Snake beans are a reliable standby this month

Summer school holiday time and the weather has been glorious so far – in stark contrast to last year’s torrential rains. I keep my garden work to a minimum in January, doing any taxing work in the cool early morning hours or late afternoons. For my up-coming plantings I keep trays of new seedlings in boxes on the verandah, out of the sun and in easy reach of a watering can.

This year’s weather has been cooler and I noticed a drop in fruit-fly numbers – making for a bumper tomato harvest, but fruit-fly control is still important. Collect all affected fruit in black bin bags and place them in the sun to ‘cook’ the larvae. Another option is to place affected fruit in a rubbish bin filled with water to drown the larvae (make sure the lid is on against smells and mosquitoes). Both results can be composted afterwards. I keep a lidded bin in the vegetable garden for this purpose, weeds and comfrey leaves can also be added to this mix – a good liquid fertiliser.

Bunya Nuts, very large indigenous pine nuts - a traditional food

Snake beans, silverbeet, eggplant, cucumbers are some of the vegetables that keep producing throughout this hot month. Great ingredients for Thai curries and Asian dishes. And look out for ‘free’ Bunya nuts at the end of January, a traditional bushfood with many possible applications.

Gardening Guide (following Moon Planting)
☽ First Quarter – 1 January at 4:16 pm

Sow direct: sweet corn.
Sow or plant out: capsicum, tomato, eggplant, rockmelon, summer squash, watermelon, zucchini, French marigold and sunflower, also cucumber and leek in late January.
Sow direct: bush and climbing beans.
Lightly prune: all established bush roses, except species.

☺ Full Moon – 9 January at 5:31 pm

Sow or plant out: lemon grass and mango. Take cuttings of hyssop, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, watercress, carnation and pelargonium, dandelion, watercress, carnation and gazania.
Sow direct: beetroot (pre-soak seed), carrot, parsnip, potato and radish.
Lightly fertilise: kangaroo paw, also natives not fertilised in spring.
Prune: ceratopetalum not cut at Christmas.
Harvest crops for storage on non-fertile days.

☾ Last Quarter – 16 January at 7:09 pm

No sowing or planting this phase, but weed, dig or plough, prepare beds and prune back unwanted growth, if required.
Prepare beds for: leeks and prepare and mulch beds for: strawberries.
Mulch: top up mulch around bananas and where necessary.

☻ New Moon – 23 January at 5:40 pm

Sow or plant out: celosia, ageratum, French marigold, also leek in late January.
Sow direct: silverbeet (pre-soak seed) and sunflower.
Grow a green manure or cover crop of: adzuki bean, cowpea, lablab, mung bean, pigeon pea, Japanese millet or sorghum, amaranth and millet.
On damp soil, apply fertiliser tea to: melons sown in December, also cabbage, silverbeet and young passionfruit, if necessary.
Apply seaweed tea to: asparagus seedlings and young crowns and potato bed for February planting. Water fruit trees and vines regularly after harvest.