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This week in the Garden for February 2018

This First Week in the Late Summer Garden 2018:

week one - week two - week three - week four
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A spectacular ‘Super’ Full Moon and total lunar eclipse opens the first hours of Late Summer. Then the Waning Moon Cycle fills the week. This is the earliest of ‘Harvest’ Moons and a busy week for harvesting, planting, sowing; liquid feeding and watering plus a variety of general gardening activities. This ‘Harvest’ Moon also represents the lunar midpoint of Late Summer.
 
Wherever the season has been benevolent, Summer displays of annuals and perennials plus flowering bulbs, roots and tubers as well as shrubs and trees should be at their peak. Fruits and vegetables of many varieties are abundant.
 
Harvest Time!
Because the Full Moon is a time of greatest water retention, this often produces ideal conditions to harvest for immediate use. This means crisp Lettuce and Cucumbers, flavourful Beans that snap; juicy and succulent fruits, or high quality vegetables meant for immediate consumption as well as bottling; sparkling juices, and wine; jams, jellies and preserves. If it is impossible to harvest crops at exactly the ‘right’ time, harvests can be gathered a few days earlier or a little later and should still prove to have a high juice and water content
 
Many things reach maturity, peak ripeness or begin to seed at this time. Medicinal plants and herbs used for oils, saps, tonics and juices are cut and prepared now while oil content is at its peak. It is an ideal time to cut flowers, especially early in the day.
 
The lunar gravitational extremes produced by this Super Moon will produce dramatic high and low tides in the first days of the month. This is a brilliant time to irrigate and water; and especially to liquid feed container plants and well as throughout the garden. To produce the greatest impact for flowering and strong growth liquid feed and water during the morning through to early afternoon. Watering to refresh a dry garden can happen almost any time during the day and especially later in the afternoon when it will have the greatest benefit.
 
Field, Grain and Long-Term Harvests:
The Waning Moon Cycle begins the month and continues until the New Moon 16 Feb.). Water retention begins to diminish a little more every day through to that time in the month. New Moon brings the lowest water retention that continues for a few days after that.
 
This starts an excellent time to harvest fields of grain and hay; gather seeds, plus harvest flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables for drying, long-term storage and preserving for Autumn and Winter use.
 
Herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables meant for drying and/or (long-term) storage are best harvested just as they are reaching maturity. They should be completely dry and contain low water content. So later in the afternoon following a dry, hot and sunny day is often best when the harvest is that of everlasting flowers for drying plus fruits and vegetables for long-term storage. Culinary and medicinal herbs are best harvested in the morning as soon as the dew dries off them and before the heat of the day can evaporate their essential oils. The same applies to ‘delicate’ and colourful flowers meant for preserving with glycerine or in sand/silica.
 
The Seasonal Transition Begins!
Because the last month of Summer begins with the Full Moon, this is actually the lunar mid-point of Late Summer. Technically, the lunar beginning of Early Autumn is reached with the New Moon (16 Feb.). So it would not be surprising to see signs of Autumn emerging around the garden and in the landscape.
 
But the climate changes that bring us global ‘warming’ will surely work to our benefit. The warm season is far from ended as days are still long and warm. Late Summer night time temperatures often average at near their highest for the entire year in climates with a long Summer. Plus some of the highest day and night time air and ground temperatures of the year often occur in Late Summer, too. This is because the radiant energy of the Sun has finally warmed the atmosphere and especially the land to its highest point.
 
But quite subtly, every day is losing a couple of minutes in length as the Earth’s axis slowly begins to tilt back away from its peak swing at the Summer Solstice already two months ago. So in cooler climates with shorter seasons, the temperatures begin to decline more noticeably especially by the end of the month. By the end of this month sunrise will be a full hour later than it was at the first of the year. Sunset will be 45 minutes earlier and civil twilight has been knocked back by over two hours!
 
The shortening day length may not seem very apparent at first, but will be noticeable as the month ends, especially off the time of sunrise. Already Nature can sense the changes. Dormant flower buds are beginning to develop and swell on many cool season flowering shrubs, trees and vines. Most obvious are species like: Azaleas, Camellia (especially Sasanqua varieties), Chimonanthus, Cornus (Dogwood), Daphne, Forsythia, Luculia, Magnolia, Osmanthus, Pieris, Rhododendron, Viburnum, Witch Hazel and other species; some Brambles and Canes plus many fruit trees and vines like Wisteria.
 
Feeding:
This is a good time to give these Autumn, Winter and Spring-flowering species an extra booster feeding either with a dry granular fertilizer, liquid feeding and/or compost or well rotted mulching. Extra watering during prolonged dry spells will enhance early bud development and bring the fertilizer into the plants faster. Make this feeding one higher in potassium to encourage stronger root development. Phosphate is also helpful to initiate bud development. But keep the Nitrogen fertilizer content somewhat lower. This is because it is best to encourage strengthening bud and root development and discouraging additional leafy growth this late in the season. So a ratio something like 5-10-10 or similar would be good. Or use a general garden fertilizer like 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 to which is added additional Superphosphate and Sulphate of Potash.
 
The exceptions are all tropical species that could be given a balanced 10-10-10 or similar ratio to encourage as much flowering and growth as possible. Palms and most leafy ornamental often respond to much higher levels of Nitrogen. Well rotted manure mulch; compost; applications of blood and bone; liquid feeding with fish emulsion, seaweed solutions and similar sources of Nitrogen will be of great benefit for them now. This is often their maximum period of new growth for the year.
 
Bougainvillea, Gardenia, Hibiscus, Murreya and many more tropical flowering species benefit from fertilizers with a somewhat acid pH balance; similar to what would be used for Azalea, Blueberries, Camellias, etc. Add to this Trace Elements and Chelate of Iron or similar. Additional Superphosphate encourages prolific blooming and Sulphate of Potash enhances coloration.
 
Tomatoes often produce spectacularly more fruit with regular light sprinklings of Superphosphate in addition to their regular feeding and watering regime. Eggplant, Peppers and to a lesser extent, even Potatoes and all other warm season vegetable members of the Nightshade Family will also respond to this type of feeding.
 
Fruits that respond to extra Phosphate and Potassium feeding include: Goji, Jerusalem Cherry, Pepino, Tamarillo and Sunberry amongst others.
 
Almost all vegetable crops that are in active growth and production should be regularly fed and watered with a balanced fertilizer to maximize, flowering fruit production and new growth. The exception are bulbs like Garlic, Onion, Shallot and anything else whose foliage may be beginning to wither as they reach maturity. Leave these alone so they can naturally reach dormancy in preparation for their harvest.
 
Lawns:
Start preparing new lawn sites for later planting. Cultivate deeply, remove weeds, and rake in lawn food. When working with clay or heavy loam dust the ground liberally with Gypsum and water this in lightly. Gypsum is an excellent additive to break up heavy soil. In very dry seasons, cultivation is much easier if the intended lawn area can be irrigated rather deeply prior to attempting any cultivation.
 
To reduce future weed problems in new lawns, first mow the area very short with a catcher attached to eliminate as much of the existing weed as possible. Then cultivate roughly and soak the site, let weed seeds germinate then cultivate them down on a dry, hot and preferably windy day when drying conditions are high. The cultivated weeds can be left to shrivel back into the ground like a ‘green manure’. In especially weedy ground, repeat this cultivation-watering-cultivation cycle several times which will nearly ‘sterilise’ the land from emerging weeds. Then sow the lawn seed which will emerge in nearly weed-free land. Lawn seed can be sown now if land can be watered daily or wherever rainfall in generous and regular, otherwise wait to sow until the arrival of the cooler and damper days of Autumn.
 
Lawn seed sown now will germinate rapidly, but there is no advantage to this unless the new lawn can be kept constantly moist. This is often not a problem in smaller (sub) urban properties where irrigation is simple, but might prove impossible for larger areas. In many climates early to mid Autumn sees the return of cooler, damper conditions and much more regular rainfall. Such conditions are ideal for sowing larger areas. The residual summer-warmed soil will improve quick germination while the cooler weather ahead will help maintain enough ground moisture to insure better sustained grass growth with little effort.
 
House Plants and (Sub) Tropicals:
Feed and water house plants and all (sub) tropical species regularly so they will continue in full growth; many will be flowering and bearing fruit. Best results happen when they are regularly fed and watered generously while conditions remain sunny and warm. Avoid excessive watering and feeding if ever weather conditions become both cloudy and also cold. An isolated cold snap can chill wet soil and result in fungal infections and rot if the plants remain very wet. Tropical plant cuttings often strike quickly now in a peat/sand mix if kept bright (not hotly sunny), humid, moist and consistently warm.
 
Take Cuttings:
Those with a love affair for Tropical plant species and many Houseplants can take cuttings quite easily now while the weather remains bright and warm. Easiest to strike include: Acalypha (Copper Leaf), Bougainvillea, Cacti, Coleus, Epiphyllum, Gardenia, Impatiens, Hibiscus, Impatiens, Poinsettia, Saintpaulia (African Violet), Stephanotis, most Succulents, Zebrina and a variety of others. Often these start easily in a peat/sand mix placed in a pot which is surrounded by a plastic bag lightly tied over its top or in the glasshouse often with bottom heat.
 
Repot:
There is still time to repot most Houseplants plus the Tropical species mentioned above as well as Bromeliads, Citrus, Palms, Yucca and any more. But hurry with this so that they can develop a full root system before the return of colder weather. Usually when transplanting this late in the season, it is best to pot-on by only one size upwards, otherwise too much open soil might remain unfilled with roots over the Winter, which can result in root chilling if ever soil becomes cold and wet.
 
