Tag Archives: full moon

Full moon October

Protecting young plants

From my last few posts, and probably your own experience too, you gather the importance of good care for your young “babies” freshly planted out in the garden. Wellington weather in this season varies wildly, and a night of southerlies can check the growth for several days or even weeks.

This coming week, we have quite stable temperatures, although windy and dry. This is a good thing! Hopefully, the soil will warm up – especially if you have cloches or black plastic out – and be ready to welcome some heatlovers in a couple of weeks: zucchini, green beans, and the first tomatos.

To do 14th – 21st October (Full moon Sunday 16th)

  • Prick out & plant out leafy plants: lettuce, chard/silverbeet, spinach, cabbage, kale, cavolo nero… Best done 14-16th.
  • Foliar feed today Friday if you didn’t yesterday, and then again Wednesday 19th – seaweed is ideal with all the micronutrients.
  • Prick out tomatos, eggplants, zuccinis and other fruiting plants Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th.
  • Sow lawn seeds on prepared areas on the day of the full moon for quick germination.
  • Wednesday 19th October is ideal for seed sowing too:
    • plant main crop potatos
    • sow seeds to grow seedlings for planting out in December.
    • direct sow beetroot, carrot and turnips
    • sow autumn flowers and leafy greens – can also be done on the following weekend
  • Set up protection systems for young newly transplanted seedlings: cloches for warmth, netting against the birds, foliar feed for extra nutrients, diatomaceous earth to deal with snails and slugs…
  • Hoe all the newly planted beds so the soil surface doesn’t crust over and young weeds don’t get established.
  • If you have access to a good source of mulch (cacao husks is my favorite), apply some now: make sure the soil is moist, then water while you’re adding thin layer after thin layer of mulch. Otherwise it either blows away or stops the rain from getting through to the roots! Then be extra vigilant in snail/slug patrol at night, as they tend to move in to the mulch and breed there.

To prepare now for next week

  • Check your irrigation system and make sure it’s practical for you – you’ll start using it soon! If you have young fruit trees, how will you water them?
  • If you don’t have comfrey in your carden, try and get hold of some roots to to plant!
  • If you do have comfrey, it has probably sprouted now and the shoots show you where the different roots are. If they’re close together, dig some out to make more space and either transplant to another area where they can spread, or make them root in some potting mix and give away to other gardeners 🙂
  • Source mulch for your tomatos, zuccinis and other bigger plants
  • Get nets and hoops ready for berry beds

My workshop series on how to grow food efficiently on a small surface, “Grow More Veges” runs on Wednesdays from 19th October – still spaces left, so sign up now! You can register for one workshop or the bundle of six, up to you. As always, 2 spots are available for Timebank credits.

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Liquid fertilisers

Stinky, sludgey, murky. And delicious for your plants and the soil life! Liquid fertilisers are easy to make, and cost a fortune to buy (sometimes). This week, Edible Oasis has some “recipes” for you to try out.

The best time to apply liquid fertilisers seem to be before and after full moon, when plants swell with water. Koanga Institute recommend two days before and two days after, and that works fine for me – it might be more like the week before and after, but roughly that’s when I do it.

Always dilute your liquid fertiliser, even if you think “it’s not that strong”! More than once, I’ve been foolhardy enough to put it on undiluted and it has burnt the roots, or mined the carbon, Too much nitrogen in one go will use up the carbon in the soil and the structure collapses afterwards. I’ve seen this happen in pots and raised beds especially.

The only infrastructure you need to set up your own liquid fertiliser station is big buckets or troughs, access to rainwater, and a sieve – an old kitchen one can be converted to garden use.

Seaweed fertiliser

First, bring seaweed home from the beach. Some people worry about salt content, but as far as I’ve seen, it isn’t a problem. But if you can, harvest old stuff from high up the beach rather than fresh or growing ones. A day or two after a storm is ideal for doing this!

Second, put to soak in your big bucket/barrel/trough with rainwater. Make sure they’re completely immersed, sometimes a stone on top can help with that. After a few days to a week, it starts to stink and the texture of the seaweed changes. You can now start using it, after filtering and diluting. Then either add more water as you go and let it brew for longer, or use it all up before the smell becomes overwhelming and put the remains into your compost pile.

Best for anything that has trouble with trace minerals (boron, magnesium, manganese…), and works well on any plant that starts to show signs of fungal attacks. It boosts their immune systems. I have managed to stop mildew from spreading on my peas and zucchinis with this.

Comfrey fertiliser

Harvest big nice comfrey leaves, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the plant. Put it in a container with rainwater as above. Leave until it starts to go soggy, smelly and murky (often shorter than seaweed) and then filter, dilute and use!

