Time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers before 23rd November

Time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers before 23rd November

Down-under this week we can sow seeds for optimum growth of fruits and flowers,

Best days for fruits and flowers are said to be

  • Saturday 17th Nov and Sunday 18th,
  • and again from the afternoon of Wednesday 21st through Thursday 22nd November 2018 [here in New Zealand].

Before the full moon on Friday 23rd November 2018.

The ground is warm! hooray! It’s dried out heaps so keep checking soil is moist and water as required.

Still time to plant more

  • tomatoes – hopefully the ground is warm enough for them to grow well outside where you are. Maybe seedlings would be better to plant now?

    cherry tomatoes harvest!
    cherry tomatoes harvest
  • pumpkins/squashes/zucchini [courgettes]/cucumbers/melons/gourds – if you have lots of space, compost and warmth

    12898258_900147743416881_1502145590120298891_o
    pumpkin/squash harvest
  • legumes – such as beans Beans 20170111
  • Flowers – check requirements – there are so many options – find which ones you like which are good to sow now.

    20161220_172118
    Vanilla passion-fruit – delicious

 

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 if the outside climate is provided for their needs.

May the weather support growing great plants! 
Cheers
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!

Sow seeds of leafy greens after 8th November

Sow seeds of leafy greens after 8th November

Sow seeds of leafy greens in the week after the new moon on the 8th November 2018.

Best days for sowing leafy greens are said to be Monday 12th Nov and Tuesday 13th November 2018 [here in New Zealand].

We are moving into warmer times as summer arrives. Leafy greens are best in semi-shade now as they bolt to seed in strong sun. And 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].

It’s good to sow new batches often so there are more growing leaves when previous crops are making flowers and seeds instead.

I will sow seeds throughout the week of

  • Lettuce – I’ll sow a number of varieties so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/cold/wet.
  • Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden]
  • Rocket [Arugula] 
  • 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]

     Hot-climate ‘greens’ including:

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 much prefer cooler weather.

When the weather warms up lettuce etc bolt to seed fast and produce fewer leaves which easily go bitter. When stressed, they stop making leaves and make flowers and seeds instead.

To encourage leafy greens to grow leaves instead of bolting to seed,

  • keep them well-watered 
  • Keep the soil moist and the leaves dry – a challenge for us! When the leaves stay wet they can go slimy or grow rust – not nice.
  • If you water from above, check the sun won’t shine onto the leaves while wet as the droplets focus the sun’s rays and can burn tender leaves.
  • give the plants filtered shade from hot sun – either by taller plants or by shade cloth coverings.
  • Check them daily [especially lettuce with its small, shallow root system]
  • pick individual leaves for salads and cooked greens
  • sow/plant a new batch each week for a continuous supply so we have some growing well even when previous lots are going to seed.

This is a time when I grow excess plants as some will be growing leaves when others are bolting – its all just the cycle of the plant’s life and I work with it as much as possible.

We usually manage to have greens available each day – often heaps! So nice.

Best wishes and enjoy the warm weather in your garden!
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!

How we grow tender food seedlings – in spite of gale winds!

How we grow tender food seedlings – in spite of gale winds!

Auckland has gale winds just now – gee this is tough for seedlings!

Ingenuity is needed to grow tomatoes, chilies, eggplants [aubergines], pumpkins, zucchinis [courgettes], peppers, cucumbers, etc in howling gale winds.

Here are some creative ways we tried.

 

Each year we plant some seedlings in spring

  • in a place which is protected from the cold southerly winds
  • beside the patio of pavers
  • near the brick house so they have a thermal mass behind them.

The ground warms up faster here than anywhere else on our place.

 

Then we run out of space and plant elsewhere – gee the winds are strong and cold here in South Auckland near the Manukau Harbour! So new seedlings are given a shelter of some sort.

Any clear[ish] plastic bags over some sort of frame can protect baby seedlings until they are big enough to withstand adverse conditions. These are on wire frames.

Here we are trying for early zucchinis – and they still have whole leaves in spite of gale winds – I love shelters like this in Spring! In years past, before we made these shelters the large leaves of zucchinis would be shredded by winds – really set them back. We are looking forward to new season zuccs now – its been a long winter since we grew any so we give them shelter to grow and produce for us.

These zucc seedlings are growing so fast they will need a wider frame and bag soon.

