March, full moon

Right, you’ve inspired me to keep posting these weekly garden tips, so here it comes! We’re moving into the first weeks of autumn here in Wellington. I can feel it in the air, notice how the morning takes a bit longer to lighten and the evening closes in earlier.

This is the very last moment to get a winter garden in – I’ll probably top it up later, but those plants won’t have the time to “fatten up” before cold and darkness slows everything down. All that’s getting in the ground now will be eaten during winter, while those planted later on won’t be ready until spring comes back with warmth and light to make them finish their growth.

It’s full moon tomorrow Friday 6th at about 7am. The week following full moon is when its light decreases, and leaf growth slows down. But root growth increases, so it’ is a good time to transplant, according to John Jeavons (of bio-intensive fame). This is the ideal time to get your last winter vegetables planted. We’re (hopefully!) getting some rain Friday and Saturday, so Sunday will be the best day to open the soil and plant – or dig on Sunday, plant on Monday or Tuesday.

To do this week in my edible oasis:

  • Harvest tomatoes, basil, zucchini, capsicums and eggplants and make a big ratatouille to freeze!

  • Clear some space for winter veges, aerate with a fork (without turning the soil over) and add plenty of compost, Natures Garden fertiliser and some extra gardeners lime where the soil is still dense with clay.

  • Plant mature seedlings of a variety of lettuce, all brassica (kale, cavolo nero, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, pak choi, collards and chinese/red/green/savoy cabbage), silverbeet, spinach, chard, beetroot and leeks

  • Sow seed of carrot, turnip/swede and radish (would have ben better to do it at new moon) today or Saturday

  • Liquid feed everything on Sunday or Monday, especially tomatoes and peppers. Both foliar and while watering.

  • If there is any sign of shield bugs on my tomatoes, treat with neem oil.

  • Put up netting over the raspberries so the birds don’t get the second crop of the year.

  • Plant some flowers and maybe some cover crops too in the beds the get too shaded to grow food in winter.

  • Plant some new spring bulbs under the fruit trees and move the old bulbs that aren’t in the right place.

Looking forwards to see some of you here at the oasis tomorrow Friday! I’ll try to cover both seeds and plant families, basics on how to sow, prick out and transplant, as well as helping you plan your winter garden.

Next workshop will be “101 Food Growing” 5-6.30pm on Thursday 19th March – registrations are open, limited space at $12 only! We’ll go through basics for successful vegetable growing, adapted to the level of experience of attendants. We’ll of course be focusing on what to do in autumn and winter, with a bit of “spring prepp” as well.

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