A Big Planting and Sowing Week!
The Full Moon and Waning Moon Cycle is an excellent time for planting and sowing of a wide range of flower, fruit, ornamental and vegetable species. The Waning Cycle most favours the planting and sowing of root crop vegetables and anything with an extensive root system. Planting now also encourages the development of a deeper root system before extensive top growth commences. Continue planting seedlings for Autumn gardens and onward. Sow seed of Winter hardy Annuals in cool and mild climate zones; plus for the seasons beyond that.
 
In subtropical districts start sowing for Late Autumn, Winter and Spring displays. Included here are all hardy flowers and anything with a tap root or that needs a prolonged period of root development before they reach maturation.
 
Flowers to Plant or Sow:
Alyssum, Calendula, Chamomile, Clarkia species and Godetia, Collinsia (Chinese Houses), Cornflower, Gilia (Bird’s Eyes), hardy herbs, Linaria, Lobelia, Nemesia, Nigella, Poppies(Iceland, Oriental, Shirley and more), Scabiosa (Pin Cushion), Silene species, Snapdragon, Stock, Virginia Stock, Wildflower mixes, decorative Winter Kale and much more. Amongst these the fast growing annuals will flower this Autumn and the hardy ones will also bloom through milder winter weather. All that survive the cold will bloom in Spring provided that there is protection from severe frosts and freezing.
 
Biennials and Perennials:
Aquilegia, Canterbury Bells, Delphinium, Forget-Me-Not (several species), Lunaria (Honesty), Oriental Poppies and Sweet William along with a chorus of Perennials (often treated as Annuals) such as: Carnation and Dianthus species, Hollyhock, Lupin, Pansy, Polyanthus, California Poppy, Primula, Wallflower, etc. all can go in now.
 
Vegetables:
In cool and temperate climates, plant and sow Winter-hardy vegetables. If there is access to a heated glasshouse for frost protection, continue to plants and sow warm weather crops for the next few weeks.
 
In mild and (sub) tropical regions continue planting tender, warm season vegetable seedlings for a little longer. These Gardeners can also start cool season vegetables listed below. They can be sown direct into the growing position in the garden. Alternatively, sow into seedling flats, pots and punnets in a cool and partly shaded corner and let them grow on there. Once they sprout, move into more sunshine to keep them stocky Later once more garden space becomes available and the weather cools, transplant these advanced container plants into their final growing position.
 
The Waning Moon Cycle favours planting and sowing those vegetables that need to develop an extensive root system before harvest and includes all root crops. Weather permitting and with the benefit of artificial irrigation root crops and anything needing a period of root development can be planted or sown all week; so that includes almost everything.
 
Vegetables to Plant or Sow:
Dwarf Beans (climbers only in very warm locations), Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Winter Cabbages, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Chicory (warm positions only), Cress, Endive, hardy Herbs, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions (Bunching/Spring), Marrow, Mustard, Peas, Rhubarb, Silver Beet, Spinach (cooler spots), Swedes, Turnips and more locally.
 
This is an especially good time to sow seed of Brassica Family plants for late (cool) season harvests.
 
Watch Development of Young Plants!
The same lunar and seasonal conditions that should produce successful harvests also favour the rapid development of young plantings emerging in the Late Summer/Early Autumn flower and vegetable gardens.
 
These are critical days for their success or failure. Pay close attention daily to all sown seed and emerging seedlings during this transitional time. Subtle environment changes can produce profound impacts upon such vulnerable emerging life. This can result in sudden stress that leads to predation from blight, disease, fungus and rot as well as a host of hungry birds, insects, slugs and snails.
 
With proper care, they will rocket away and prove to be highly successful crops and flowering displays in the Autumn garden and onward. Daily or at least regular watering will be essential. Adding a liquid fertilizer to the water will encourage maximum growth.
 
Wherever environmental factors are stressful, consider spraying everything at a very early stage with a full spectrum systemic insecticide/fungicide. This will act as an inoculant that will protect the emerging plants now and often for their entire life. Almost all Gardeners resist spraying anything toxic on their vegetable crops, and for very obvious reasons. But this can be critically important to protect highly vulnerable crops like Brassicas Family members such as Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Cabbages when planted at this time in the growing year. The residual chemical effects of a systemic spray applied now will be long-gone before these crops are ready for harvesting. But many times spraying now is the only way such an early crop will ever make it to harvest.
 
Tuberous Begonias:
Tuberous Begonias are making a great show at the moment. Now is the time to buy container-grown established plants and special hybrid colours from the nurseries and shops. Many amazing hybrids result when started from seed and professional nursery people know best how to do this. What they have produced is on sale now!
 
Surprisingly, these container plants are not very expensive and transplant easily into the garden or decorative containers.
 
There are beautiful pendulous varieties that produce cascades of pretty flowers suitable for baskets and window boxes; dramatic upright hybrids with delicate ruffled blooms; Camellia and Rose-like forms and some with immense blooms in a wide range of almost edible colours. The On Top series produce masses of flowers above the foliage. They are the most sun-tolerant.
 
Most Tuberous Begonias prefer bright morning sunshine or some filtered shading during the hottest part of the day. Their broad, succulent leaves easily scorch in hot midday sunshine. They grow in a variety of soils that drain well but retain some moisture. Most peaty potting mixes work well. They respond to regular liquid feeding and watering if rainfall fails but are remarkably hardy for something that produces such exotic blooms. Avoid overwatering as this often leads to rotting. Tuberous Begonias need good air circulation around the plants. This helps stop blights and fungus attacks such as powdery mildew. But keep them away from chilling drafts and provide protection from cold rain and/or hail. Tuberous Begonias are tropical plants that truly enjoy their warmth.
 
These plants should continue to flower well into the Mid or Late Autumn before they begin to die back. Once their foliage begins to yellow and wither, let their top growth fade away until it separates naturally from the tuber. After that the tuber goes dormant until Early Spring.
 
If the tubers are in a garden bed, carefully dig them up and label them for colour and variety. When necessary, the tuber with stem attached can be dug up and carefully shifted to a flat or box where it is left until the stem falls away naturally. Tubers grown in containers could remain in their pots. These can be stored just the same as bare tubers. Or carefully remove and label them. These tubers can be successfully stored in dry potting mix, peat, and sand or sphagnum moss or loose in boxes or flats. Place them in an airy, cool but frost-free, darkish, dry spot protected from hungry vermin.
 
The well-organized Gardener often makes up a fresh batch of dry potting mix enriched with a little slow release fertilizer. Then each tuber, complete with its label, is planted into a small container and all of them are stored in flats for the Winter. This way they are already to produce their pretty pink sprouts at their earliest opportunity with the arrival of Spring. Once they do, the flats are brought out to a bright and warm bench; given a light watering and the emerging Tuberous Begonias are ready to resume growth in their containers.
 
New Tuberous Begonia plants can be started now from leaf and stem cuttings, even this late in the season. But to be successful you will need a bright, draft-free and warm environment. A glasshouse (possibly with a heated bench) would be the ideal. Choose healthy and strong plants and cut off the leaves and/or stems to be struck. Let them dry out for about an hour so there is no bleeding of sap. Then (optionally) plunge them into hormone gel or powder.
 
Start them in pre-moistened peat/sand in the humid and warm glasshouse. Stem cuttings are much easier and faster than leaves. But only one plant is produced where with leaves several small plants might develop.
 
For stem cuttings remove all but the top leaf and leave the growing tip. Make a dibble hole and drop (don’t push) the cutting into place. Then back fill around the stem.
 
For leaves, make a cut across and right through several large leaf veins. Then smear the back of each leaf, especially over the cuts with hormone gel. Press the leaf, stem end down, into the growing medium so that it rests flat against the soil. Pin it down with a U-shaped wire if necessary.
 
Alternatively, almost any part of the leaf can potentially produce a new plant provided it has a strong vein attached that is anchored into the soil. These leaf parts are treated just like a stem cutting: hormone, rested (not poked) into the growing medium and stood upright.
 
Both leaves and/or stems can be started in individual pots or flats. These could make small tubers this season. Usually, the foliage will fade away with the ebbing season. Just set the flats or pots aside, possibly under the bench where the soil can stay barely moist. With any luck and a little skill, tiny pink shoots will emerge in the Spring and first flowers should appear next Summer.


This Second Week in the Late Summer Garden:

week one - week two - week three - week four
13-230x153 The Waning Moon Cycle deepens to the Last Quarter Moon (8 February) and reaches the Dark of the Moon (13 Feb). This week is good for planting and sowing all root crop vegetables; dormant, bulbs, corms, roots and tubers plus anything needing a period of root development to strengthen the plants before major growth and flower begins. This will be an excellent week for all manner of general gardening activities. Valentine’s Day finishes the week.
 
This Lunar cycle also can be a time of fading and withering of crops and flowers that matured earlier in the season, while younger ones rise to take their place. Many plants set seed now and it is an excellent time to gather matured seed for immediate reseeding or long term storage. To keep flowers and crops producing longer, cut or trim them back, dead-head spent flowers and regularly remove mature vegetables.
 
A Time of General Gardening:
This is an ideal time to: prune to reduce growth; mow to keep lawns short for longer (just don’t cut them too short or they will burn); harvest, gather and store fruits, grains and seed, plus vegetable crops for immediate use (early in the week) and long term storage (mid-week onward); cut firewood and posts; make and spread compost, dry fertilizers, soil and soil additives; cultivate; spray to eliminate disease, pests and unwanted vegetation.
 
Starting this and through a few days after the New Moon (16Feb.) is the best time to lay brick work, cobble and paving stones and foundations; create and dig ponds, place rock work, lay vinyl liners and fills; spread gravel, sand and wood chip; set fence posts or work with the land in almost any capacity as gravitational forces tends to anchor things to the ground now.
 
Lunar gravitational extremes begin to increase a little all week leading up to the New Moon 16 Feb. and for the next few days after that. That makes of an ideal time to liquid feed and water container-grown and established ground plantings. Liquid fertilize and water in the morning hours through to mid afternoon to promote top growth, flowering and fruiting; feed and water late afternoon and early evening or even later to refresh a dry garden and promote deeper and stronger root development. Attempt to allow foliage to dry before nightfall if possible to avoid outbreaks of fungal diseases like botrytis and powdery mildew.
 
