New Moon and Autumn Equinox

A short update this week, as I prepare for our yearly “harvest & gratitude sharing” potluck with friends. Saturday is the autumn equinox, which marks the beginning of the darker half of the year. This is harvest season, time for gratitude and sharing, bringing in the fruit from the oasis and preserve it for colder days.

Other things in the pipeline is a full-day workshop in Mornington Saturday 11th April, where you can learn hands-on how to plan and implement a food forest on a small, suburban scale, plus some compost making. Registrations are open – more info to come!

To do this week in my edible oasis:

  • Take out spent plants – in my case that’s just one of the tomatos and the last zucchini. The chickpeas and the spaghetti squash are already gone, chickpeas hanging to dry in the hothouse. I’ll cut the tomato plant at soil level and then hang it upside down and let their last tomatos ripen. Leaving the roots in the soil feeds soil organisms.

  • Put compost on the empty beds and sow winter carbon crops on the ones that don’t get enough light for winter veges. I use oat and lupin but there are many to choose from. Where the tomatos have been I put mustard to rid the soil of nightshade-loving nematodes.

  • Sow seeds of calendula, borage, poppy, pansy, sweet william, and sweet peas. Buy seedlings for some other flowers, as I missed the right timing to grow them from seed: hollyhock and verbascum, if I can find them.

  • Broadcast sow some seeds in my “wild winter greens” area: corn salad, miner’s lettuce and fat hen. This area is quite wild in winter and in summer it gets shaded by the runnerbeans and the comfrey.

  • Cut back the herbs that have flowered, oregano, thyme, sage and lavender.

  • Put manure and mulch under the fruit trees now that the soil is nice and moist with rain – if I can get hold of manure! I’ve got a peach, a feijoa, a lemon in the soil, plus a fig, an orange and a mandarin in pots.

  • Prepare the garlic bed and the broadbean bed so they can be planted/sown from next week. I’ll add as much organic matter as possible, in form of bokashi, twigs and leaves, mature compost etc, while I double dig these areas. Hopefully, it’ll be the last time in a good number of years I’ll have to dig here.

  • Order strawberry runners for next years abundant strawberry patch… dreaming of it!

Next workshop coming up is Customise your Compost, Thursday 26th 5pm.

In this workshop, we’ll go through the 6 most common composting system and find out just which one will be the most effortless and low-maintenance for you!

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