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Leafy Planting Days in Late Autumn

Late autumn! Already!

In just a couple of days it will be Halloween in the southern hemisphere – the traditional festival marking the point when the day length levels out again, and we start the 3 month period of short days. The days will slowly shorten now until the shortest day of the midwinter solstice, then slowly lengthen again until the beginning of August.

I’m not a winter lover. I try, but it’s hard to appreciate cold and even harder when it’s wet too.  I live in northern NSW where the climate is really mild, and still I don’t like winter. My garden doesn’t mind it. Winter is actually a really good growing season here, especially for leafy greens. The hard part is getting them in.

Yesterday was a leafy planting day, but it was cold and wet all day. I lit the slow combustion stove in the morning and spent the day baking and playing in the kitchen, trying to ignore all these lovely young kale and cauliflowers and silver beet and spinach and broccoli and lettuces, ready to plant out and itching to get their roots down into the nice, fresh, newly chook cleared garden bed that is waiting for them.

Today is cold and wet again. I could boot myself out into the garden, but the soil is so wet, it will compact really easily if I walk on it and it won’t be good for planting into anyway.  Luckily they are planted in a rich potting mix with lots of compost and worm castings.  They should be right to hang in there till next weekend.  The days are so short now that planting after work in the evening isn’t an option any more.

Their little sisters are in the seed raising trays, and they’re more likely to suffer from lack of nutrients. The seed raising mix is designed to be fairly nutrient poor,  designed for germinating seeds not feeding seedlings. It is half and half creek sand for drainage and half old dry cow pats mown to a fine texture for water holding. The seeds I planted last month are at the two leaf stage and need to be potted on into something more nutrient rich to grow on into the advanced seedlings I like for planting out.

I have silver beet, cauliflowers,  kale, leeks, lettuce, parsley, spinach, celery, coriander, rocket, raddichio, cabbage and broccoli to pot on – just a few of each . So I shall try to use a gap in the showers to do a half an hour in the shadehouse potting on seedlings and call that a day in the garden.  I like the lunar calendar, but I’m not a slave to it.