See more discussions on ‘General Gardening’ topics later in this week’s discussion.
 
Potentially a Good Planting and Sowing Time:
Weather permitting; this is a relatively good planting and seeding time. But be prepared to care for and protect new plantings from environmental extremes. Most important and potentially productive will be the planting or sowing of root crop vegetables and anything needing a sustained period of root development before top growth advances: many annuals, most biennials and perennials; groundcovers, shrubs, trees and vines (especially subtropical varieties). Many hardy flowers can be sown from seed now. Autumn and flowering bulbs, corms, roots and tubers can be planted. Spring flowering bulbs can also be planted in cooler climates or wherever garden beds will remain dry.
 
Love Gardens:
Plant a “Love” garden in honour of Saint Valentine and those you love. Love flower gardens are very special and can include anything that is endeared or brings back a special loving memory. There might also be room for memorabilia such as seating, sculpture and statues or whatever else fondly reminds you of this person.
 
Traditionally in the Language of Flowers there are many special ‘Love’ flowers and plants that are symbolic of love and sentiment.
 
Favourite Love Flowers include:
Alyssum, Carnations (especially pink shades), Chrysanthemum, Dianthus (the World’s ‘favourite’ Love flower), Forget-Me-­Not, Honeysuckle, Hyacinths (blue & white), Jasmine, Jonquils, Lilac (especially purple), Lily-of-the-Valley, Orange trees, Pansy, Viola and Heartsease, Periwinkle (blue), Roses (pink & red), Ranunculus, Salvia & Sages, Snowflake (Leucojum), dwarf Sunflowers, Red Tulip, Violets, Wisteria, most white, pink, cherry & orange flowers.
 
Remember that a truly personal Love Garden should include whatever artefacts, flowers and plants that you love. Include everything that brings fond and loving memories to you of special people & places in your life.
 
Flowers to Plant and Sow:
If weather is benevolent and/or artificial irrigation is available, it is possible to plant and sow quite a variety of container-grown plants, advanced seedlings and sow a wide variety of seed provided it can be properly cared for. Container-grown flowers may already be in bloom at the time of planting and advanced seedlings may be, too, or will be soon after transplanting. Avoid attempting to plant or transplant anything flimsy, small, soft and tender at this time as increasing lunar gravitational forces are becoming stronger. This can result in environmental extremes possibly causing poorly protected seedlings to collapse and fail. But with care and a bit of luck, much can be sown that will begin to flower in the Autumn & Winter gardens or next Spring and Summer.
 
Flowers to Plant or Sow:
Alyssum, Bellis perennis (English Daisy), Calceolaria, Calendula, Candytuft, Carnation, Celosia, Cineraria, Cleome, Cornflower, Cosmos, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Not (Mysotis), Gypsophila, Helichrysum, Linaria, Marigold (especially French and Petite), Mignonette, Nasturtium, Nemesia, Nigella, Pansy, Poppies, Primula, Schizanthus, Snapdragon, Sunflowers, Viola, Virginia Stock, Wildflower seed mixes (wherever climate will remain cooler and moist), Zinnia & much more in local microclimates.
 
Gardeners in cool to mild climate zones can start sowing seed of winter-hardy Annuals for (Late) Winter and Spring displays. This includes hardy flowers like: Calendula, Cornflower, and Nemesia (light frosts only), Nigella, Snapdragon, Stock, Virginia Stock, and decorative Winter Kale. Even Gardeners in subtropical zones might chance getting a head start with these Winter and Spring flowering favourites. Their seed is best sown into containers or trays that are kept in a morning Sun position and/or receive at least some cooling drafts and very good air circulation. Watch carefully for fungal attack or insect predation and immediately take steps to protect them.
 
Biennials & Perennials to Sow:
Anchusa, Angelica, Campanulas (Canterbury Bells), Carnation, Delphinium, Dianthus, Echium, Digitalis (Fox Glove), Hesperis, Hollyhock, Lunaria (Honesty), Lupin, Pansy, Polyanthus, Poppy, Primula, Shasta Daisy, Silene, Sweet William, Wallflower, etc. all can go in now. If well looked after, these seeds or seedlings started now will be the pride of your Spring and Summer garden and some may even put on an early display this Autumn.
 
Vegetables:
All root crops grown from bulbs, seed or tubers, etc. are especially favoured for planting during the Waning Moon cycle and can be started up until the New Moon.
 
At this time of the month with the Waning Moon causing celestial extremes only transplant hardy advanced seedlings from containers so there is minimal transplanting shock and monitor their progress daily. Tender, young seedlings may well collapse if weather events become extreme. A single extreme afternoon can destroy them. Planting dormant bulbs, tubers, roots and seeds will be much easier.
 
Vegetables to Plant or Sow:
Beetroot, Carrot, Chicory (for Witloof root), Garlic, Horseradish (root cuttings and seed), Kohlrabi, Leeks, Parsnip, Potato (especially in warm climates), Radish, Salsify, Shallots, Spring Onions, Swedes, Turnips and more in local microclimates.
 
Also start:
Dwarf Beans, Borecole, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbages, Cauliflower; most Chinese Green-Leafy Vegetables; Endive, Herbs (wide selection), Kale, Lettuce, Mustard, Parsley, Peas, Rhubarb, Spinach and much more.
 
Starting leafy crops now, especially from seed, gives a little extra time for seed to germinate and develop deeper roots before the advent of the New Moon (16 Feb.) will start to encourage leafy top growth. Be sure to water possibly every day to maintain even moisture in the soil. Celestial extremes can dry out soil very quickly under hot summer sun, especially if the day becomes windy. Germinating seed can wither within hours under those conditions.
 
Bulbs:
This is an ideal week to plant all dormant bulbs, corms, roots, rhizomes, and tubers. Strong celestial forces will stimulate them to begin active growth provided the surrounding soil remains moist. Prior to planting it is always advisable to deeply dig and fertilize the soil. Heavy soils that drain poorly should have round river gravel, sand, shell or a similar additive dug in to improve the drainage; otherwise bulbs may rot once wet weather returns later in the season. Bulbs, corms, etc. can be planted successfully throughout the month but planting with the Waning Moon gives them a slight advantage.
 
Flowering Bulbs, Corms, Roots and Tubers to Plant:
Amaryllis belladonna (Naked Lady), Anemone, Babiana, Brodiaea, Brunsvigia, Calochortus (Mariposa Tulip), Camassia, Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow), Colchicum (Autumn Crocus), Crocus, Daffodil, Dipidax, Eranthus (Winter Aconite), Erythronium (Trout Lily), Eucharis Lily (warm positions), Freesia, Galanthus (Snow Drop), Hyacinth, Hypoxis (Star Grass), Iris, Ixia, Jonquil, Lachenalia (Soldier Boys), Leucojum (Snow Flake), Lycoris (Spider Lily), Moraea, Muscari (Grape Hyacinth), Narcissus, Nerine (Spider Lily), Notholirion, Ornithogalum, Scilla (Wood Hyacinth), Sparaxis, Sternbergia (Yellow Autumn Crocus/Daffodil), Tritonia, Tulip, Velthemia, Watsonia and more in local microclimates.
 
Amaryllis belladonna, the beautiful ‘Naked’ Lady’ Amaryllis is still completely dormant. This is the best time to dig their bulbs and transplant them to increase their numbers. They look best when grown in sizable clumps. Choose a sunny and well drained position. Plant the bulbs so their neck just protrudes above the ground. In colder climates that experience some ground freezing or heavy frosts, plant them a little deeper below ground level.
 
Cyclamen can be planted, repotted and started from seed. This is a very good time to start Cyclamen to get the most out of them during the cool season ahead. Also
 
Lilies that have become dormant can be dug, transplanted or repotted. Lily seed can also be started now quite successfully. These will take a year or two before they produce their first blooms. If their foliage has yet to die away be patient, the very best times for Lily planting lie ahead starting with the next Waning Moon cycle at the end of this month and also similar cycles in Autumn. Lilies do best in sunny positions and enriched but freely draining soils. The secret is to plant them so their base stays in cool shade with their heads in the sunshine. Often planting in the midst or shady side of low shrubbery works well. Others prefer to plant them in large containers that can be shifted to the best spot for growth and flowering, and then moved away once flowering finishes, letting the bulbs mature and then dry out properly.
 
Dormant bulbs and corms of all sorts can be planted or shifted now. Give them one good soaking at the time of planting and them leave them alone. If the season remains droughty, provide another deep and generous soaking each week once new shoots emerge. Most bulbs need little extra attention
 
A Turning Point:
The Waning Moon and especially ‘Dark of the Moon’ is a natural time of increasing celestial extremes. Combine this with the subtly reducing day length and the potential for Late Summer drought and heat stress and the result is often a time when mature plantings begin to fade and wither. Fields of grain ripen; so do fruits and vegetables while many flowers begin to show their age; fade and set seed; foliage begins to wilt faster in the drying heat than the Gardeners efforts can sustain. If conditions remain moist, then Nature rapidly starts to build new buds for the cooler seasons ahead.
 
It is all a pretty logical turn in the season, reminding us that the sultry days of Summer are indeed numbered. Experienced Gardeners will be feeling and witnessing the natural signs that alert them that the most important Autumn planting season is just ahead. Now is a great time to think ahead and begin to prepare for the seasonal changes that subtly start with next week’s New Moon.
 
A note of caution to the inexperienced: Late Summer extremes, especially when they occur around the New Moon, create a lot of intense energy which can almost invisibly whip plants about. Thus it would not be a wise time to attempt to plant anything flimsy and tender or aggressively transplant anything delicate, especially if this involves a lot of root damage. It can be done but then a considerable amount of extra time will be needed when attempting to keep it alive.
 