Really good on heavy feeders, and the nightshade family responds very well (potato, tomato, eggplant, chilli, capsicum…). Great for newly planted seedlings too, they take off well with this treatment.

“Mixed weeds” fertiliser 🙂

Well, the easiest of them all! If you have noxious/invasive weeds in your garden, don’t put them in the compost (where they will become a perennial problem) but in your fertiliser bucket. Cover with water as above, make sure they’re completely immersed, as the tiniest bit can quickly regrow. Soak it for longer, 2-3 weeks may be enough depending on what weeds you have.

Filter this one very carefully, as seeds and bulbs may still be viable. Depending on the stage of decomposition, you may want to bag and bin the residue, or incorporate into your compost pile if it is all just a smelly mess with nothing solid left at all (i.e. definitely no roots, bulbs etc).

Dilute and use as above – this is my “general” solution, and I always have some as there’s always oxalis, tradescantia, convulvulus and other nasties around. A never-ending supply of nutrient rich ingredients, there for the harvest 😉

Adding carbon

To balance the nutrients, you can add molasses to your brew after filtering. If you do this, filter, add a couple of tablespoons per litre, leave open and stir at least twice a day for a couple of days. This adds oxygen, starts some other bacterial growth (aerobic) and should get on top of the smell as well.

Dilution and application

When your brew is ready, dilute 1:10 with rainwater and either use a watering can to add it to the soil, or put it in a spray bottle (I use a pressure sprayer) and apply to the leaves. I usually put it on the soil if I know it is going to rain, thinking the rain would wash it off the leaves anyway, or if I’m short on time. But foliar application (on the leaves) works much much better for fungal infections and is really efficient in summer when it is warm. Apply in the evening if you can, definitely not in the sun, and preferably not just before a big rain.

Good luck!

Coming together – Last quarter moon

Last week, wow what a flurry. Managed to support volunteers in double digging almost 30 square meters of bone-hard clay soil at the site – it’s not quite the right season for digging clay so that wasn’t easy at all. Many thanks & kudos to the volunteers! It is all coming together.

Also got some funding applications in, and would like to let you know that it’d be wonderful to find someone who wants to be our funding manager. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not that hard, but I really need to put my time towards the design and hands-on work on the site – sitting in front of the computer stresses me a bit! So if you feel that could be you, or someone you know, get in touch.

Talking about design work, I had three of the lovely Orientation Aotearoa crew here on Thursday morning to do just that. We came out with some fresh ideas, and moved some of the proposed structures around, so there is now a better design for the site. Really exciting to see how it is all coming together now as people join the organisation and we start digging the ground!

5 Hospital rd design

The full moon brough a lot of expansion and energy, but this week, the moon is shrinking and entering its last quarter on Wednesday. I’ll transplant some self sown calendula and borage, and dig up some comfrey roots to plant at the big oasis at Hospital rd once I’ve sprouted it in a tray in the hothouse. All the energies are kind of stalling now, and I’ll use this time to weed, prepare compost, spread mulch and prepare the beds so I can direct sow fast germinating seeds two days before new moon, that’s Tuesday 10th. This is the time when they germinate the best, according to Ecology Action who has done a lot of research on this. In my garden and for workerBe oasis, I’m sowing all beans, beetroot, carrot, chard (both silverbeet and rainbow), lettuce/mesclun, radish, regular spinach. All this goes straigh into the soil, well prepared, and watered daily until they’ve got their true leaves.

Continually prick seedlings out when they show their first true leaves all through this period. You can also transplant the ones that are big enough, but pay attention to the weather weather. It was so warm and nice this weekend that it’s easy to think summer is already here, but it’s another month of spring left. There’s a big cold storm dumping some rain on us this week, probably between Tuesday and Wednesday, which means you will have to protect and tie up your tomatoes, if they’re already in the ground, stake and tie beans and peas, and shelter zuccinis and other tender young seedlings.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for rust and curly leaf and other fungal diseases and control them before they get out of hand. Aphids are still on the prowl in my garden on all the potted plants – my rose is looking terribly sad! Hopefully the ladybugs will hatch soon and have a feast. To keep this from reoccurring, I’ll make sure to repot everything in winter and liquid feed well as spring comes!

Reminding you of the Volunteer Introduction on Wednesday 4th, 5.30 at workerBe oasis Hospital rd. All prospective volunteers welcome! No need to register for this one, just show up on time.

Workshops are starting next week with Sow Seeds, at my own edible oasis in Newtown, Thursday 12th, 6.30-8pm. Register by email to rego@edibleoasis.net, state your name, phone number, how you choose to pay (direct transfer preferred, otherwise cash on the day) and how much: $20, or half price for workerBe oasis members, or time credits for two lucky timebank members.

Hope to see you down at the land some day soon!