Take a rest from sowing seeds after 29th Dec and we wish you a happy new year!

Take a rest from sowing seeds after 29th Dec and we wish you a happy new year!

Take time out from sowing seeds from Saturday 29th until after the dark of the moon on Sunday 6th January 2019. 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.

Maybe enjoy feasting from what was sown before? Strawberries, other berries, plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots! What a wonderful season.

 

This is not a time to sow/plant – and, it is also the holiday season so it’s nice we can enjoy it.

 

It’s great we can focus on the holiday events, and keep garden maintenance just ticking over for a bit. And it’s even rained in Auckland so we can ease up on watering! It has rained so much we haven’t hardly watered the garden so far.

The garden can still get out of hand when plants grow fast from warmth + moisture.  Keep it simple now and know you can catch up later. Watering can still be important so keep an eye on soil moisture still – automatic waterers are wonderful.

And spend time enjoying the output from plants you put in before.

A garden can be a great place to spend a few moments to reduce the holiday-season hectic-ness. Take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the garden – really sit and savor it.

Your well-being is supported by your garden if you can take a few moments and be revitalized and ready for the rest of your day.

 

Happy New Year to you!

Best wishes for the holiday season.

I hope you can enjoy your garden with whatever it offers now!

 

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!

 

 

A week to grow below-ground crops after 23rd December

A week to grow below-ground crops after 23rd December

Happy festive season everyone!

 

If you can squeeze in sowing root crops – and want to – there’s just 1 ‘best’ day this month. If you can keep soil moist, the best day to sow root crops is:

  • Monday 24th December 2018.

after the full moon on Sunday 23rd December 2018. [Here in New Zealand]

Here in Auckland, New Zealand, the outside ground is warm and germination will be fast. Keeping ground moist for tiny seedlings is the issue at this time of year. We wait until autumn to sow seed rather than have to sort out automatic irrigation at this time of year [or hand-hose frequently each day!]

Also, frequent hot days can be enough to send tiny seedlings to bypass forming a root and make seeds instead.

 

Some root crops can be transplanted, for example we’ve had success doing so with beetroot. Many others bolt straight to seed without forming nice big roots.

With carrots, we have had success when sown directly into the open ground of warm soil with constant moisture as they dislike root disturbance being transplanted [they are very likely to bolt straight to seed and make no root for us to eat]. Some people say they have had success transplanting seedlings.

The tiny seeds need to be planted close to the surface and kept moist.  Hot sun dries them out quickly – and they die fast.

One strategy I’ve heard when sowing carrots in hotter weather was to take 2 weeks off work, put a deck chair and sun umbrella by the carrot patch, take the hose and a drink, and sit there gently spraying the carrot patch often until they sprout and grow big enough to fend for themselves.

carrot-growing in hot times

Urban myth?

Or cover the seed with a plank of wood or hessian bags or similar. Check often and remove cover when they sprout. We find seed beds need covering with bird netting as blackbirds create chaos digging for worms, or the local cats think its a spot for them.

 

Why do carrots so often make odd-shaped roots?  When the ground is

  • hard,
  • clay,
  • rocky,
  • too rich with compost/manures/fertilizer.

The delicate seedlings are programmed to send roots downwards. As they grow down, when tiny roots contact hard spots [like rocks], they go round and grow more options [= forked roots]. They also avoid anything too rich in nutrients for the rootlets to process.

 

PS Seeds like ‘real’ water – preferably rain. Otherwise the nearest is tank water of stored rain. Then maybe bore water, last treated water from a mains supply.

One older gardener we knew would place all sorts of containers outside to catch the rain to water her seedlings. She used all sorts from teapots on – she also grew great veg!

We focus more on caring for crops already growing.

Best wishes for your garden at this time
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!

 

 

Happy longest day down-under!

Happy longest day down-under!

The Solstice is on Saturday 22nd December 2018, at 7.24 am. Longest day here in NZ.

There is something about the turn of the seasons. This is the time when each day has a little less sunlight and nights become a little longer. There seems to be a lag with temperature. Days maybe getting shorter, but summer really only arrives in January for the next 3 months.

Harvest garlic around the longest day. Here’s a post I wrote about growing garlic.

Now the weather can warm up and give blue skies and sun for our tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, chilies, cucumbers, pumpkins [I keep trying to grow butternuts as we really like them. They need heat so here’s hoping for this year!]

 

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!

 

Time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers after 16th December

Time to sow seeds for fruits and flowers after 16th December

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

  • especially Wednesday 19th and Thursday 20th  December 2018 [here in New Zealand].

Before the full moon on Sunday 23rd December 2108.

 

Keep plants and seeds well-watered to thrive!

 

If we want to harvest fruits [and veg] in future, it’s a week to plant for above-ground fruits, flowers, seeds.

 

 

Down-under we are in summer. Here in Auckland, NZ, the weather is warm so seeds germinate quickly [when kept moist]. It has been dry, with ‘showers’ rather than soaking rain so seeds and seedlings need watchful attention to maintain soil moisture levels so they grow well.

 

Pumpkins/squashes/zucchini [courgettes] 

We have a sequence to provide these over a longer time span:

Still a good time to plant 1-2 bush type zucchinis into a rich, protected garden bed when the soil is warm. These are amazingly hardy and prolific.