If in doubt, it is better to wait than to plant. Spend the time clearing and preparing for the next planting cycle that starts next week when conditions are more likely to be again become benevolent. Certainly good gardening conditions will improve later in the Autumn. Guaranteed, there is always something to clean, cultivate, fertilise, tidy and weed if one were feeling the urge to get out and clean up the garden.
 
From this point onward, in most areas other than (sub) tropical zones, it would be wise to stick to planting hardy, cool season flowers and vegetables. When planting for the final warm season Summer and Autumn flowers and harvests, consider planting advanced seedlings and container-grown plants rather than sowing seed. Days in the growing season are numbered so attempt to grow things that mature quickly, otherwise there may not be enough time for plantings to mature before colder weather arrives.
 
A Time to Die: A Killers Paradise Awaits!
Fortunately, there are Garden and Nature Lovers who prefer never to harm anything. Then there is another group who would prefer to eliminate anything green and growing from their sight. Unfortunately, they are legion and this is their time. Yes, now is the best time to eliminate brush, scrub, noxious vegetation and aggressive vines.
 
Those who delight in killing things or have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to rid the garden of some noxious and unwanted pest plant, will be thrilled to know that Late Summer and Early Autumn are amongst the best times of the entire year for clearing land of grasses; brush and scrub; noxious vines and all sorts of other unwanted vegetation. Most especially noxious species that spread with extensive or tap root systems.
 
This is how to become a botanical assassin: first cut down and clear away the offensive plant to near ground level. This exposes the plant’s vascular bundles to air and celestial extremes. Then cover the open cut with kerosene and salt or a suitable herbicide.
 
The most powerful gravitational extremes occur with the Waning Moon Cycle (happening now) and especially start with the ‘Dark of the Moon’ (13-15 Feb.). As the Moon rises overhead, this draws sap upward so it bleeds out of the wound, thus weakening the plant. Then once the Moon sets, its gravitational pull locks with that of the Earth creating a strong downward pull. Now the exposed cut allows air to be deeply pulled down into the noxious plant’s root system which often kills the plant outright or certainly reduces its recovery.
 
To enhance the effect, place a handful of rock, sea or swimming pool salt over the exposed cut and then wet it with kerosene. This toxic mix soon dissolves and is also drawn into the cut along with drying air this insures a more efficient kill. Alternatively, paint or pour an appropriate herbicide weed killer over the flesh cut. This is very effective. Gravity will do the rest.
 
Caution! Herbicides must be applied very carefully. They can severely toxify the surrounding soil, or leach through the soil and toxify nearby water run-off. They can also toxify you, your family, cherished pets and wildlife. That is why almost all herbicides carry hazardous warning labels!
 
Next month and possible thereafter, as a follow-up: watch for any emerging regrowth from the noxious brush or scrub. This growth will be tender and weakened. Simply cut this off and re-toxified the freshly cut ends and that will usually result in their ultimate defeat.
 
Using this clearing method eliminates the need to spray large areas of countryside and/or garden with something potentially very toxic that could damage the environmental and yourself. Plus if the noxious vegetation has not been sprayed, it can be safely cleared away. Under ideal conditions the unpoisoned brush that has been cleared can be burned or mulched and much of its goodness can be returned back into the soil to immediately enrich the land from where it came.
 
A classic mistake is to spray great amounts of expensive poison over vast areas of noxious growth. Then wait for it to die and clear it away. Now the dead brush is contaminated and noxious. As it is cleared away, debris and dust will surely be breathed in and adsorbed into the skin and toxic foliage will be spread throughout the area. If it is burnt, the fumes contaminate the air. If it is dumped, it then contaminates a land fill or water run-off. This irresponsible method of spraying may well end up contaminating a lot more than it was ever meant to do! Most likely the assassinated will ultimately become the assassin.
 
A Dried Harvest:
Gardeners intent on harvesting flowers, fruits and vegetables for drying and preserving; gathering healing herbs and medicinal plants should do so now. So many of the finest specimens will be reaching maturity and highest volatile oil content now. Once again, Waning Moon Cycles, especially nearing the New Moon often produce great celestial extremes that reduce water content and fluid retention in plant tissues. Lowest water retention is extremely beneficial when harvesting to preserve petals and increase levels of volatile oils. Once gathered, dry in an airy, bright (but not in direct hot sun), in a place with a somewhat cool to moderate temperature and lowest possible humidity.
 
Finest flower preservation comes through immersing or standing blooms in a glycerine bath for 4 to 24 hours. Good preservation results can be produced by burying flowers in a mix of sand and silica gel in boxes which are left undisturbed until blooms are thoroughly dried.
 
‘Everlasting’ flowers, herbs, and some types of foliage can be tied into bunches and hung upside down to dry. Choose an airy, dust-free, dry space out of direct sunshine. Once the plants’ leaves and stems are dry and crisp so they snap rather than bend, they are thoroughly dried. Now they can either be left as they are and hung or stored intact in paper or mesh bags and used as needed. Alternatively, they can be carefully broken apart and stored in bags or jars for later use.
 
Add a sachet of silica gel into each sealed jar. The silica gel will help absorb any excess moisture and maintain their quality for longer. Keep a watchful eye on these dried treasures and be prepared to air things out to avoid ruinous fungal attack if conditions remain humid. Spraying dried (non-edible) flowers and foliage with hair spray or a clear lacquer will help seal out moisture and reduce the possibility of mildew and mould.
 
Drying fruits and vegetables is an art unto itself. Many varieties can be air or sundried, provided the weather remains dry and sunny. Otherwise, use a special drier which will do an excellent job in a very short time.
 
Grains and a variety of seeds often mature around this time. Because water retention will be at it’s lowest this week and next, this is often a good time to harvest fields of grain provided weather looks to remain dry. The next good opportunity might well not occur until after the Full Moon (13 March.) through the end of the month.
 
General Gardening:
Watch closely that things remain regularly fed, appropriately mulched and well watered, with a close eye kept to the control of threatening diseases and pests. Transitional turning points always contain a degree of stress that can lead to problems without proper care. This is traditionally a time when environmental conditions turn extreme enough to trigger the finish of one season as it transitions into the next. So if you have special treasures that you want to save, now might be a good time to give them a little extra attention to keep them going.
 
Protection and spraying may be necessary to save developing buds and maturing fruits from the ravages of hungry birds, diseases and a variety of other pests. Predation is much more prevalent in the Late Summer and Autumn garden as a natural consequence of the fading season. It is Nature’s way of sweeping aside one season in preparation for the emergence of the next. While this is intended to end the productivity of mature flowers and vegetables that are nearing their finish, it can inadvertently also wipe out a developing crop or emerging flower display if it remains unprotected and vulnerable.
 
Care for the young:
Sometimes it takes some extra care to protect emerging plantings and seedlings, especially while tender and young. Try to maintain healthy and rapid growth. It is often worth the effort to spray young emerging or newly planted seedlings with a protective organic spray or a full spectrum fungicide/insecticide while still small and vulnerable. This is often very beneficial to give them a good start. It will guarantee strong plants that quickly mature and take advantage of the good days remaining in the fading season. But spray a ‘test’ patch first to insure that the spray is not too strong for the young plants to handle! Spraying early or late in the day is preferable to spraying when hot sunshine might result in burning.
 
This systemic spray is very much like inoculating a small child against potentially life-threatening diseases. It protects them and gives them a good start in life. While some organic purists will object to this, those with less time will find such an early spraying to be so very helpful. It may very well save the crop and certainly will improve its performance. Those with available time and a full understanding of environmental balance may elect to use entirely natural organic forms of protection, especially with food crops.
 
Seasonal changes often bring extremes that predate upon aging and mature plantings. Soon they become overwhelmed by fungal infections which can potentially spread to nearby younger seedlings. Either make the choice to remove them to give the new young plantings a better chance or consider spraying the lot. Once new season plantings become established they should need little attention and will produce rapid results and rewards when many other gardens have faded.
 
Watering:
Watering is often the critical factor between failure and success in the Late Summer and Early Autumn garden. This is especially important for seed emergence and rapid seedling growth. Just one day of neglect can result in withered seedlings that never recover. Where growing conditions can be well controlled with regular irrigation or benevolent rainfall, root growth will be rapid in the warm Late Summer soil. This will greatly enhance the potential for success with late season crops and flowering displays.
 
Drought:
Where Late Summer droughts persist, go with the flow and make things easy on yourself. Elect to plant and sow into containers in a protected nursery or sheltered environment conveniently close to water sources. This way no time is lost in a futile attempt to battle impossible conditions. Your plantings will rocket ahead with the extra care and sheltering you can give them. Once environmental conditions moderate, these container-grown plantings can be successfully established into their final growing positions. This can create an ‘instant’ garden. It’s well worth the extra effort but always plan and plant within the capabilities of what you can realistically maintain.
 
Cultivate & Weed; Fertilise and Mulch:
Almost all established and new plantings. Keep up with the weeding! Weed growth can be rampant now. They often go to seed very quickly and up spring hundreds more. Some of the best days to weed are occurring right now. If weeds have been a big problem and the idea is to have open land soaking up the sunshine, cultivate and remove all weeds then let the ground ‘cure’ in bright, hot sunshine for a couple of days. If the idea is to replant, water once and let the next batch of weeds emerge. Then cultivate again. Sometimes it is worth repeating this process several times. This way most weed seed is eliminated. Then fertilize and incorporate soil additives like compost, lime, etc. Water this in thoroughly. Now the land is truly receptive to brilliant new growth.
 
When attempting to sow a new lawn or perhaps a wildflower bed or meadow, it is often worth going to this sort of effort now. This way almost all weed seed is eliminated that might otherwise compete and smother emerging lawn grass or wildflower seedlings. Both lawn seed and wildflowers are most easily sown a little later in the season once days have become cooler and damper. So now is the ideal time to expertly prepare the site for future sowing.
 
