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Roots and Perennials Planting in Early Autumn

My planting calendar is on my case. It’s not even up on the wall yet (I told you it’s been a busy start to the year) and already it’s on my case.

There’s a roots and perennials planting break this weekend, and through until Tuesday afternoon.  I only half believe that plants pay any attention at all to a lunar planting calendar. But humans are another matter. We’ve been away for the weekend, and just got home.  I have a big day at work tomorrow and won’t get home till late. I might (hopefully) get a little time on Tuesday, but there’s a serious risk that it will be next weekend before I get out into the garden to do much more than picking. Oh, and I just remembered, we might have guests next weekend.

And garlic needs to go in.

The garlic really needs to go in, and it won’t be nice and understanding about how both my (young adult) kids, who live a few hours drive away, have birthdays this time of year so it was a good occasion for an extended family dinner, or how work is hectic at the moment, or how I have a really good book I’d love to get into this afternoon.

Gardens are polite, quiet, undemanding, and utterly implacable.  Garlic and onions are day length sensitive, and I have only a narrow window of opportunity to plant and absolutely nothing I can do to alter the day length.  Further south it isn’t quite so pressing. You have a longer window of opportunity and more choice in varieties. Here in northern NSW, the midsummer days are much shorter than they are in the more temperate climates that onions and garlic are really adapted for.  I have to choose my variety carefully, choosing short and medium daylength varieties, and I only get a few months to plant them.

If I want to stagger the planting a bit so as to give me some insurance if weather or pests wipe out one round, they need to start going in now.

I have all the resources I need – aged compost, creek sand left from the recent floods, some space in the shadehouse after last weekend’s clearout,  seed garlic saved from last year’s crop along with some I’ve got from friends and other local gardeners –  so it won’t take long. This afternoon I am planting about 70 cloves of garlic. With another 70 next month that will give me a year’s supply with some for gifting and some for next year’s seed.  One clove per pot, pointy side up, using the standard system of planting things as deep as their own diameter.  Each clove will yield a corm.

I’m also planting a box of Hunter River Brown onions, and one of Lockyer Gold.  Hopefully I’ll get some time before Tuesday arvo to put in another round of carrots, spring onions, parsnips and beetroots too. The planting calendar is nagging me about them too. If I put in just one small box of each every month, I have a nice staggered planting and a continuous supply.

Bossy old calendar. See, I’ve done it. Ok?

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts March 11, 2012, 7:19 pm

    Garlic is clearly more demanding than I ever gave it credit for! Which makes me think it’s unlikely to be a vegetable I grow…congratulations on getting yours in.

  • Gillian March 12, 2012, 9:09 am

    I also decided to give this moon planting thing a try, and ducked out between rainstorms to plant out some carrots and radishes.

  • Gavin March 12, 2012, 5:02 pm

    Hi Linda,

    A bit further south, I am going to pop mine in the ground in April. I too have saved the biggest bulbs for planting from last years crop.

    One question, do you leave your garlic in those pots until harvesting? Just wondering how you grow them.

    Gav x

  • Linda Woodrow March 12, 2012, 7:39 pm

    Hi Gav,
    the leaf pots are my new favourite. They’re just a leaf from a decorative plant I have growing near the front steps, rolled around my hand and fastened with a twig. There’s a clearer description and picture here: http://witcheskitchen.com.au/leafy-planting-in-late-winter/. The plant needs pruning a lot, and one time, I thought, I can use these. My old system used to be 2 litre plastic milk containers cut down, but since my son has grown up I no longer have an unlimited supply of milk containers (not easily anyhow). These are better because they are biodegradable. They are tubes. By the time they are ready to plant out, the potting mix will hold together because of the roots. I shall just dig a little hole and put pot and all in it. The pot has no bottom, so the roots can grow down with no impediment, and the tube itself will rot out.

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