Tuesday, 2 October 2007

October in the garden

The shroud of winter has finally fallen away and it’s time to see what’s happening in the garden.
The green manure or compost that was dug into the soil has been worked over by all the millions of bugs, fungi, bacteria and other ‘biota’. Now it’s time to plant, ready for summer harvest and beyond.
At Nirvana we use raised beds because soil can be built up by digging out the foot paths increasing the soil depth immediately

Raised beds also warm up more quickly in spring; there is more aeration & life via micro organisms and an overall increase in growth activity.
Rudolf Steiner in ‘Agriculture’ described it this way
‘For any given locality on Earth ,there is a certain level that separates what is above the earth from what is inside the Earth. Anything raised up above the normal level for that locale will show a particular tendency to life, a tendency to become permeated with etheric vitality .You will therefore find it easier to permeate ordinary inorganic soil with humus-like material- -or any other kind of refuse in the process of decomposition- if you first build up the soil into mounds. Then of its own accord the soil will tend to become inwardly alive and plant-like.’
You may have noticed this effect in a land slip along the side of a road. Where the earth has slipped there are bigger healthier weeds growing.
If you keep the raised beds to a reasonable size you can reach across them without having to tread on the beds themselves. Smallish beds i.e.; 2m x 1m can hold one crop and be rotated to something else next season.
The best time to plant seeds is 2 days before a full moon on October 26. The full moon is associated with fertility and growth and just as it has a noticeable effect on our tides, the moon helps the seeds to germinate and surge into strong growth.
The best time to transplant seedlings is in the afternoon during the new moon phase at the time of least growth. Transplant during October 4 -11
Things to plant in October.
Capsicum, tomatoes, egg plant. Continuous plantings of carrots, lettuce, beetroot, spring onions, radish at fortnightly intervals will give you a steady supply of fresh veggies for the whole summer. Try involving the family by having a growing competition or ask the youngsters to write their name with radish seed and let them watch as their name appears like magic coming from the soil. It may even encourage some careful weeding.
Life in the garden is rampant this time of the year and unwanted plants can grow just as fast as or faster than your chosen crop. These unwanted plants can be the start of your next compost. Building compost is a bit like baking, because you need several different ingredients and they have to be in the correct ratio to work best. Unwanted plant material make a very good start, but you will need other ingredients like animal manures, dry material like straw or bedding from animal quarters, and mulched up woody material like prunings and leaf litter. If you build your heap by putting in small amounts of each ingredient it will work better and require less pushing, prodding and turning. Remember to water your heap as you build. Get it good and moist. It is very difficult to wet a heap if it dries out. Compost heaps are best built in the one day, so try to stockpile the necessary bits and pieces near the site so that you can ‘bake the best cake ‘ from the stuff you could collect.

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