If time is limited, consider applying a commercial general weed and feed product but then add generous mulching. This can be applied before or after planting. This stops almost all types of weeds, often eliminates the need for watering, and then eventually breaks down to greatly improve soil quality
 
Get an Early Start:
Wherever an Autumn or Winter/Spring garden is intended, this is an excellent time to get an early start because, for many Gardeners, improving planting conditions begin within the next few weeks. Clear the beds, and remove the remnants of the Summer displays before they can become diseased and contaminate the surrounding soil. These can go into the compost pile. Anything diseased should be burned.
 
If there are no signs of disease, the old garden can be cut down where it stands with hedge clippers or secateurs. Attempt to make the cut up pieces fairly small. Scatter them evenly were the old plant stood. Pull up the old root ball and cut that into the mix, too. Now everything that particular dead plant took from the soil is being returned to the land exactly where it is needed. Its’ cut up debris now becomes mulch for the next crop. Over time this mulch will break down into fine compost that will enrich the garden soil.
 
Weed thoroughly! If the idea is to have open soil around the next plantings, or if the ground has become compacted and hard, dig over the ground and let it ‘cure’ in the sunlight. Spread liberal amounts of an appropriate fertiliser and a generous application of compost. Most land will also benefit from a dusting that whitens the ground with Dolomag/Dolomite.
 
Now is the ideal time to improve clay and heavy soil. Heavy land that drains poorly and all clay soils will be greatly improved with a generous dusting of Gypsum Lime, especially wherever soils might waterlog over Winter.
 
Gypsum is a powder type of lime. It has a neutral pH so can be used in almost any soil. Spread the powdered Gypsum evenly over the ground. It should almost whiten the ground. Then water it in lightly to a consistency of whole milk and let it settle into the ground. If it begins to run off, stop watering. It is important that the liquefied Gypsum soaks deeply into the land so it can start the open heavy soil to air and water.
 
Cultivate any and all these additives back into the ground and let the land stand for at least a week or two before planting. Where weed or soil-born disease has been a problem turn soil repeatedly and leave it freshly exposed to the weather so it can ‘sterilize’ before replanting. Let the weed seeds germinate, then cultivate them back in while small and unable to recover. This is usually best done on a sunny and windy day, or when one or more such days are likely to follow.
 
Weed seeds will germinate quickly in moist and warm earth. Don’t wait for them to grow! These small plants are easily killed by shallow cultivation using a hoe or torpedo weeder. Choose a sunny, dry, breezy day where evaporation rate are high. Dark of the Moon Phase is often ideal for this. The cultivated young weeds will shrivel and can be left to decay as ‘green’ manure. Eliminating young weeds now will save a lot of back breaking weeding later on.
 
This simple technique can be especially helpful for those preparing ground for a new lawn that could possibly get planted next month once cooler and damper weather returns.
 


This Third Week in the Late Summer Garden:

week one - week two - week three - week four
02-230x153 A major transitional week in the growing season is here. The Late Summer ‘Dark of the Moon’ becomes the New Moon (16 Feb.) that opens the Waxing Moon Cycle. This is a ‘Lingering Summer’ New Moon that begins the final simmering weeks of calendar summertime and awakens the earliest stirrings of Autumn. This is an excellent week for a wide variety of general gardening activities and harvesting plus planting and sowing especially for the emerging cooler seasons ahead. Chinese New Year arrives with the New Moon: The Year of the Dog.
 
Another Great Week for General Gardening Activities:
Continuing on from last week: prune to reduce growth; mow to keep lawns short for longer (just don’t cut them too short or they will burn); harvest, gather and store fruits, grains and seed, plus vegetable crops for immediate use (early in the week) and long term storage; cut firewood and posts; make and spread compost, dry fertilizers, soil and soil additives; cultivate; spray to eliminate disease, pests and unwanted vegetation; liquid feed and water container-grown and established ground plantings. With dry weather conditions, fields of grain harvested at this time often have low water content so store well with less mould and spoilage.
 
Early in the week while gravitational extremes are at their greatest is the best time to lay brick work, cobble and paving stones and foundations; create and dig ponds, place rock work, lay vinyl liners and fill; spread gravel, sand and wood chip; set fence posts or work with the land in almost any capacity as gravitational forces tend to anchor things to the ground now.
 
A Gift From Nature?
Technically, this New Moon should represent the beginning of Early Autumn and an unusually early seasonal change. But it arrives very early in the month. So it could actually be considered as a second Late Summer New Moon. In support of this, there is yet another New Moon (18 March) that occurs much closer to the Autumnal Equinox (21 March). So that New Moon will be the Early Autumn/Autumnal Equinox New Moon. That should be when true Autumn conditions will most likely arrive.
 
That makes this New Moon rather rare and special. It signifies a seasonal transitional time that is potentially a gift from Nature of a continuation of summery warm weather. Thus it is called the ‘Lingering Summer’ New Moon. With any luck, warm weather will linger right through to near the end of next month, and longer than that in regions with mild climates.
 
Be sure and use this gift wisely and accomplish all that is possible while the warm weather lasts. And should the weather take a rude sudden turn to cooler autumnal conditions a bit earlier than expected, realize that the Moon and Nature were alerting you to this possibility all the time. Gardeners in cooler climates should definitely be alert to this possibility. Start making preparations now for the cooler season ahead!
 
Harvesting:
The ‘best’ time to harvest fruits and vegetables plus herbs and medicinal plants for drying and long-term storage is traditionally completed around the time of the New Moon; weather permitting i.e. dry weather with lower humidity. This is when water retention is at its lowest. Potentially, this is the ideal week! The next week after the New Moon (the early Waxing Moon phase) is often also a good harvest time if conditions remain dry. Fields of grain can also be harvested now. This is also the time to gather seeds from favorite garden plants.
 
Watering by the Moon:
Almost all life is made up of water, which the Moon pulls up and down in an endless tide. Combined with the Suns’ gravitational pull and radiant light this exerts a profound pull that stimulates plant activity. The Moon causes an upward pull as it rises and passes overhead. Then a corresponding downward pull as the Moons’ gravitational field locks with the Earth as it passes on the other side of the Planet.
 
When the Moon is waning (showing less light each night) it rises in the east first before the Sun; rising later each day as it moves in closer until the Moon and Sun rise together at New Moon. Their union (conjunction) results in the greatest gravitational pull in plant fluids and often the tides, especially if the Moon is at perigee (its closest approach in its monthly orbit). The greatest upward pull of water or plant foods into the plant usually happens as the Sun and Moon rise overhead late morning through to early afternoon.
 
Later in the day the strongest upward gravitational pull fades and then reverses downward when the Moon and Sun set and pass to the other side of the Planet. Now Earth, Moon and Sun’s gravitational pull locks downward. These gravitational extremes often cause seed germination rates to increase and tend to draw roots deeply into the soil.
 
So apply liquid fertilizer and water in the morning hours through to mid afternoon to promote top growth, flowering and fruiting; feed and water late afternoon and early evening or even later to refresh a dry garden and promote deeper and stronger root development.
 
Planting Time Continues:
If the weather is benevolent or there is easy access to artificial irrigation, this is another relatively good time to plant and sow. Most important are root crop vegetables and anything needing a sustained period of root development before they make much top growth. This includes many annuals, most biennials and perennials; groundcovers, shrubs, trees and vines (especially subtropical varieties). Autumn flowering bulbs, corms, roots and tubers can be divided, planted or shifted. In cooler climates or wherever garden beds will remain dry, Spring flowering bulbs can also be planted.
 
From Seed:
Wherever the growing environment can be controlled, this an excellent time to start sowing seeds. This includes fast flowering annuals for later Autumn, and most varieties of plants for Winter, Spring and next Summer season; also Biennials and Perennials for next Spring and Summer and beyond.
 
Seeds that are difficult to germinate are often started now as celestial lunar extremes often are sufficiently strong to stimulate them into active growth. Seed will germinate very rapidly in moist and warm ground. Many seeds naturally germinate in the days following the New Moon (16 Feb.) as the added light of the Waxing Moon stimulates upward growth. Seed can still be sown of some Annual warm-season flowers wherever at least 100-120 days remain in the growing season. But mostly Gardeners will be focusing on sowing seeds for the Winter, Spring and next summer’s gardens.
 
Once seed is sown, the ground must remain moist and never totally dry out nor become water-logged. Seedlings should emerge rapidly if conditions remain ideal.
 
Often the best approach is to thoroughly soak the garden prior to sowing. Then soak again immediately after sowing and possibly the day after that. Then cut back a little to a lighter misting or stop watering if the weather should become cloudy and cool until the seedlings emerge unless the soil appears dry. Then begin daily or regular watering again.
 
There is a reason to reduce watering after sowing. Most seeds, especially larger ones like Beans, Peas and Sunflowers draw in water from the surrounding moist soil. This causes the seed to swell and begin to split open. Soon, the seed germ (what will soon become the seedling) begins to emerge in the split. It is very tender. If excessive water were to get trapped within that split in the swelling seed, it could drown or rot the seed germ, causing it to die. Thus once the seed begins to split, it is best to refrain from heavy watering until the seedling emerges above the soil. Then water more regularly to keep it alive and growing strongly.
 
Seedlings:
Lunar extremes can make it difficult to plant anything flimsy and tender this week, especially if significant root disturbance is likely. Best to let newly purchased seedling harden off prior to planting. Advanced seedlings that have been hardened off and can be shifted with a significant root ball should be fine. After the New Moon, continue planting advanced seedlings of flowers and vegetables for the Autumn and early Winter garden. Advanced seedlings are preferred, especially in climates with short growing seasons. These plants will burst into bloom quite quickly for a lovely Autumn display and good harvests.
 