 

For tomatoes, we have taller frames

– which is just the right size for a dry cleaning bag – my favourite wind protection as it is really tough and clear. It is the perfect size to go around the frame. We save them from year to year. [I’m thinking of asking local people who use dry-cleaners to save bags for us!]

Tomatoes really seem to love being protected in these mini hot-houses.

20161011_122816

These frames are ‘tomato frames’ from hardware/nurseries. They have clip on horizontal supports which work we for us. Some of ours are years old.

As the weather warms up I cut the top of the bag completely open and make holes around the side so there is airflow. The long staking tomato varieties grow out the top – up, up and away!

 

We leave the plastic bags around the plants for the whole season. We’ve had great success using this technique in other windy marginal sites in past years. Let’s see if it helps grow great crops now.

The frames are too flimsy for strong winds so are tied to star pickets (strong sturdy metal posts) with rope.

Our garden looks like we are growing plastic shelters and bird-netting!

20181105_141707

The bird net goes up and over the whole lot – bed, plants, frames, the works – so the very active black-birds don’t dig the lot up immediately! They are very interested whenever we work in the garden – they know there are worms and interesting things in these garden beds.

20161009_171502

Bird netting also helps reduce wind speed we have found. Every bit helps!

Also the real wind-break stuff – we use it around new baby trees when planted – seems to help too.

Each year conditions change and so the varieties we have most success with also changes.

 

The weather prediction for Auckland this summer:
warmer and more windier than normal.

I wonder which variety will do best this year?

 

Best wishes with your explorations growing crops outside their climatic comfort zones too!

To your flourishing garden
Heather

For more on how we grow early tomatoes, here’s the link.  If you’re interested in the results of quality, quantity and disease resistance experiments we have run in the past here’s a link.

 

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 8th November

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 8th November

Time to rescue broccoli, cauli, cabbage, kale, and relatives from the white butterfly caterpillar damage while it’s time-out from sowing seeds from Thursday 1st November until after the dark of the moon on Thursday 8th November 2018. 

Make some white butterfly decoys to save your crops of cauliflowers, broccoli, cabbage, kale, etc [all the brassica family which the caterpillars love to munch on – and leave eggs, grubs, holes and waste!] These are so much fun – and we like our food un-attacked.

20171011_152813

And this 6 sec video shows ours dancing in the breeze – lovely.

For a ‘walk-through’ of making your decoys, here’s how we did it.

 

This is also a time to

  • Prepare garden beds for planting
  • either stake plants you wish to keep for seed production [for next year’s crops]
  • or remove the bolting plants [like the beet stalks above]to free up space for new crops and make compost with them
  • Collect items such as bird-net, pegs, snail deterrent/bait/traps so your efforts planting will be able to survive the animals/birds/weather
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

 

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 [and when the ground is warm!] and do some of these alternatives instead.

 

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!

 —

Sow seeds of below-ground crops after 25th October

Sow seeds of below-ground crops after 25th October

Root crops to sow now could include carrots, beetroot, radish, parsnip and similar.

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

  • Friday October 26th 
  • and again Monday arvo 29th through to Wednesday 31st October 2018

Often planting charts talk generally of sowing these seeds during the week after the full moon on Thursday 25th October, as it appears to get smaller.

This is a great time to start sowing heaps of root veg for maturing later and storing.

 

Carrots!

This is a good time for us to actually get them to grow if the ground is still moist here in Auckland.

Germination can be erratic and carrot seeds are tiny so are best planted just at the surface with a very thin covering of fine soil. Which means they dry out quickly too so keep a close eye on them and nurture the babies well so they grow good roots for later.

Some people like to cover the sown seeds with protection from drying out. Hessian, newspaper, boards and whatever is available can work well. Do keep a close eye on the seed bed and remove these covers when the tiny sprouts appear – they need light to grow. Without light they grow lank and spindly – and are loved by pests.

 

Aren’t the ferny fronds of carrot leaves so delicate compared to the fleshy root we eat? This patch has garlic, carrots and beetroot. Which are invisible below the ground. We never quite know what the harvest will be like, so a sense of adventure and optimism always helps explorations.

We ‘mix and match’ different plants for diversity, pest minimization, and just for the fun of it.

