GROW: New Moon Planting

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For Christmas I was gifted with a sensational growing tray for my start-up garden! It has lots of little spaces for planting my seeds, a nice big domed lid so that I have (a little more) control over the growing conditions of my seedlings, and air vents to (help) adjust the humidity!

How much Mother Nature actually allows me to temper her dramatic swings up here in the tropics is yet to be seen!

I have been eager to plant my seeds and get my garden up and fruiting, however some previous failures have me doing a little more research and being a little more patient. For a start my green-thumbed neighbour (the one that has a rooftop garden, a water feature that is home to gorgeous green tree frogs, flowers going mad, tomatoes up the wall…) mentioned that I should only plant new things between the new moon and the full moon…. hmmm.

Now having a mother with horticultural background I have encountered this before. I have seen many a “moon planting” guide in my time, yet I have never really taken the time to understand what it all means!

A quick search and read reveals quite an array of information taken both from traditional and indigenous farming methods used for thousands of years, and more recent scientific investigations which serve to back up the empirical knowledge! Very interesting!!! I’ll do some more investigating and get back to you with more on this one!

In any case yesterday I was blessed with a day off that is a few days after the new moon (I can see the crescent, yes), no plans other than home-stay lounging, and a cool, grey day in which I could sit quietly with my seeds and not suffer hot soil, burning sun, or steaming humidity!! Perfect!!

Armed with my seed raising tray, a pot of soil that I had been turning over (while I waited) and aerating, (mixed with a little of our beach sand as the previous time I used this potting mix it got quite damp and wasn’t as free-draining as I would’ve liked, – thought I’d try an improvisation!!), and my new expanded cache of Christmas seeds it was FINALLY time to get down to business!

I filled each of the little squares up with potting/ sand mix, and spread out the seeds to see what I had. I decided the easiest route was to keep things neat and let them hang out with their brethren for a while. One row of capsicum (peppers), one row of tomatoes, one row of lettuce/ salad greens, one row of other veggies, and then my random selection!

The seeds were easy enough. Many of them have sowing instructions on the back and are no more complicated than making a little well about 5mm deep in the mix, dropping them in, and covering them over! Once the tray was complete I got a spray bottle of water and gave them all a good spritz! I decided on this approach because previously the rather large water drops that come from a watering can, or a glass seem to disrupt the soil a little too much for my liking, especially given that some of the seeds are so tiny!!!!

I really need to do some more research on the seeds themselves though. Some of them were obvious as to collection and re-seeding. Tomato, capsicum, chilli, and zucchini seeds for example are all safely tucked away inside the fruit. It’s a matter of growing them, harvesting, and when you chop them, retaining some of the seeds for re-planting! Other varieties I’m at a loss for. Lettuce seeds? What part of the lettuce growing process have I been forever cut off to that I don’t seem to register the seeds??? It looks like I’m set to learn a lot from this process too!!

Once I was finished I had a very organised, very professional looking seed tray staring back at me! Neat squares of soil, straight markers labelling each spot, it was very Type A for my usually Type B method of rogue gardening!

On that note actually I wanted to put it my two cents worth in regard to cheap planting….

I have personally purchased different seed varieties, I have been gifted with other seeds also, but I always have a container in which I collect seeds from the produce that I buy. It just makes sense. I buy LOCAL ORGANIC produce, which tells me right away that these seeds were grown successfully in local conditions and without the use of any pesticides, herbicides, growth promoters or other nasties that could make thier way into the seed. The seeds are right there, so rather than throw them away, or eat them all (seeds are highly nutritious and full of goodies!), I save a few and plant them where I can. On this occasion I planted a few lemon seeds, chilli seeds, capsicum seeds, a native tree berry of some description, and a peanut butter fruit(?!?!?!) That’s what I was told it was called, it had the consistency of PB in the mouth and not far off the taste (for a fruit) albeit without the saltiness!!! Very interesting!! I haven’t planted the avocado seed yet though…. I think it needs a little more room!!!

So here’s my big tip for affordable organic gardening…. If you can’t afford to buy organic produce all the time (and trust me I understand how expensive it CAN be, I’m just very fortunate that where I live, it isn’t!!!) try buying just one thing each week that IS organic, thoroughly enjoy it, and replant the seeds!! Buy a couple of organic tomatoes this week, and in a month or two you’ll have more organic tomatoes than you know what to do with!! Then next week, try something else, plant it, and enjoy the fruits of your labour long after the grocery bill hits the trash!

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