December is a busy month for families which is good reason for you to have done your work over the spring months so you can now scale back and still have fresh things to pick each day. This summer looks like a good growing season here and I’ll put in more lettuces for fresh Christmas salads.
If you haven’t already done so in November, now is the time to mulch your garden well to avoid moisture loss during the day. It will also help to keep the weeds down which will cover any exposed soil in no time after a bit of rain.
Net mangoes and apples and bag banana bunches to protect fruit from fruit bats, possums, brush turkeys.
Bag or net tomatoes to protect from fruit fly and king parrots who just love to nibble them (plant some extra cherry tomatoes out for them to enjoy at Christmas time).
In hot weather zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and capsicum keep producing as long as the water or rain is kept up to them. I am very proud of my Christmas harvest of Oxheart tomatoes this year. Herbs like basil, parsley, chives, thyme do well now as long as they get enough water and you will be able to provide fresh salads, antipastos and herb dressings or pesto on those hot summer days.
At the end of spring I collect seed heads from herbs like parsley, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, coriander, watercress, highland cress, carrots, dill, fennel and rocket as they complete their flowering and place them in paper or cloth bags to dry out. I also save seeds from my favourite Farmer’s market bought tomatoes as I use them, by spreading the seeds on a piece of newspaper to dry, writing the variety alongside for later identification.
Gardening Guide (following Moon Planting)☽ Waxing Moon 2 December at 7:53pm
Sow or plant out: bush and climbing beans, sweet corn, eggplant, pumpkin, capsicum, tomato, watermelon, cauliflower, cucumber, leek, rockmelon, spring onions, summer squash, tomato, zucchini, cosmos, nasturtium, sunflower, African and French marigold.
Prune: climbing roses, ramblers and species roses after flowering. Tip prune young fig trees.
☺ Full Moon 11 December at 12:37 am
Sow direct: beetroot (pre-soak seed), carrot, parsnip and radish.
Sow or plant out: banana passionfruit, passionfruit, dandelion, lemon grass, mint, pyrethrum, watercress, banana, mango and pineapple.
Take cuttings of: hyssop, lavender, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme and watercress.
After watering, fertilise: all banana trees. Lightly fertilise: Hawaiian hibiscus.
Harvest crops for storage on non-fertile days.
☾ Waning Moon 18 December at 10:49 am
No sowing or planting this phase, but weed, dig or plough, prepare beds and prune back unwanted growth, if required.
Mulch: pineapple with well-rotted manure.☻ New Moon 25 December at 4:08 am
Sow or plant out: More basil and parsley.
Sow direct: cabbage, lettuce, silver beet (pre-soak seed), leek, spring onions, cosmos, nasturtium and sunflower.
Grow a green manure or cover crop of adzuki bean, cowpea, lablab, mung bean, pigeon pea, soybean, Japanese millet, sorghum, amaranth or millet. I often use mixed bird seeds or a soup mix to grow for my chickens.
On damp soil, apply fertiliser tea (made from comfrey or manure soaked in water, diluted 1:10) to: asparagus seedlings and crowns, young grapes, young avocado, mango and pawpaw, melons sown in November, also cabbage, celery, leek, young rhubarb, silver beet and young passionfruit.
Apply seaweed tea to: pawpaw, Hawaiian hibiscus and potato bed for January planting. Apply at half-strength to kiwifruit and young pawpaw.