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Fruiting Planting in the Long Days of Late Summer

According to my lunar planting calendar, it’s the last of the fruiting planting days for the real summer crops. I have an each way bet on the lunar planting calendar. I use it more to impose some sort of rhythm on my planting schedule than as a prescriptive thing. If I’m too busy or the weather is too harsh, I cheat. It’s been killer hot weather here lately, with several days lately over 40°C.  But today is a perfect planting day – cool and overcast with a weather report showing showers over the next few days.  Amazing how often it challenges my skepticism like that!

I do believe, really strongly, in the solar planting calendar.  The days have been getting shorter since the summer solstice on December 22nd, but so far only by a matter of seconds per day. Pretty soon, they’ll pass the point on the bell curve, and start to get shorter at a noticeably faster rate. There’s a nice simple graph that explains it here.

Many food plants are very good at calculating whether the days are getting longer or shorter,  It’s how they tell what season it is.  The scientific term is “photoperiodism”, and there’s more about it on the gardening page.   There’s no point in cheating with photoperiodism. Plants that fell for tricks like that became extinct a long time ago!

Many summer crops are summer crops because they need the really long days to flower and fruit. So although here it feels like the height of summer, it is really the last opportunity to plant things like eggplants and capsicum and chilis before the days start to get shorter fast.

I have white eggplants and Corno de Toro capsicums and Jalepino chilis, two varieties of tomatoes (my trusty San Mazanos and a new variety of grape tomatoes I’m trying), and  tomatillos as advanced seedlings ready to go out into the garden. I’ll plant one more round of seeds of the tomatoes and capsicums. I also have Brown Seeded snake beans and Blue Lake climbing beans, Richmond Valley cucumbers, a couple of varieties of pumpkins and Black Beauty zucchini seeds to plant out directly.  And I have some tamarillo and paw paw and passionfruit babies ready to pot up – I’ll keep them in the shadehouse a while longer. I’d love to have room for some okra, and some melons, and some spaghetti squash, and luffas, and sweet corn…but I’ve learned that I’m much better off giving more love and attention (and water) to less plants than spreading it all too thin.

And I need to remember to leave some room for the root crops next week!

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