Sow seeds for fruits and flowers before 17th June

Sow seeds for fruits and flowers before 17th June

It’s time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers this week until the full moon on Monday 17th June 2019.

Especially good days include Tuesday 11th June through to Saturday 15th June 2019 [here in New Zealand] – if you have a warm place!

Here in New Zealand, the weather is cool/cold. Less day-light round the shortest day means the ground is also cool. This is a time to plan more and sow less until the ground warms up. Or sow under shelter, such as a hot-house or tunnel-house.

The ground is cold and seed sowing really only gives results in hot-houses, tunnel-houses, conservatories, or inside somewhere light. A heat-pad [often sold at pet stores to keep pets warm] gives bottom heat needed by some seeds to germinate.

 

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 [even just sprouts on the window-sill], plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

Leafy greens time after 3rd June

Leafy greens time after 3rd June

Leafy greens love cooler weather.

A-n-d snails and slugs love tender greens!

We surround seedlings with a protective barrier where possible. These ones have been reused over and over so I am happy with them. We also use an assortment of cut-down plastic containers to surround seedlings.

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Endive, miners lettuce [not really a lettuce], gotu kola, parsley, rocket, chervil, coriander, lettuce, etc. There are so many varieties we can enjoy. The ground is getting very cool for successful germination now so I hope your previous plantings are doing well.

 

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. If at all until Spring.

Best times for planting seeds of greens?

After the new moon on Monday 3rd June 2019 is the best week to plant for lush leafy greens.

The best days are Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th 2019. 

 

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 after 5th May

Plant leafy greens after 5th May

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.

[NB – not heat-lovers like basil though, and gotu kola needs a sheltered spot to start to root and will grow when weather warms up in late Spring]]

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. They don’t seem to like the endive or other greens nearly as much as succulent, juicy lettuce. Keep a close eye on your tender crops and if the ends of leaves look like they are being removed, check under-sides of all leaves for a caterpillar [small or large!]

 

Soil temperature

If the soil is too cold, seeds take ages to start to grow. Then they rot or are eaten by beasties. Find a warm spot to sow seeds.

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 Sunday 5th May 2019 is the best week to plant for lush leafy greens.

The best days are Monday 6th, then again on Thursday 9th and Friday 10th 2019. 

 

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!

Preparing for winter!

Preparing for winter!

Winter is coming. When we take stock and take charge, we can enjoy winter. What do you need to sort so you can enjoy this winter in your garden?

This info comes from an article I wrote for our local newsletter – and I thought it might be helpful to you as well so have included it here. Not all about gardens, but to enjoy our gardens we need the rest sorted too so here goes.

In our gardens

Trees – check for safety in high winds. Whole trees or dead branches ready to fall? Sort these now.

Wind and frost shelter for small, young trees can really help them survive and thrive.

The piks below show young citrus trees protected by mesh in an area exposed to strong, cold winds and frosts. They are doing fine in spite of the weather.

 

Protection for other crops can extend their season too. Lettuces go slimy in too much rain so a plastic cover can help grow nice lettuces.

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Paths and driveways can get slippery in winter. Do they need a clean off now so they will be safe?

Areas prone to become bogs? Standing water on grass/garden beds/paths? Any drainage you could do to sort this better so it is safe and more enjoyable to work in these areas?

Mulching can protect garden beds from heavy rain impact.

Slugs and snails emerge when the summer dry weather changes to wetter, cooler weather. Now’s a great time to reduce numbers so fewer are around to decimate leafy green crops and seedlings – 1 snail can chomp through so many seedlings that I had trouble believing it! Do you want more ideas on slug/snail control? Here’s a post I wrote with strategies we tried.

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Rain water

Winter can replenish supplies of water in the ground, re-vitalise soil, refill our water-tanks and dams. Wonderful!

If you want to catch water to use on your garden next summer, now is a great time to put in rain-tanks. There are so many options! Some are quick, easy and cheap. Others take more effort, time and $$. Here are a few ideas to start with.

 

It can also bring too much rain too quickly so the overflows surge out of streams, gutters, down-pipes, etc washing away our prized soil and plants, causing havoc in buildings, flooding roads etc.

Now is a great time to sort any issues with:

Gutters and downpipes on houses, sheds, garages

Are they working properly? Any obstacles to free flow of water down from roof so overflows don’t go down inside walls/ceilings? Some gutter types are better designed than others to clear excess water away from our homes. Worth a few minutes to check and clear debris collected in gutters now.

[PS: ‘ladder-safe’ awareness – you do not need to climb ladders – a plumber or home maintenance person will sort the gutters for you – it’s worth it from a safety aspect. Please be ‘ladder safe’. ]

Gully traps

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Connections to the sewerage system take dirty water from kitchen, bathroom and toilet through the gully traps. If not free-flowing – yukky mess which can spill out! Do you know where the pipes go down into the gully-trap pit? Can you check that the covers are in good condition, free from blockages? Otherwise, now is a great time to call a plumber to fix it.

Check storm-water flows in it’s own pipes so it does not flow into the sewerage system and overload it. If overloaded, the pipes overflow yuk around your place [or anyone elses]. Or into the beaches and harbours. Not nice at all. Sort it now.

Street gutters and catch-pits

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Rainwater falling on the ground flows down-slope into city/town streets where it is channelled to underground pipes via the gutters and catch-pits. People living down-slope from roads can be flooded in extreme rain when pits and gutters are blocked. How are your garden beds in relation to potential over-flows? Your paths and driveway? Buildings?

