I just caught the very end of this fruiting planting break yesterday. I was determined not to miss it – it’s one of the biggest of the whole year. But being a weekday, my time was a bit crunched and I’m only getting around to finishing off and posting about it today. I’m not too stressed. The lunar calendar is only allowed to cheer me on, not to chastise me!
I quite like deadlines – they give me a target. Without them I find that, in my busy busy life, things that are important get put aside in favour of the things that are most noisily urgent. And seasons don’t scream urgent, but they don’t wait. They are a wonderful reminder that we humans can argue all we like but nature holds trump cards. We live on a little spinning planet, and there’s the reality of it.
I love the spin of it. Now is the season for eating broccoli and peas and spinach, but for imagining the harvest of tomatoes and eggplants, zucchini and beans as the seeds are poked into the warming earth. We are just past Imbolc, which marks the peak of the bell curve in the lengthening days. Although we had the fire on last night spring is well on its way.
Last month I stuck a few summer seeds in, too early but just for fun. Most of them are just coming up now. Planting too early really doesn’t speed it up. But up here in northern NSW, on my very nearly frost free site, I can now start seriously planting all the summer crops. Yesterday I put in:
Tomatoes – I have some Brandywine seedlings up from last month. They are the most glorious tasting tomatoes but susceptible to fruit fly. I’ll try to get some early ones, but for my main summer tomatoes I’ll go for the fruit fly resistant cherry and Roma and Principe Borghese this time.
Eggplants – I have a hard time with eggplants. There is lots of wild tobacco around this area, and it harbours flea beetles that prefer my eggplants. I’m planting red and white and black varieties. I generally have the most luck with the red.
Capsicums – I have several varieties I like. Corno de Toro for stuffing, perennial (which are really semi-perennial) for a reliable supply for cooking, baby flat for salads (I call them supermarket capsicums, because that’s where I got the one for seed, but I think they are capsicum annuum). I won’t plant any chilis – I have several perennial bushes going strong.
Zucchini and Squash – my own golden squash and blackjack zucchini seed saved from last year, and this year I’m putting in quite a few Trombocino. I tried two last year and loved them. They climb, which is an advantage in my fortress fenced garden – the fencing gives me lots of vertical space, and zucchini are very space hungry. They also yielded really well, didn’t get any powdery mildew, and the fruit is a bit denser than zucchini.
Cucumbers – I’m trying mini white from Diggers this year. They say it rated best on their taste test. I’m picky about cucumbers – I like Richmond River whites and continental types, so we’ll see how mini whites compare. (I’ll put in a couple of continental just in case.)
Rockmelons and Watermelons – hard to fit in my garden. They have to be inside the fence or the turkeys get them. But if I plant the seeds in pots, I’ll have a month or so to find some room.
Beans: Blue Lake, Purple King, Madagascar, and Brown Seeded Snake beans, all seed saved from last year. This year I remembered to put some aside so we didn’t eat them all! I’ll put some Winged Beans in too, but not till next month. They are really tropical and need very warm soil. (Same really goes for the snake beans too).
That’s the basics. They’re all fresh seed so I sorted them first, so only the few I am planting go out to the shadehouse. I’m planting them all in seed trays and pots in the sunniest, warmest corner of the shadehouse in a mixture of creek sand and old compost, with a bit of wood ash from the stove (especially for the beans, who like it a bit alkali). The garden is still too full of broccoli and brussels sprouts to plant them out, and I want to lay down a deep mulch blanket before I plant out the seedlings. Spring is generally very dry here.
Today, I’ll see whether I have room for okra and gooseberries and tomatillos. I want to put in some luffas this year but maybe they can wait a bit. I’m thinking about sweet corn too. It’s very exciting!