Guytons Garden - A time for sowing, a time for resting.
Sponsored by Mangawhai Landscape Supplies
With or without the influence of the moon, the garden is growing vigorously this month. Spring vegetables are rapidly filling the beds they've been planted in, flowering plants are already producing their buds and blooms, the leaves on the fruit trees are fully deployed and the plums, nectarines, peaches and apricots have set and are swelling encouragingly; it looks to be a bumper season.
Here in a latitude lower than Mangawhai's, the berry fruits – black, red and white currant, gooseberry, wosterberry and blueberry – have set champion crops, thanks to the combination of sunshine and honey bees, and are weighing down their branches already with what will be sweet and tangy Christmas deliciousness. Up north, where this paper is published, different fruits will be filling out and colouring up, all thanks to the combination of season and moon.
Not far away now, is the New Moon, with her slender figure and promise of rising vitality. Beginning on the 9th of November, this phase lasts 5 days, during which preparation for the prolific First Quarter period is the focus and ground is prepared for sowing and planting. When the phases change, on the 15th, a very busy period of starting off peas and beans, cauli and cabbage, pumpkin and tomato begins, during which care must be taken with watering, as plants need regular moisture when they are getting established, as do their seeds.
Don't sow the seed of root crops at this time, as they will go to seed early. Hold off from pruning anything also, or the object of your attention could suffer dieback.
The Full Moon is set for Nov 26 and the days wrapped around that date; from the 24th to the 29th, are too stongly affected by the moon to be useful for much other than cultivating, but that can both keep you busy and benefit your plants by reducing competition from weeds.
Tucked into the end of that phase is a couple of days, the 29th and 30th, that are best for sowing root crops. Carrots of your favourite variety, and swedes (if you hail from the south and want a taste of home) go into the soil now and will make strong growth with the moon's help.
December begins with a period of rest for the garden and the gardener. Do your Christmas shopping now, or use these days to make gifts for your family and friends, as is the trend. The low vitality the Last Quarter phase of the moon engenders is restful and contemplative, and the Christmas season has precious few opportunities for that, so go with the moon and relax.
As the month unfolds, there will be plenty of opportunity for the gardener; growing plants will need to be watered and fed, seedlings transplanted from pottle to bed, tomato plants de-lateraled, pumpkins pollinated, berries netted, the leaves of your grape vines reduced to let in more summer sunlight, celery watered and watered again (they're such thirsty plants!), potatoes hilled-up, apples thinned, peas staked; all this and more against a background of rising temperatures and, according to the climatologists, a severe does of El Nino, that promised to fry everything to a crisp if you don't take precautions.
Mulch your garden well to retain as much soil moisture as possible and have a reliable supply of water on hand, even if that means collecting your own, from your roof.
FRIENDLY HERB: The white borage flower is now in full bloom, and with high levels of nectar and pollen it’s a favourite with bees.