Roads themselves can be flooded and dangerous to drive on. It’s worth checking and clearing the road gutters and pits near you so excess water can get away rather than flood areas. Where is the nearest pit to your place? Is it clear?

Rats and Mice!!

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As the weather becomes colder and rainier, rodents look for warm shelter – our homes, garages, sheds are attractive targets. Compost bins and chook sheds are prime targets – warm and food provided!

Rodents [and possums too] also like quality home-grown food crops so if your fruit is munched, or carrots dug and mutilated etc, it’s worth making your place far less attractive, however works for you.

Check all round each likely target at your place. Also check under-floor spaces, in roof cavity and walls too for droppings. Also vehicles, engine areas etc. Target your defenses to places rodents like.

Which of the many defense options are best for you? Traps, live-catch traps, baits or ‘Good Nature’ traps as used by DOC. Ultrasonic deterrents? Other? Baits are recommended to be locked into traps inaccessible to small children and pets. Check traps often and remove rodents as appropriate, or replenish baits if needed.

Health

Your health and well-being matter – physical and mental.

Our gardens can help lift our spirits if we get out into them. When we are down, it’s hard to feel motivated but making an effort is so worthwhile.

Here’s a few other ways to support our health this winter.

Check stocks of remedies for winter ills [coughs, colds, etc] are current and ready.

Time for a health check with a doctor/nurse/health practitioner before winter?

Vaccinations – any relevant for you/ your family /pets?  flu up to date? 

Exercise – not so easy to keep fit [so helpful for staying healthy] in the colder, wetter months with shorter days – what strategies can you include in your days? Gardens can really get us warm and energised when we work hard clearing ground, digging [if you dig!], turning compost, carting compost to gardens, etc. So good.

Heating

Keeping warm really helps maintain health. We can be warm while physically active in a garden. We also benefit from keeping warm inside our homes.

Time to get heaters out of cupboards, dust them off and turn them on to check they will work when you need them.

Heat-pump – need filters cleaned [easy] or a service to work well?

Electric blankets – new? old? been folded up in a cupboard/box?If so, do have them checked for electrical safety before use. Many house fires have started from failed electric blankets, and that’s a big cost.

Wood-burners – does it need the flue checked and cleaned before use? No birds nests inside?

Ultra-dry firewood burns hottest and cleanest with minimum smoke  produced – time to check supplies? And/or purchase from a reputable seller so you get dry, long-burning wood?

Draughts – waste your precious heat and bring cold air in. Can you block up draughts? Seal door frames and window frames, fit protective curtains [apparently duvets or bubble-wrap make great insulation over windows to block heat loss!] Make ventilation, not draughts.

Humidity and mould

Excess humidity encourages mould growth on our plants, and in our homes it contributes to poor air quality.

In the garden, check and sort mould issues on leaves, fruit and flowers.

What strategies can you use to reduce excess humidity to make a comfortable home? Ventilation, dehumidifier, heat-pumps also remove moisture.

Wet clothes give off lots of moisture as they dry. Can they ‘solar dry’ sometimes outside? Can a dryer be vented to the outside?

Check windows, frames, blinds, curtains etc for black mould spots to be removed before winter humidity sets them growing.

Clothing

Are the winter clothes still OK to use? Are your winter garden clothes threadbare/falling apart with much use? Still warm or time to be replaced?

Boots, gumboots, clogs, shoes, or whatever you wear in the garden in winter – waterproof? Or cracking up and need repair/replacement?

Kids outgrown theirs and need bigger ones? Any you can pass on to other people to keep them warm this winter too?

Bedding

Are winter bedclothes still warm or getting worn and it’s time to replace them? Pillows, too as dust mites love old ones.

Hot-water bottles – still pliable and in good condition? Or getting small cracks indicating possible leaks? Is it time to replace before this happens?

Cars and other vehicles

Battery – as weather gets colder, batteries work harder to start the car. Is the battery a few years old? Time to visit a battery supplier/auto-electrician for a check-up before it fails?

Tyres – wet roads bring oil to the surface and can be very slippery. Have tyres lots of tread [>1.5mm thick all over] to grip the road for you? If they seem smooth and lost their grip, is it time for replacements? You and your family are important!

Wet slippery roads – accidents waiting to happen as other drivers forget to slow down and drive to the conditions. Allow extra time for trips so you and your family are safe on the roads.

Windscreen wipers getting old and leaving streaks across the windscreen? Not giving a clear view ahead? Will cleaning them remove build-up along the blade? Or a new set?

Does the windscreen washer container need filling with water/detergent solution/your favourite mix so it cleans the wet road grime off for you to see clearly, even in the rain?

Service cars [brakes, etc] before winter sets in?

Whatever you do now will be so much easier than when winter weather really sets in.

So you can enjoy the cooler months and the gifts they bring. Beauty of winter flowers, sparkling frost, crisp fresh air and sky.  What brings joy to your heart in winter?

Plant leafy greens after 5th April

Plant leafy greens after 5th April

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 Friday 5th April 2019 is the best week to plant for lush leafy greens.

The best days are Sunday 7th – Monday 8th, and again on Thursday arvo 11th – Friday 12 April 2019. 

 

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!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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.

 

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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.

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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

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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!