Deep freeze a warning
We're well through July and the moon continues to influence the plants that are growing in our gardens, the creatures that inhabit and create the soil they are growing in and us gardeners, though we might be only vaguely aware of the effect the moon has on our sometimes overly-busy lives.
You'll have noticed though, that the moon's face is not as full as it was at the beginning of the month. She's moving through her time-worn path toward fullness again and this month is making a special effort to present her full-face twice! The second full moon in July, known as the Blue Moon, will be seen, cloud allowing, on the 31st and represents a fairly rare phenomenon. Try to get at least a glimpse, if you can.
For the moment though, it's the garden that requires your attention. Throughout the country, frost has caused havoc where it is usually absent. Sensitive plants have turned up their toes and dropped dead from the chill touch of Jack Frost. My brugmansia and galangal are blackened and slumped and I don't hold out much hope for their recovery.
Your garden may have escaped the ravages of the frost, but a warning shot has been fired and it will pay to be prepared next winter for a deep freeze. Cold outdoor temperatures aside, now's the time for starting tomatoes from seed. If you have an amenable partner who doesn't object to punnets of seedlings on the window sills, utilise those warm and sunny places to get your favourite tomato plants off to an early start. I love the "cherry" tomatoes, be they red, yellow or orange. They're robust and productive and great for grandchildren to harvest surreptitiously. Saving seed from the previous-year's crop is the sensible thing to do and if you've not tried it, tomatoes are the plant to learn on.
You could begin the chitting of your seed potatoes now too. Set them out where it’s sunny and warm (not on the window-sills this time) to encourage their eyes to sprout. When they've appeared, plant them out into your well-composted garden.
Once the Blue Moon has presented herself and the month turns to August, which begins as July did, with a "do-little" period in the garden, turning halfway through the first week into an opportunity to sow root crops. Here, carrots can be sown in soil that is warm, along with the ever-successful radishes, of which there are several varieties for you to choose from. From that point on til August
9, the moon's effect is one of suppression for growth, so rest up and choose other root crops you'd like to sow on the 11th and 12th of the month.
On the 13h, the New Moon period begins and you'll feel up-beat, all things considered, and keen to get gardening. Organise your seeds and associated paraphernalia and ready yourself for the Last Quarter phase of August's moon which begins on the 19th and signals the time to get active and enthusiastic, sowing every leaf and flower producing plant you'd like to have growing as the season changes to spring. This phase lasts for 8 days and you'd be run ragged with all the activity, if it weren't for the invigorating effects of the moon on your body and mind. You'll find you have all the energy you need to make the best use of this busy time. From August 28 to the end of the month, the full moon phase will quiet you down and let things settle in the garden as well.
FEEDING: Wax-eyes, hungry after days of frost, enjoy the lard and seed mix from my pine-cone bird-feeder.