduous plants and bursting into blossom or leaf. Joy oh joy.
Can we plant veggie seeds and seedlings out now it’s spring?
The days are getting longer.
Yet the ground is still cold and wet, wet, wet here in Auckland.
Seeds sown outside take a long time to sprout [or rot or are eaten by insects].
Seedlings of flowers and veg which are planted out now will sit and wait for warmer soil to grow – so are tasty targets for slugs and snails etc. then we wonder why they haven’t grown.
Keep tomatoes and their relatives in a warm place until November before planting in the garden.
The soil is way too cold for them to grow outside unprotected yet.
To have a successful planting delicate, tender seedlings need protection from:
- the heaps of slugs and snails which miraculously appear now. Keeping them away from delicious, tender new sprouting seedlings requires some effort.
- strong cold winds
- birds – especially black-birds which are nesting at present and determinedly scratch for worms scattering seeds and seedlings out of the soil in their efforts.
- any pets which can dig [or neighbourhood cats]
- possums and rats which can cause havoc if you have them around
What sort of protection?
These are my favorites: For veg, full plastic cover over hoops on raised beds with bird netting over the top and looped onto hooks on the wood to hold all in place in strong winds.
A protective surround. Cut down plastic bottles, one per seedling can work. I put a bird net over the lot as we have determined black-birds which up-root most such attempts. And hook tent-pegs or weed-mat pegs over the sides into the ground to stop the wind blowing them away.
A plastic bag cover over a frame with the plastic buried into the ground so there is no access [+ snail bait/deterrent for the determined ones].
A plastic tunnel cover [with covered ends too] +snail bait/deterrent
Any other inventive physical barrier!
And have patience – seedlings grow in warm soil – use your inner wrist or a thermometer – not your gloved hand – to feel if it’s warm enough for them to thrive.
May your spring garden bring you joy!
For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com
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!