It should be relatively easy to transplant from individual small containers or punnets where each seedling is growing in a separate compartment. But avoid ripping anything apart from a mass of roots as happens when seedlings are sown all into a single punnet as these plants are liable to collapse. Better to plant the entire root mass from the punnet as one unit to avoid potentially fatal root shock and plant collapse. Shelter everything newly planted from environmental extremes until the plants appear to be well established.
 
Small and tender seedlings are very vulnerable right now. Unless conditions remain ideal, it would be best to grown these on in their punnets. Before they become overcrowded, transplant each into a separate container and grow them on further. This would best be done after the passage of the New Moon. Once they have attained a more advanced size, transplant them into their permanent positions. Choose a cloudy, cool and damp day to do this; possibly when rain is imminent. Otherwise plant later in the day once the heat is off the garden. Water generously and plan to water them every day until there are no signs of wilting.
 
Check seedlings daily to insure they do not dry out. Once the seedlings become established in a few weeks they will need little care. But early on watch for problems from drying winds, heat and hungry birds and insects which offer the greatest challenges to success; the rewards are worth the effort.
 
Flowers to Plant or Sow
 
Annuals:
Asters, Balsam, Calendula, Cosmos, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Not, Linaria, Marigolds, Nemesia, Pansy, Poppy, Snapdragon, Sunflower, Sweet Pea, Wildflower mixes, Zinnia and much more locally. Some of these are actually Biennials or Perennials that are usually grown in the garden as Annuals.
 
Biennial, and Perennial Flowers:
Aquilegia, Arctotis, Campanulas & Canterbury Bells, Carnation, Delphinium, Dianthus, Feverfew, Foxglove, Gaillardia, Gypsophila, Hollyhock, Lunaria, Lupin, Penstemon, Polyanthus, Primula, Iceland Poppy, Silene, Snapdragon, Sweet William & much more.
 
Late Summer and Autumn perennials start to make a show. Late season Asters, Eupatorium (Boneset, Joe-Pye Flower), Helenium (Sneeze Weed), Helianthus ‘Autumn Glory’, late Phlox, Solidago (Golden Rod) and many more often begin now or at least by the end of the month.
 
Early flowering Chrysanthemums begin to branch and perhaps even show buds. Traditionally, Valentines’ Day is the last opportunity to pinch back Chrysanthemums and Autumn-flowering/Cushion Asters to encourage further branching before they begin to produce buds.
 
What to Plant and Sow in Subtropical Climates:
Subtropical gardens that only experience light frosts can continue to sow and plant many of the tender Annuals used as Summer colour in temperate climates. These can be sown for use in Late Autumn and Early Winter displays that can be planted-out in 6-8 weeks time.
 
Ageratum(1*), Alyssum (1), Althaea (Hollyhock), Ammi majus (Bishops Weed) Aquilegia, Amaranthus(1*), Arctotis, Aster(*), Balsam(1*), Basil (1*), Begonias(*), Bellis perennis (English Daisy) (1), Bells of Ireland(1*), Boronia, Cactus seed(1) Calendula(*), California poppy(*), Calliopsis(*), Canterbury Bells, Carnation, Celosia(1*) Chinese lantern(1), Chrysanthemum, Cineraria (*),Clarkia, Cleome (Spider Flower)(1*) Cockscomb(1*), Coleus(1*), Coneflower (1), Coreopsis (1), Cornflower(*), Cosmos(1*), Cyclamen(1), Dahlia seed(1), Delphinium, Dianthus (Pinks & Sweet William) (1*), Didiscus (Blue Lace Flower) (1),Digitalis (Foxglove), Dimorphotheca (Star of the Veldt)(1), Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower)(1), Feverfew(1), Gaillardia (1*), Gazania(1), Geranium (seed), Gerbera(1), Geum, Globe Amaranthus(1*), Gloxinia, Gypsophila(1*), Herbs (most species/varieties), Heuchera (Coral Bells), Hosta, Hyacinth bean (Dolichos)(1*), Impatiens(1*), Kochia, Lantana (1) Linaria (*), Lunaria (1), Marguerite Daisy(1), Marigold(1*), Mirabilis (Four O’Clock)(1), Morning Glory(1*), Myosotis (Forget-me-Not)(1), Nasturtium(1*), Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco)(1*), Nigella(*), Ornamental Peppers (*),Ornamental Poppies, Pansy(1*), Penstemon(*), Petunia (1*), Phlox (1*), Polyanthus & Primula (sown in containers for winter bloom), Portulaca(1*), Pyrethrum, Rudbeckia (Gloriosa Daisy), Salpiglossis(*), Salvia(*), Saponaria, Schizanthus(*), Shasta Daisy (1), Sparaxis (seed)(1), Statice(1*), Strawflower(1*), Sturts Desert Pea, Sunflower(*), Swan River Daisy (1), Sweet Peas (sunny ‘cool’ corners), Sweet William (1), Thunbergia (1*), Tithonia(1*), Torenia (1*),Verbena (1), Vinca major(1*), Viola(1*), Viscaria(1*), some Wildflower mixes, Zinnia(1*) and more locally.
 
(1)= good time to plant and acceptable to sow especially in mild climates or in the glasshouse
 
(*) = advanced colour plants for Autumn colour
 
Dependent upon variety, seed may take 8-12 weeks longer to mature than advanced seedlings. Do not attempt sowing seed of warm season plants intended for outdoor display in frost-prone climates now. Good for glasshouse displays
 
Vegetables:
These are the final days to plant most tender, warm season vegetables for outdoor crops. But this only applies to warm districts with at least 100-120 days remaining in the growing season. In cooler climates these same vegetables can be sown or planted in the glasshouse or be prepared to shelter them with cloches later in the year as the season cools.
 
Warm Season Vegetables to Plant or Sow in Mild Climates:
Beans (climbers will take longer than bush varieties); Cucumber; Eggplant; Marrow, Pumpkins and Squash; Melons; the last Sweet Corn (to about mid-month in all but the warmest locations); Tomatoes (possibly better in a glasshouse or be prepared to cover with cloches later); Taro and all other subtropical, tender vegetables in warmest districts
 
Hardy Vegetables to Start from Seed or Seedlings:
Beetroot, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, (Winter) Cabbages, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Cress, Chinese Cabbage and most other Asian leafy vegetables, Cress, Dwarf Beans, Endive, Herbs, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce (cooler spots/often best under glass), Marrow, Mustard, Onions, Parsley, Peas, Potato, Radish, Rhubarb, Salsify, Silver Beet, Spinach (cooler spots), Swedes, Turnips and more locally especially under glass or in frost-free, mild, sheltered climates. In colder climates, stick to the hardiest species or plant under glass.
 
This is an especially good time to sow seed of Brassica Family plants for late (cool) season harvests i.e. Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbages, Cauliflower, Kale, Mustard, etc.
 
Protective Spray:
Because of the extremes in play at this time of year and especially this week, many Gardeners elect to spray vulnerable plantings and especially sowings while rather tender and young with an organic preparation or a systemic fungicide/ insecticide. This will act as an inoculation booster that will protect them from predation. A liquid plant food can also be added to give them a healthy boost in growth during those vulnerable early days.
 
Bulbs:
Dormant (Spring or Autumn flowering) bulbs, roots, corms can go in now through the end of the month. This is especially good for planting Amaryllis belladonna ‘Naked Lady’, Colchicum (Autumn Crocus), Cyclamen and Nerine varieties. In subtropical climates all the warm-season roots and tubers like Canna, Caladium, Dahlia, Ginger, etc. can still be planted or shifted.
 
In cool climates Spring flowering bulbs can be planted. In warm climates, wait a little longer to plant Spring-flowering bulbs. For now, place them in airy, cool, dry storage for later planting out in the garden or put them into refrigeration if they are being forced for early blooms. In the coldest climates, Spring-flowering bulbs can be planted now through the Autumn months.
 
Subtropical Plants:
Subtropical plants and tropical houseplants make excellent growth and flowering during this period. The remaining long days combined with warm weather both day and night reflect in rapid growth rates amongst most tropical species and houseplants, especially those remaining outdoors for the Summer. Make sure they remain generously fed and well-watered to push on flowering and new growth. The only exception is if there is an unusual spell of cloudy cool weather, especially if conditions become wet and night time temperatures fall below 15C/59F.
 
Palms and most tropical foliage plants often put on their biggest and finest new foliage during this time. This is especially true if weather remains bright, humid and warm both day and night. It is well worth the effort to provide them with extra attention and care during this time of potential maximum growth. This is the best opportunity of the entire year to produce excellent quality foliage.
 
Saving Seed for Your Own Hybrid Plants:
As the day length subtly shortens, this triggers many Spring and early Summer flowers, herbs and vegetables to mature and produce seed. Late Summer is an excellent time to collect seed from the finest flowers, herbs and highest quality vegetables. This is often the best way to develop varieties that are most successful and suitable for your particular garden microclimate.
 
Unlike the fallacy of ‘cutting down the tall poppy’, it is often those best, biggest and most productive plants that are the ones to protect and save for seed. While not all will produce off-spring as productive as their parents, many will. If the seed is collected year-after-year of the best and strongest plants, soon a stable variety will be produced that will prove highly reliable for your particular growing environment.
 
The exceptions are the special hybrid species and genetically modified seed. These are usually clearly labelled. Genetically modified seed crops are banned in many countries and have patents placed upon them that make their resale illegal. Some are being specially bred to reproduce sterile seed.
 
Hybrid varieties, especially vegetables, often are genetically unstable. This means that their off-spring often do not produce the same characteristics and/or enhanced quality as the hybrid parent from which the seed was collected. Some revert back to a ‘wilder’ form or something remarkably different. But the patient Gardener with plenty of garden space and time can often thin out the unsuitable off-spring while pampering the strongest seedlings and still get rewarding results. Over time this careful selection of the finest plants results in a variety especially suitable to your specific garden microclimate.
 
