This month’s moon cal­en­dar, and ed­i­ble crops to sow and tend now

Robert Guyton’s guide to plant­ing and sow­ing in har­mony with the lu­nar cy­cle.

NZ Gardener - - CONTENTS - Straw­ber­ries need full sun and fer­tile, free-drain­ing soil. Dig in com­post and fruit fer­tiliser and mound up the rows. Space plants about 30cm apart. Once planted, cover the soil with fine bark, black plas­tic or pea straw.

The weather in Au­gust is win­tery.

But spring is only just over the hori­zon so you need to start think­ing about the sum­mer crops you plan to grow this year, par­tic­u­larly if you want to grow un­usual va­ri­eties, you will need to start from seed. You can sow tomato, chilli and pep­pers now in trays. Ob­vi­ously you’ll need to keep these heat-lovers in your house or in­side a heated green­house for weeks, but they should be a good size by the time you shift them into your gar­den. Out­side, you can sow broad beans, and pro­vided your soil is not frozen solid, radishes and car­rots, and you can start let­tuces, spinach, sil­ver­beet and bras­si­cas in trays. You can also plant bare-root fruit trees, as­para­gus crowns, let­tuces and salad greens (keep them in pots in very cold places), rhubarb crowns and Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes.

It’s your last chance to get gar­lic in.

Still have gar­lic or shal­lots to get into the ground? If you live in the South Is­land, put down this mag­a­zine and do it now! They need a pe­riod of win­ter chill to form bulbs so if you plant it when the weather has started to warm up, then all you’ll get is leaves. But in the North Is­land, I’d say it’s too late, sorry, un­less you can find a cell packs of pre-planted gar­lic cloves in your gar­den cen­tre.

Get vege beds ready for plant­ing.

Use what’s known as a false seedbed tech­nique to get on top of weeds be­fore they get es­tab­lished. There are lots of ways to do it and many in­volve work­ing the soil to bring deep down weed seeds to the sur­face to ger­mi­nate and then hand hoe­ing them out while they are small. But as you know work­ing wet soil will lead to com­paction and heart­break, so if your soil is wet do as I do, and just add any nec­es­sary soil amend­ments (such as fer­tiliser or com­post) and rake the sur­face smooth, then use plas­tic row cov­ers (I have poly­thene over half hoops) over the bare soil. The warmth causes a flush of weeds to ger­mi­nate, and when they are about as tall as your thumb, use a small sharp hoe to slice them down just be­low the soil line (be care­ful not to go too deep, or you’ll risk bring­ing more buried weed seeds to the sur­face and de­stroy­ing your soil struc­ture). If you can re­peat this process twice, or even three times, you will greatly re­duce the time you need to spend weed­ing this year.

Plant more straw­ber­ries for sum­mer.

Jo McCar­roll

Plant straw­ber­ries.

Start sow­ing.

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