If you can fit in some sowing amidst the festive season busy-ness!
In the pik above, the red-stemmed chard is bolting to seed [see the long tall stem in the right side of the pik?] and we will encourage instead the new plants of magenta spreen [in center of pik, with pink on leaves and growing tip]
Sow seeds for leafy greens next week – Sunday 9th through to Tuesday morning 11th December 2018 and then again on Friday 14th [here in New Zealand].
It is a challenging time to grow good leafy greens through the festive season and summer!
If you do plant, heat-lovers need less care. 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, hot winds and dry soil. They need constant moisture to stay tender so keep a watch on soil moisture around them [I poke a finger into the soil and feel if its moist or not]. Automatic watering systems are wonderful now.
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 – maybe I’ll spread around seed-heads from a number of summer varieties so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/wet. In shade!
- 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.
- Rocket [Arugula] – maybe lucky to get some leaves before they bolt to seed – in which case, the seeds will be waiting there for cooler weather. Or check out the perennial version which is stronger tasting, and has finely divided leaves. It seems to survive the heat better.
- Asian greens – maybe mizuna.
- 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]
- cilantro [leaf coriander]
- Hot-climate ‘greens’ including:
Magenta Spreen [Chenopodium giganteum] – see Wikipedia here for more info
Amaranth [we like Mekong Red = Amaranthus tricolor] – see Wikipedia for more info
Orach [Atriplex hortensis] – see Wikipedia here 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.
Ceylon Spinach – see Wikipedia here for more info – more succulent type than other greens. More like New Zealand Spinach I think.
Summer is a challenging time to have traditional leafy greens grow well – they much prefer cooler weather.
Grow hot-climate greens instead now.
Enjoy the festive season, the garden will be waiting for you later when there is time and you can enjoy it too.
Best wishes and enjoy the warm weather, the festive season and your garden!
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!