The best way to collect normal seed is to first select and label or tag the finest blooms or vegetables. If a hybrid cross is wanted between several of the best plants, their pollen can be shared (rub pollen of one flower upon the other). Then cover the pollinated flower with a small paper bag to avoid further cross pollination by insects. Let all blooms reach full maturity. Flowers are allowed to go to seed. Seed pods must be allowed to dry out fully on the plant before harvesting. Most seed does not produce a healthy, viable seed germ if harvested while still green and unripened.
 
Sometimes when a plant must be removed while seed pods are still ‘green’ but nearly ripe, the entire plant, roots and all, can be harvested. Hang the plant upside down in an airy, bright location out of direct sunlight with a moderate temperature. A garden shed or back porch often works well for this purpose. As the plant begins to turn brown, the sap contained within the stems will naturally drain downward into the seed heads. This can help them begin to mature. If the seed is from a plant variety where seed heads naturally burst, cover the drying plant seed heads with a loosely fitting paper bag to catch the seeds as they mature. Once seeds have been collected and are thoroughly dry, store them in air tight jars; accurately labelled for later sowing.
 
Whenever possible allow plants to dry and fully mature naturally in their environment. Then pick seed heads and pods and allow them to dry in an airy, bright (not hotly sunny), warm place until completely dry and brittle or papery. Seeds are then best stored in air-tight jars until ready to sow. Sometimes it is best to first place seeds into a paper (not plastic) bag or cardboard box in a low humidity environment to fully cure and dry-out before placing into jars. This eliminates any possibility of ‘wet’ seed pods producing condensation inside the jar which would cause all the seed to mould and rot.
 
Seed vegetables are usually allowed to reach full maturity and then are harvested. Do not cook the vegetable, but leave it raw and pulp or scoop out the seeds. Alternatively, place the fruit or vegetable on a disposable tray and let it rot away in an airy, sheltered corner. Then rinse off any remaining flesh, pick out the seeds; and once removed, let them thoroughly dry out before storing.
 
Seeds are best harvested on dry, hot days following a dry spell with low humidity. Harvesting around this week’s ‘Dark of the Moon’ and New Moon is traditionally considered the most ideal time as often water retention within plant tissues is at its lowest level then. Harvesting most of this week should be good provided weather remains dry.
 
Seeds are fully dried when they are hard and straw-like in dryness. A good test is to leave the stem attached to a few seed heads. When the attached stem breaks and snaps rather than bends, the seed inside is usually fully dried. Then store in air-tight jars that are well marked.
 
Check on them daily once placed in the jar. If there is even the faintest hint of condensation within the jar, open it immediately; empty the contents of seeds and spread out again in an airy, open box to further dry out. If allowed to remain damp, the seed will quickly rot and be ruined!
 
The same conditions also apply to collecting flowers, petals and foliage for drying. Cut them with generous stems just as they reach near-full blossom or when foliage is fully matured. Hang these in an airy, dry place out of direct sun or scatter over screens or in boxes until dry. The stems can also be stood upright in baths of glycerine which will preserve them once the glycerine is fully absorbed into the plant tissues.
 


This Fourth Week in the Late Summer Garden:

week one - week two - week three - week four
03-230x153 The First Quarter Moon arrives 23 Feb strengthening to perigee 28Feb. and Full Moon 2 March. This is potentially an excellent week for planting and sowing flowers, fruits, vegetables; ornamental groundcovers, shrubs, trees and vines from established containers as well as most subtropical species. All general gardening activities are also highlighted in preparation for Autumn. This may be the last calendar week of Summer but considerably more warm weather is likely on the way.
 
Plant and Sow Whenever Possible!
Weather permitting, plant and sow as much as possible now and throughout the month ahead. Sunlight is still strong and the ground is warm so germination and new growth should be rapid. Because the Sun is now shifting away and days are shortening, it is important to make the most of every day to achieve as much as possible before growth rates begin to slow down.
 
Flowers to Plant or Sow:
Ageratum, Alyssum, Bellis perennis (English Daisy), Calceolaria, Calendula, Candytuft, Carnation, Celosia, Cineraria, Cleome, Cornflower, Cosmos, Dianthus, Forget-Me-Not (Mysotis), Gypsophila, Helichrysum, Linaria, Marigold (especially French and Petite), Mignonette, Nasturtium, Nemesia, Nigella (seedlings for now. Seed for later), Pansy, Poppies, Primula, Schizanthus, Snapdragon, Sunflowers, Viola, Virginia Stock, Zinnia & much more in local microclimates.
 
If time and irrigation are limited, consider planting, transplanting or sowing into punnets or small containers that can be clustered near a convenient water source. This makes for easy care and much better results. Make sure this spot has at least strong morning sunshine. All day sun is essential for a few varieties but seed and seedlings often do better while growing-on in containers or punnets when they are exposed to a little less heat and strong Late Summer sunshine.
 
Liquid feed regularly and water as necessary. Most likely seedlings will need some watering almost every day. Avoid liquid feeding during the scorching part of the day to avoid burning foliage. These small plants will grow on quite successfully for many weeks in their containers. Then once a spell of cloudy, cooler, damp weather returns, carefully lift the entire root ball out of its container and plant the entire mass in the garden as once unit. Even if there are several plants together, they will spread out to find their own space. The strongest will put on the first and often the best show. But the others will usually make a showing perhaps a little bit later and a tad smaller. Plus, because there is hardly any root disturbance, usually there is minimal wilting and the plants keep growing strongly as if they were always there from the start.
 
Annuals that are quite winter-hardy in cool to mild climate zones are sown now for (Late) Winter and Spring displays. This includes hardy flowers like: Calendula, Cornflower, Nemesia (light frosts only), Nigella, Snapdragon, Stock, Virginia Stock, and decorative Winter Kale.
 
Biennials like Canterbury Bells, Lunaria (Honesty), and Sweet William along with a chorus of Perennials (often treated as Annuals) such as Carnation, Bellis perennis (English Daisy), Delphinium, Dianthus, Hollyhock, Lupin, Pansy, Polyanthus, Poppy, Primula, Wallflower, etc. all can go in now. If well looked after, these seeds or seedlings started now will be the pride of your Spring garden and some may even put on an early display in the Autumn.
 
Perennials of many sorts can be transplanted from containers. This is provided the garden soil can be irrigated or if there is sufficient rainfall to keep them going until autumnal damp returns. Starting things early gives the advantage of precious extra weeks to become established before the autumnal cool down send them into dormancy.
 
Vegetables:
Vegetables of many sorts can be planted from seedlings or sown from see now as the moonlight is returning (Full Waxing Moon cycle) and onward to Full Moon (2 March). This is the ideal time to sow all varieties that produce their crops above the ground.
 
This week and through the end of the month is a good time to sow the seed of root crops. If all goes well, their seed will germinate around the time of the Full Moon or shortly before. This provides the longest possible time for their fine roots to penetrate deeply into the soil during the Waning Moon Cycle. This works particularly well to produce exhibition Carrots.
 
Vegetables to Plant or Sow:
Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Winter Cabbages, Cauliflower, Celery, Cress, Dwarf Beans, Endive, Kale, Lettuce (cooler spots), Marrow, Mustard, Peas, Rhubarb, Silver Beet, Spinach (cooler spots) and more locally. This is an especially good time to sow seed of Brassica Family plants for late (cool) season harvests.
 
Watering and Liquid Feeding:
Watering in dry seasons can be critically important to a garden’s survival in Late Summer. A deep soaking once a week often does more good than a daily sprinkle, especially for deeply-rooted shrubs, trees and vines. But container plants and shallow-rooted species plus all germinating seed and seedlings will need much more frequent and regular, perhaps daily, watering if conditions remain dry, hot and breezy.
 
As a general rule: water in the late afternoon to early evening to refresh a dry garden; water in the morning to encourage new growth. Moon cycles also come into play here. Watering just before or with a rising Moon and until it just passes overhead will tend to draw water and accompanying plant food up into the plant. This results in rapid new growth and flowering.
 
Watering once the Moon begins to set in the West will tend to encourage water to be pulled more strongly into the roots and soil and often takes longer before it is absorbed upward into leafy plant tissue. But can be used very successfully in the evening to refresh a dry garden by the following morning.
 
At the beginning of this week the Moon will rise fairly early after sunrise and roughly about an hour later each day following. By the end of the month the Moon will be rising a couple of hours before sundown.
 
Liquid feeding works its very best when applied as the Moon is rising to the time it passes overhead. Liquid feeding applied as the Moon is setting will tend to be pulled into the ground or settle within the potting soil in the container and may not prove to be as effective. So this week liquid feeding can be applied for much of the daylight hours and will be most effective when added before mid afternoon.
 
Spring Flowering Bulbs:
Spring-flowering bulbs are such a delight. They lift our spirits after the long wintery months as a herald of springtime. Many people pre-chill these bulbs to produce their beautiful flowers throughout the Winter months when colour and fragrance are greatly appreciated.
 
Spring-flowering bulbs can be ordered from catalogues now and a few varieties can be purchased from local nurseries and garden centres. Many more varieties will become available next month.
 
They can also be planted in all but the warmest locations. And dug up and divided for replanting in all localities. Whenever such bulb planting is to be delayed until cooler weather, store the bulbs in an airy, cool, dark, dry place with low but constant humidity. Mesh or paper bags or cardboard covered boxes work well. Avoid plastic bags that might allow condensation to result in early and unwanted root development. If by chance, root development does occur on stored Spring-flowering bulbs, they should be immediately planted with the greatest care to avoid root damage.
 
These bulbs can actually be stored for many weeks or months in constant conditions that simulate a dry Autumn in their native European/Middle Eastern homeland. Later on they can be planted out into the garden or potted and grown on in cool conditions to force early Spring blooms.
 
