Asparagus bed in winter with broad beans

This month my main priority is the asparagus and the potato beds. Once I cut back the asparagus tops I cover the bed with straw from the chook pen, add seaweed and comfrey tea and usually plant my winter crop of broad beans around the edge of the patch.
The potatoes will be dug up, compost added, the straw dug under and then a new batch of potatoes planted to mature over winter. I like to place two varieties, half a bed each. As a bonus I will also be harvesting mushrooms during the cooler month as they pop up through the straw cover of both beds.

Rhubarb, a great winter vegetable

Last year’s rhubarb plants are doing well and I am looking forward to the winter desserts. They thrive in the cooler weather with their roots warmed by compost.

Snowpeas start to bear this month

Apart from this I am growing more winter vegetables from seed, like beetroot, spinach, onions, leeks, cabbages and some flower and herb seeds to germinate slowly in spring. I ate the first snowpeas today.

I don’t think we have to worry too much about drought over winter – there’s more rain forecast which will be welcome over our dry season.

Bulbs are a great spring standby as they come up faithfully year after year and only need thinning out from time to time, adding even more colour (for free) each year. This year I planted up a large pot of daffodils and tulips – hopefully they will give us colour throughout winter.

Gardening Guide (following Moon Planting)

☻ New Moon 3 May at 4:52 pm

No sowing on 3rd. Best sowing/planting days: all day on 4th; from 12:35 pm on 7th, all day on 8th and 9th.

Sow direct: bulb fennel, cabbage, open Chinese cabbage, grain crops, silver beet (pre-soak seed), lettuce, mizuna, radicchio, rocket, spinach, tatsoi, coriander and annual lupins.
Sow or plant out: leek, spring onions, chamomile, ageratum, aurora daisy, calendula, cornflower, nigella, pansy and viola, Iceland poppy, snapdragon, statice, verbena, stock and sweet pea. I also sowed Native Everlasting daisies and planted more spring bulbs this year.
Grow a green manure or cover crop of barley, cereal rye, oats or triticale. In suitable soils, grow alfalfa, fenugreek, vetch, amaranth or buckwheat, chickpea, red or white clover, faba bean, field pea or wheat.
On damp soil, apply fertiliser tea to: cabbage, celery, leek, lettuce and silver beet, if necessary. Apply at half-strength fortnightly to spinach, until thinned.
Apply seaweed tea to: asparagus bed.

☽ Waxing Moon 11 May at 6:34 am

(No sowing from 6:35 pm on 10th to 6:35 pm on 11th.) Best sowing/pruning days: all day on 14th, 15th and 16th, to 9:10 am on 17th.

Sow direct: grain crops, peas and annual lupins, also broad beans, stock and sweet pea.
Sow or plant out: leek, spring onions, chamomile, ageratum, aurora daisy, calendula, cornflower, dianthus, nemesia, nigella, pansy and viola, Iceland poppy, snapdragon, statice and verbena.

☺ Full Moon 17 May at 9:10 pm

(No sowing from 9:10 am on 17th to 9:10 am on 18th.) Best sowing/pruning days: all day on 20th and 21st, to 12:30 pm on 22nd. Best harvest days: all day on 18th and 19th; from 12:30 pm on 22nd, all day on 23rd and 24th.

Sow direct: radish, turnip, swede, potato and yarrow.
Plant: olive, daylily and potted roses.
Sow or plant out: early-season onion, garlic, beetroot (pre-soak seed), carrot and swede, watercress, carnation, anemone, ranuncula, bulbs, lilies and freesia.
After watering, fertilise: bulbs which have remained in soil.
Prune: lightly prune tall tibouchina after flowering. Tidy up perennial bed, cut back dahlia plants. Lift tubers, if necessary. Cut down asparagus when yellow.
Harvest crops for storage on non-fertile days.

☾ Waning Moon 25 May at 4:53 am

(No sowing between 4:55 pm on 24th and all day on June 1st.) Best weeding days: from 10:35 am on 27th, all day on 28th and 29th; from 10:00 am on June 1st.

No sowing or planting this phase, but weed, dig or plough, prepare beds and prune back unwanted growth, if required.
Prepare beds for: potatoes.
Mulch: top up compost on established asparagus bed. Replace mulch after planting bulbs. Mulch prepared beds to prevent organic matter drying out.