Here the carrots are paired with garlic [taller spikes of leaves at the back] in the hope that the stronger garlic smell will cover the scent of carrots which attract carrot fly [which eat the roots].

These are ‘Egmont Gold carrots which were said to be more resistant to these pests than other varieties in trials carried out by friends. Worth a try.

 

20170528_154908

 

Do we plant tubers such as potatoes or sweet potato [kumera] now?

This is late for us to plant potatoes [we plant them to crop before the psyllid bugs are out in force when the weather warms up]. If you plant now, maybe a mesh cover could protect them?

Kumera  likes heat so choose a warm site or they would like a ‘mini hot-house’ over the green shoots for protection still.

These kumera were sprouted on the kitchen bench. The shoots were cut off well above the tuber [so no disease was included] then placed into a jar of water to see the tiny new roots form. I find it amazing each time I see such wonderful growth which is usually invisible in the soil – roots astonish me with how fast they can grow!

For more about our kumera growing experiments, here’s a previous post.

 

We will also plant

Beetroot  Eg, this is ‘chiogga’ which grows alternating layers in circles of pink and white flesh. Sweet and very nice.

20160924_121549

Beetroot seed is really a group of seeds joined together so they tend to grow in a clump.

Often directions say to thin out the smaller seedlings to leave the bigger one to grow.

We leave them all to grow usually, until one root is big enough to pick, remove it, and leave the smaller ones to grow bigger. Less effort and easier all round. Mostly it works.

 

Daikon radish is a long Asian variety

20160927_172201

Young ones like this are a tasty addition to stir-fries or curries or soups or casseroles.

We eat the white root part – nicest when small as older ones can get strong-tasting. The green leaves are also edible and treasured in some Asian cooking.

Said to be great support for liver function – so I think that means it helps our liver deal with all the variety of other chemicals it processes – everything from food and drink to contaminants in these or in the air or water we consume. Seems a simple way to support our well-being so we try different options.

We also use them also for loosening heavy soil [aka the clay of the suburban yard where we live]. The bonus is also getting a harvest to eat.

 

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!

 

 

 

Sow seeds for fruits, flowers and seeds before 25th October

Sow seeds for fruits, flowers and seeds before 25th October

This is a wonderful time to plant seeds for your favorite pumpkins, squashes, zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, chilies, cucumbers, beans.

Also seed-producing plants – chia anyone? Or other grains? rice, quinoa, amaranth? etc?

Best week to sow for fruits, flowers and seeds is said to be before the full moon.

This month, the full moon is on Thursday 25th October 2018.

Best days for fruits and flowers are said to be Saturday 20th October through to Monday 22nd October 2018.

 

Seeds from a favorite pumpkin can be scraped directly into a lovely big pile of rich compost or aged manures to grow wonderfully. Keep some of the fibrous material around the seeds as it helps support their growth.

[Cover the pile as birds love scratching for worms and seedlings are destroyed as they do so]

 20170902_143700

Labels!

If I write the labels and keep them with the packets of seeds, I’m more likely to put them with the seeds when I sow them – whether in pots or trays of the ground. Really helps me remember what I’ve put where in the ground, especially before they poke through the soil surface.

When I just sow seeds, I forget I’ve done so and a week or so later I put something else in too – makes for confusion.

20170901_160036
Seed sorting time

 

Wonderful time to sow

  • tomatoes – plant seedlings out when the ground at your place is warm enough. Auckland is nearly maybe warm enough – yet humid or wet air is a challenge for tomatoes which prefer hot, dry climates and we need to keep a watch for molds and mildew. We use micro-climates – little warm spots on the north side of a brick wall/paving, protected from cold winds.  Or give them a ‘mini-hothouse’. For more tips about how we grow great tomatoes, go here.
    20160413_090609
    Tomato harvest – golden and cherry varieties

     

  • pumpkins/squashes/zucchini [courgettes] – if you have lots of space, compost and warmth these can be generous crops