To force really early blooms, place the bulbs in cool refrigeration at about 4C/39.2F degrees for two months or longer (this is dependent upon the species being grown for forcing). The same applies when attempting to grow spring-flowering bulbs in very mild and subtropical gardens.
 
Commercial Growers often start bulbs like Daffodil//Jonquil/Narcissus, Iris, Hyacinth and Tulip in large flats (for cut flowers) or small pots (for retail sale) placed in refrigeration. They are fortunate enough to have large walk-in refrigeration. At home the vegetable crisper or a lower shelf in the refrigerator will work as well. Just place the damp bulb pots within a plastic bag to keep them evenly moist. This is to simulate an early Winter where the bulbs can begin developing their root system ahead of flowering. Then after the required number of months in cool storage, the pots can be brought out into cool, bright conditions to force early flowering. The secret here is attempting to maintain constant cool temperatures of about 4C/39F degrees. If temperatures frequently rise and fall, the bulb flower may ‘blast’ (dry up and die). That is why the back, lower shelves in the refrigerator work the best because cold air pools back there even when the door is repeatedly opened.
 
If there is not enough room for bulb pots, consider placing the bulbs you plan to force in a mesh bag within the vegetable crisper. Avoid mixing the bulbs with either pineapples or apples. The ethylene gas they emit interferes with the bulbs ability to grow properly and they often sprout prematurely. Make sure the bulbs remain cool and dry. Leave them in there for at least 10 weeks (Hyacinths and minor bulbs); 12 weeks for Daffodils and Narcissus; 12-14weeks/and no more than 22 weeks for Tulips. Then bring them out and pot them. Most will start flowering within 4-6 weeks.
 
Chrysanthemum:
Chrysanthemum plants can be pinched back and/or disbudded now for the final time before flowering. An overall cut-back of up to 1/3-1/2 the stem’s total length is only necessary where the idea is to create a very bushy plant, lower plant and to increase the quantity of blooms. This pinching is especially effective on ‘cushion’ garden Chrysanthemums where masses of smaller blooms are desired.
 
Disbudding (removing) smaller side buds can be used very effectively to create a Standard Chrysanthemum with one single very large bloom suitable for exhibition or Florist sales. Partial disbudding will create a Spray Chrysanthemum with multiple medium sized flowers like the type often sold through the Florist Trade.
 
Chrysanthemum vegetation can be very brittle. Spray and Standard Chrysanthemums with fewer but larger blooms on longer stems will become top-heavy. These should be well staked now as flower buds begin to develop.
 
On all Chrysanthemums, even the bush and cushion varieties, some pinching out of side buds will reduce over-crowding that otherwise could result in smaller blooms of an inferior quality. With Standard Chrysanthemums meant to produce one giant bloom it is always safe to maintain two or more top buds for a while longer. Later on only the largest bud is allowed to develop and bloom.
 
Chrysanthemums need regular fertilising. Also lightly lime and regularly water plants as they develop. In humid and warm climates, plants will probably need preventative spraying against rust fungus and occasionally attack by Aphids, Beetles and/or Caterpillar.
 
With a little care and proper selection, the stems that have been pinched out can be started as new plants. All that is needed is about 2-4in/5-10cm sturdy stem lengths. Pinch out the growing tip and take off all but two or three leaves. Plunge the cut end of each stem into hormone gel or powder. Select either a small or medium sized 8-10in/20-25cm pot filled with pre-moistened potting mix and/or propagating sand. Make a dibble hole and drop (don’t push) each cutting into a separate hole. Back fill the hole so that the cuttings are secure and fully surrounded with propagating mix.
 
Once the pot is filled full of cuttings, place it inside a clear or translucent plastic bag. Bring it up and loosely tie it over the cuttings. This makes a small glasshouse/terrarium. Place in bright and warm indirect light out of drafts or temperature extremes. Mist or lightly water the cuttings every day to maintain high humidity. With any luck your cuttings will strike within a few weeks time.
 
The cuttings can be grown on within the pot they are in for the remainder of the season. Next Spring, the mass of new plants that have grown from the cuttings can be separated and replanted for new blooms. Fresh root and stem cuttings can be taken at that time. Alternatively, transplant the cuttings now into other containers or into a garden bed for further development. First flowering may occur this Autumn; or Winter/Early Spring (if grown on in a glasshouse); or next Summer or Autumn in the garden.
 
Roses:
Roses should also be feed, limed, sprayed and watered regularly to prevent disease or pests and ensure a good display of lovely blooms for Autumn. For larger blooms of the highest quality, disbud all but the largest bud(s) on each flowering stem.
 
As soon as a cluster of buds finishes flowering, be brave and cut that flowering stem back to at least the first full leaf (5-7 leaflets arranged on the leaf). Choose a leaf that is facing outwards way from the centre of the bush. New growth will soon commence from just above that leaf and will grow outward in the direction in which the leaf is facing. New flowers usually develop in 6-8 weeks. Unless there is a need for the Rose bush to be tall, it is quite often advantageous to cut the finished blooming cane back quite severely. This encourages much stronger new growth and often better quality flowering.
 
House Plants and (Sub) Tropicals:
Houseplants and Tropical species in containers like Cycads and Palms can still be repotted before cool weather stops new growth. In cold and cooler climate zones, start moving those tender plants that have enjoyed a Summer holiday to more protected sites that are brighter and warmer as night time temperatures begin to fall below 12-15C/53.6-59F degrees. For most of us that seasonal transformation is still some time away.
 
Once night time temperatures begin to drop below 12-15C/53.6-59F degrees the metabolism of many tender and tropical species begins to close down and they enter dormancy. This slows or eliminates new growth until day length increases and temperatures rise again (either with the return of Spring or artificial glasshouse/indoor conditions).
 
Soil temperature is of greatest importance. Tropical plants will continue to grow even in cool air provided their soil temperature remains warm. This is easy when the plant is in a sunny location in the ground. But if a container plant’s pot is exposed to cool air temperatures, the soil within it soon cools to air temperature. Then the plant will enter dormancy or can actually chill and die.
 
To keep houseplants and tropical species growing strongly for the longest period of time, don’t allow their container to be exposed to cool/cold evening temperatures. If they are still outdoors, cluster them together in a very sheltered and warm spot with higher night time temperatures where they can continue growing on for a while longer.
 
Alternatively, insulate each pot by placing the smaller pot plant inside a larger (decorative) container. Then fill in the space between the two pots with peat, sand, soil or granulated bark. This provides warming insulation for the pot plant’s soil, very much like us wearing an extra layer of clothing.
 
Tropical plant species can be struck from cuttings while these last mild days persist.
 
The best way to do this is exactly as described earlier for Chrysanthemum cuttings. Only difference is that while even, warm temperatures, especially warm soil are essential for success, the cuttings must then be shifted to a bright and warm situation where they can grow on. Tropicals are much more sensitive to cold than are Chrysanthemums! Keep their air and soil temperatures warm or they will rot.
 
Pruning:
Continue, to cut back and trim to shape most-ornamental flowering shrubs and trees plus fruiting brambles and canes, conifers and hedges, shrubs, trees and vines. This is more to keep them shapely and remove diseased or weak growth. This especially applies to smaller and younger plants with the intention of making them bushier and stronger. Also to very old plants that have passed their ‘Use-By’ date. Cutting them back right now along with a good feeding, watering and mulch can often rejuvenate a tired older plant. It will often respond with renewed vigour or will die. This would convenient open a space in the garden with autumn planting season rising on the horizon
 
Prune fruit trees as soon as all fruit is removed. Remove up to 2/3 of all new growth. This is best done right now during this Full Waxing Moon Cycle until just after Full Moon. This will produce abundant and bushy new growth. If the intention is to limit new growth on a larger and more mature plant, wait to prune until just after the Full Moon (2 March) and onward through the end of the month during the Waning Moon Cycle.
 
To permanently reduce new growth on these species, or possibly even eliminate old branches entirely, prune during the Full Waning, ‘Dark of the Moon’ Cycle (Crescent Moon in the dawning sky) that arrives the third week of March 2018. Be aware that pruning during this time of rising celestial forces may result in more die back than was actually pruned off!
 
Also trim back excessive and all rampant growth on Grape and Kiwi Fruit prior to harvesting to increase sunlight and open air around developing fruits. Always leave at least one or two leaves past the fruit to screen it against sun scalding.
 
The exceptions here that should not be heavily pruned now are those species that are Autumn flowering and/or fruiting i.e. late bramble and cane fruits; Apples, Banana, Citrus, Feijoa, Pears, Persimmon; nut trees like Hazel Nut, Pecan and Walnut; Autumn/Winter-flowering Acacia, Azalea, Camellia (especially Sasanqua varieties), Daphne, Luculia, Osmanthus, budding Rhododendron, etc. plus most Spring-flowering species that might be developing tiny buds for later flowering. They should get a light trim now and then a full haircut right after flowering finishes.

About us

dale-john 01-100x66 Dale Harvey and John Newton met in Melbourne Australia in 1981. Since then they both have supported each others careers while also building and maintaining their own. Read about how they were able to turn their joint careers into one and creating a dream of a better world starting in their own local community.

Media & Publications

host daffodils-100x66The following articles are a small part of the many published editorials on or about both Dale Harvey and John Newton plus the property affectionately nick named by the people of New Zealand, as the
"Quarter Acre” Paradise gardens.

Awards & Credits

HOPE Trust-100x66This is a collection of Appreciation Certificates, Local and Overseas Awards with Acknowledgments presented to Dale Harvey and John Newton over the many years of their joint careers plus the Launch and Registration
of The H.O.P.E. Trust
The Healing of Planet Earth.

Contact Us

P.O.Box Papatoetoe Central
2156 Auckland
New Zealand
Tel: +61 9 276 4827
Fax: +61 9 276 4025
Email: info@daleharvey.com 
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