2014-11-22 15.03.59
Zucchini plant growing strongly

Cucumbers – the first 2 lots we planted are growing well.  The Lebanese varieties are getting bigger!

20161214_174257

 

Beans [I sow direct and protect from snails and slugs] We will plant more climbing ‘Emu’ beans. [PS -As the young beans appear with their first leaves is a great indicator to me to plant the next generation seeds for a continuous supply.]

20160927_172314

 

Tomatoes [also heat-lovers]. Getting a bit late so maybe plant seedlings. The cherry tomatoes we planted in spring are fruiting. Other varieties we planted late October are growing and some have fruit – there’s hope for them yet, even through there has only been 4 ml rain in December! I wonder what will grow best this season? For more on our tomato experiments, go here and here.

cherry tomatoes harvest!
cherry tomatoes harvest!

 

If you want chilies, capsicum peppers or eggplants [aubergines], plant seedlings rather than seeds. They need heat and a long growing season to fruit well.

 

 

Corn!  Plant into really rich ground. Early Gem and Bantam have grown well here in the past so we’ll see this year. They like lots of water, and our small tanks are nearly empty – we’ll have to use mains water instead soon.

2013-12-18 19.39.52
Raised bed growing prolific corn, beans, pumpkins!

Flowers. More flowers. Just because…

 

 

Seeds – Amaranth, Chia, Quinoa, and whatever you like to experiment with. Chia grew well here last year.

 

Hopefully some of what we plant now will do well so we will have a harvest no matter what the weather does – hot/dry/cold/wet.

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 summer leafy greens after 7th December

Sow seeds of summer leafy greens after 7th December

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!
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!

Take a rest from sowing seeds until after 7th December

Take a rest from sowing seeds until after 7th December

Take time out from sowing seeds from Friday 30th November until after the dark of the moon on Friday 7th December 2018. 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.

 

This is not a time to sow/plant – and, it is the ‘busy holiday season’.

 

It’s great we can focus on the holiday events, and keep garden maintenance just ticking over for a bit.

The garden can still get out of hand when warm weather gets plants growing fast.  Keep it simple now and know you can catch up later.

A garden can be a great place to spend a few moments to reduce the frenetic holiday-season state which is around so much at this time. Have you noticed?

Take a few minutes to sit and enjoy the garden – really sit and savor it.

Life is about more than ‘getting stuff done’ and at this time of year it’s easy to forget that as we see so many things to do [and urgently as the weeds take over our prized beds]. And there is a tug to be part of all the events happening at this time. Your well-being is supported by your garden if you can take a few moments and be revitalized and ready for the rest of your day.

And prioritizing your well-being over dealing with holiday season happenings and weeds is how you can enjoy all.

alternative ways to have great thoughts and solutions

Best wishes for the holiday season, and I hope you can enjoy your garden with whatever it offers now!
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!

 

It’s time to plant for strong root growth after 23rd November

It’s time to plant for strong root growth after 23rd November

Here in New Zealand, it’s good to sow seeds for strong root growth next week [which is after the full moon on Friday 23rd November 2018].

  • Especially good on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th November 2018.

 

The ground is warm here in Auckland, maybe sow some root crops? Can you keep them watered when the weather turns hot and sunny in summer?

 

I might sow some more

  • daikon radish – larger seeds can be sown deeper so will stay more moist than smaller seeds nearer the surface and drying out [like carrots]. The white root is great to eat. Some people use the top green leaves too.20160927_172201
  • beetroot – ‘seed’ is a largish cluster of seeds so can also be planted deeper.  ‘Bulls blood’ or ‘Detroit red’ are some tried and true heritage varieties we use.
  • carrots

It’s a delight when we do grow carrots. The tiny seeds need to be planted close to the surface and kept moist.  Hot sun dries them out quickly – and they die fast.

One strategy I’ve heard when sowing carrots in hotter weather was to take 2 weeks off work, put a deck chair and sun umbrella by the carrot patch, take the hose and a drink, and sit there gently spraying the carrot patch often until they sprout and grow big enough to fend for themselves.

carrot-growing in hot times

Urban myth?

Or cover the seed with a plank of wood or hessian bags or similar. Check often and remove cover when they sprout. We find seed beds need covering with bird netting as blackbirds create chaos digging for worms, or the local cats think its a spot for them.

It’s best to sow carrot seeds directly in the ground as they dislike root disturbance being transplanted [they are very likely to bolt straight to seed and make no root for us to eat].

Why do carrots so often make odd-shaped roots?  When the ground is

  • hard,
  • clay,
  • rocky,
  • too rich with compost/manures/fertilizer.

The delicate seedlings are programmed to send roots downwards. As they grow down, when tiny roots contact hard spots [like rocks], they go round and grow more options [= forked roots]. They also avoid anything too rich in nutrients for the rootlets to process.

 

PS Seeds like ‘real’ water – preferably rain. Otherwise the nearest is tank water of stored rain. Then maybe bore water, last treated water from a mains supply.

One older gardener we knew would place all sorts of containers outside to catch the rain to water her seedlings. She used all sorts from teapots on – she also grew great veg!

 

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!