    12898258_900147743416881_1502145590120298891_o
    pumpkin/squash harvest
  • cucumbers – we grew heaps last year – a wonderful feast  20161214_174257
  • corn! It seems ages since we had our own corn – well, at least last year. So this is a great time when the soil is warmer to grow delicious corn. If you choose a heritage variety, you can keep it alive and well in your area. Some are delicious. [One tip: with the older varieties, they lose sweetness fast so pick and immediately cook in boiling water/bbq/etc to stop the enzyme activity which converts sugars to starch.]
  • chilies, capsicum, eggplant – these like it even warmer that tomatoes so give them the warmest spot available. I think I would be planting seedlings rather than sowing seeds now. Although we have chili plants 2 and 3 years old which still produce fruit. There were very few in the first year but overall they have produced well.
  • legumesbeans are more heat tolerant than peas [save them for autumn/winter/spring crops] so now is time to grow great bean crops. For more about how we grow great bean crops in our home gardens, go here.Beans 20170111
  • Flowers – check requirements: some grow brilliantly now for summer display. Some are better to plant in autumn when cooler, moister weather arrives again.

20170603_111916

 

This is a favorite time for me. Put seeds into warm ground and they sprout quickly.  Feed them well and it seems like they grow new leaves and stems each day. Wonderful.

 

‘3 sisters’ corn, legume, pumpkin/cucumber crops

I have had variable success with the ‘3 sisters’ crops. Some years these have been great. Some years the pumpkin swamped the rest. So now I sow the corn then wait for it to grow at least 10 cm tall before sowing the climbing beans then wait for them to grow 2 sets of leaves and look robust before planting pumpkin seeds. Cucumbers may be a good option.

2014-01-01 11.52.58

 

Corn and pumpkins are hungry crops so the ground needs to be rich to support them to fruit well. Buckets of compost rather than just a little thin layer. The beans add some nitrogen back to the soil for the other plants – that helps.

Here are 2 beds with corn and beans growing well in the left bed while the pumpkin is just starting round the back. On the right, the pumpkin swamped the corn.

Vibrant food garden beds

 

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!

 

Plant leafy greens now – and save some for seeds for next year’s crops

Plant leafy greens now – and save some for seeds for next year’s crops

Useful info for planting seeds to produce great crops of leafy greens:

Best phase of the moon is the week after the new moon on Tuesday 9th October 2018.

Best days are

  • Wednesday October 10th through to Friday 12th, then again
  • Monday 15th October and Tuesday 16th October 2018.

 

Leafy greens grow best in cooler, moister conditions. Sometimes we are lucky about this time of year. We have lots of varieties to choose from so now is a time for quick-maturing ones and heat-resistant varieties too. Those planted now will mature in warmer weather so keep an eye on them.

Watch out for a short hot spell which sends them to seed. Get ready to harvest leaves [they keep in the fridge for some days].

If it gets warm, well, that’s great for other crops so when we lose the lettuces we gain great tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchinis etc. So, for me, its all in how I look at the situation. We also grow mizuna, magenta spreen and other greens to fill the gaps.

When the leafy greens do bolt to flower and seed, that’s a great time to save yourself some well-adapted seeds which can regrow next season.

Plants which have grown well, producing abundant leaves over a long time – your best performers – are prime ones to save seeds from. Choose which now.

 

Choose the best performers and give them a  stake for support. As well as supporting the tall growth, the stake helps us remember to keep that plant for seed [and tells enthusiastic helpers to leave it alone!]

Could little lettuces, parsley, endive or silver-beet plants really need a stake?

They shoot up and up and up – as tall as me. And then blow over in strong winds; onto any other plants nearby. Not so good. Strong stakes support them and give an attachment point to confine their expansive spreading ways!

 

20141225_171548
Red-stemmed silver-beet and parsley flowering and seeding – 1.5 m tall and still going up!

 

How do we choose which plants to allow to seed and which not?

Here are the factors we use for saving leafy greens seeds:

And

If we left the first plants to shoot up and seed, we are selecting for a shorter season of the leaves we like – hmmm.

 

Each garden is a unique little environment of its own – no two are the same.

Saving your own high-quality seed gives you a huge advantage next season in the garden which grew the seed!

 

Consider the whole life-cycle when you are choosing which plants to let flower and seed. There’s more about what to look for in this post.

Saving seeds is a wonderful adventure where we can experiment – and you never know when you will get wonderful types just right for you and your garden.

 

For a note about cross-pollination, see this important information

Pollen of one variety can cross-pollinate other similar types so it’s well worth finding which you need to be careful with.

Have a great time saving your very own seeds. For more about saving leafy green seed, here’s the post again.

 

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!