I have decided to follow the moon calendar for real. I tried this before, but my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t like being told when to do things. Plant this week but not the next. What if I didn’t have plants to plant this week, but I do next week? Weed when the moon is aligned. What if it rains all week and I don’t feel like weeding? Maybe I feeling like seed raising then…It was all too much bother with its waxing and waning business that made no sense to me. Until someone gave me a 2017 garden diary that contained a lunar garden guide. Half the year had passed but the first week of the month was for planting I noted. Maybe I’ll give this a go. It seemed a bit easier all being mapped out for me. So I gathered the slips of things I wanted to plant. Bought some potted seedlings to get a head start, readied the seed raising trays with paper and mix. Tidied the plastic house bench. I did everything to prepare for the week of planting. I did everything, but plant.
I was so excited the week it started and happily wrote in the diary each night what I planted and noted when the seeds first popped up. The seedlings went into the beds. Peas straw tucked around their legs to keep them warm and to buffer the coming rains. If I saw some weeds I let them be and carried on with cuttings and transplanting. Suddenly the week was over and now I was supposed to be weeding.
I looked around and began to weed. You would never run out of spaces needing weeding here, but what was magic was that the weeds slipped from the earth as if through butter. I couldn’t believe the ease of pulling long dock roots, black ink plants taller than me and huge hemlock. All with forked tongues, no longer holding on to the earth. I doubled my work rate and weeded madly around edges and hedgerows, under shrubs and old bath tubs. It was incredible. “Of course it is, Anne at work said. The roots have let go as the plant sap rises”. How come I didn’t know this before? This is a revelation.
The problem with a garden ten times, or more the size of the average family garden, is the work load. A constant feeling that if I don’t keep at it, it will all grow to Africa, and then where will I be. Up shit creek is where, I can tell you. Everyone wants to make light of work and this definitely made a difference. I kept working.
I had a pile of pongas I had edged the chicken run with, that the damn hens were scratching away at underneath. I lugged them out again. That was a stupid idea I thought to myself as I stacked them up. Then I took the broken concrete out of the citrus grove that was supposed to reflect the warm sun up and make the citrus feel like they were in sunny Servile. Another stupid idea I had. Now I used them to edge the hen run to stop the hens escaping under the fence. Try scratching that out I told them.
Now is the time to rest, the diary informs me. Put your feet up and rest. OoooKay. I get out pencil and paper and make lists. I look at my pile of pongas and think a walkway will be cool. It could curve tantalizingly towards the centre of my small planted bush, leading the children straight to the middle and a native Puka tree with low, low branches that are easy to climb.
Then I walked around and around my citrus grove. Four trees had died after rabbits had chewed their roots and it was a nightmare to keep the whole area mulched, when suddenly a picture unfolded in my mind as I remembered a property on the Waiheke sculpture trail. I will reorganise my citrus grove and its nearly the right time to plant out that hedge I wanted to help create a Mediterranean micro climate so my citrus WILL think they are relaxing in sunny Spain, not wallowing in a swamp, with a clay pan preventing their feet from drying out.
I perused the books on hedge ideas and spotted a bay hedge. Wow! I have a whole bucket of Laurus Nobilis Mum started. I nipped outside to check if they were still alive and there they were thriving in an old bucket. Good on ya Mum I whispered as I counted out eighteen, foot high Bay Tree plants. I grabbed a piece of paper and soon had a plan. A pathway will curve around the citrus trees and I will fill the centre with Lavenders, Rosemary, Thyme, Camomile, Santolina and edge the pathway with Lemon Balm and Peppermint which will be a mown track. If the peppermint strays too far into the path it will simply be mown. I might even slip in some marigolds and other annuals. Each tree will have a mulched circle at its base so fruit won’t be lost. OMG I’m so excited about this. I search though my odd bits and pieces I have been propagating and find I have got almost everything I need.
I plant the new citrus trees and ring each tree with chicken wire. I check day after day after day, and so far no rabbit damage. Gilbert’s knocked a few of them off and Adrian next door tells me I’m not to worry if I hear him shooting. He’s catching them sitting in circles in broad daylight on his lawn, as if they’re having a meeting. “I’ll never point it at your place he assures me”. I’m hoping between them the rabbits will decide to move on.
It’s like all the pests have moved to our place. There’s a group working hard locally to make our area pest free and I can’t help but feel we are letting the side down badly. On the other hand while not everyone liked my rat story, I did get some positive comments. Better to be doing something than nothing, that’s for sure!
Now back to the moon. What’s she doing this week. . .