E W Howe is apparently an American Author – no I don’t know what they wrote, nor have I managed to look it up. Feel free to educate me in the comments below if you want!
You would have seen by now that I love a quote to set the scene of a situation. It’s quite interesting to look them up and find one that is relevant to my musings at the time. As I am about to talk about autumn sowings then I felt the above was pretty apt as you do have to take advantage of what the weather is doing at the time and not worry too much if it the right thing to do. Yes, we may get severe frosts this year, we may get a cold wet spring but also the weather is set good at the moment so hopefully my new seeds will get off to a good start.
So as my previous blog outlined, this year’s annuals have all but gone. But actually this is not strictly true, I still have a good row of daucus (My little favourite!) Some cleome (Nasty thorns – but actually I will save seed! – give it a chance). Sunflowers still to flower (fingers crossed) and cosmos taking over the polytunnel! Considering its October in a couple of days I am still impressed with the return from a few annual seeds.
Of course I want the flower patch to work even harder next year so I am kicking off my autumn sowings. By direct sowing half hardy annuals you can hope to get seeds germinating and putting down a good root system ahead of the winter. This will pull them through the hard months and mean they are a bit stronger and ahead of the game come next spring. The result: earlier, stronger blooms available from April and May.
These last couple of weeks have rewarded us with beautiful weather for late September (thank you!) so have managed to clear, dig and rake over the beds all dedicated for autumn sowing and of course spring bulbs. But what I hadn't realised at the time – so therefore not planned that way – was the current moon phrases. Do you know about lunar gardening? Well Google it as I'm not going into the nitty gritty here but basically Ute York, in her book "Living by the Moon" says
“The old-time gardeners say, "With the waxing of the moon, the earth exhales.” When the sap in the plants rise, the force first goes into the growth above ground. Thus, you should do all activities with plants that bear fruit above ground during a waxing moon. With the waning of the moon, the earth inhales. Then, the sap primarily goes down toward the roots. Thus, the waning moon is a good time for pruning, multiplying, fertilizing, watering, harvesting, and controlling parasites and weeds”
These same forces affect the water content of the soil, creating more moisture in the soil at the time of the new and full moon. This increased moisture encourages the seeds to sprout and grow. So hopefully I was spot on in my sowing last weekend.
This weekend I also managed to make good headway in the planting of 250 bulbs I had ordered! As the ‘Synodic period of the full moon’ (!) is a good time to sow bulbs (The gravitational pull drives the sap and goodness down through the bulbs) I am very hopeful of an impressive display of anemones du Caen, muscari and paperwhites come next spring.
But in the words of Margaret Mitchell, another American author…..