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]

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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.

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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.
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    Tomato harvest – golden and cherry varieties

     

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

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    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.

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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.

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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!

 

Spring is springing and a new energy of the cycle of growth is under way!

Spring is springing and a new energy of the cycle of growth is under way!

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.

plastic covers over raised beds with bird netting over the top to hod 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.

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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].

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A plastic tunnel cover [with covered ends too] +snail bait/deterrent

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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!
Heather Powell

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!

Spring, what a mix of summer and winter!

Spring, what a mix of summer and winter!

Blossoms bursting out.

 

So lovely – and starts me wanting to plant all sorts of veggies for us to eat. Maybe you do too?

Yet the ground is so cold, cold, cold and wet. Seedlings struggle, then they get eaten by snails, slugs, caterpillars and everything else. That’s depressing and we feel we’re not good gardeners.

How DO we get great veggie harvests?

“Where” is important. Veggie seedlings need:

  • warm soil. Feel it – if it’s cold to your skin, it’s cold for seedlings.
  • lots of sunlight. Look and see if the bed is in sun or shade each day.
  • well-fed – lots of organic matter
  • wind protection.
  • protection from beasties – blackbirds, dogs and cats scratch out seedlings; slugs, snails, caterpillars etc, eat them.

 

“When” to plant?

Later is often much better.

Early spring plantings often give poorer harvests than later ones.

Warm the soil with clear plastic tunnels and bags over early plantings [which also give protection from wind, birds and animals]. And remember to remove them when the sun shines brightly or they cook.

 

“What” to plant?

Early spring is a good time to plant leafy greens (lettuce, endive, rocket, silver-beet, parsley, etc), and peas in the open. Snow peas, snap peas, tall peas, dwarf peas, sweet peas. [protect from slugs as they love peas]. Carrots, beetroot, radish seeds can go in now. Sow some seeds monthly to give a longer season.

 

Beans like ground really warm so we plant an early variety under a plastic tunnel soon and wait to plant other varieties in late spring.

Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529
Beans growing in winter under a plastic tunnel 20170529

Sow seeds of summer crops in trays or pots and keep them somewhere protected until the ground is warm before transplanting them. Pumpkins, squash, zucchinis, cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicum, chilies, melons, herbs etc like it hot. Our patio gets covered with pots in early spring.

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Corn, beans and sunflowers are easiest to grow after November when the ground is warm.

 

Give yourself permission to play with your garden,

investigate its ‘micro-climates’,

enjoy signs of life and

forget ‘perfect’ images – each garden is different and wonderful in its own way.

And each year is different, so different varieties thrive.

Plant an assortment and enjoy those that do give great harvests this year,

and know that next year maybe others will instead.

 

Best wishes with your spring veggie garden and may you have great harvests!
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!

 

Cherry blossom time again!

Cherry blossom time again!

Aren’t they lovely – I understand why in Japan cherry-blossom time sends people into the public gardens with cherry-blossom walks. Beautiful.

They tell me spring is well and truly here and summer will return.

 

And to take a few moments to enjoy the fragile blossoms as I go about the garden.

 

There’s more to gardening and life than one task after another – look up and enjoy nature’s wonderful creations too.

 

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Are there blossoms on trees in your area for you to enjoy too? There are some as street trees here – gorgeous for a little while.