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VV CALENDAR - August 2015
 
August can be even colder than June and July but it’s an exciting month in the garden with lots of planning and preparing for the spring season.  Spread compost or well-rotted manure over your soil and either dig it in or leave it as a top layer to encourage worm activity.
If you want to get ahead with your planting, start growing your spring/summer seeds now (capsicum, cucumber, pumpkin, sweetcorn, tomato and zucchini) under some glass or in a hothouse.
 
Rhubarb
 
As a teenager in the 1970’s I’ll never forget following advice from Dolly magazine and dying my hair with a potion made by boiling up the roots of my mum’s Rhubarb plant.  It was supposed to make my hair golden.  It didn’t work and it dried out my hair like straw for months.
Mum wasn’t happy. 
Rhubarb has an ‘old fashioned’ reputation, but I’ve noticed a lot of fancy restaurants serving it up lately. Although it is normally sweetened and used like a fruit, it is actually a vegetable, rich in Vitamins A and C and calcium.
 
Rhubarb is native to Siberia and the Himalayas and was originally cultivated for medicinal purposes as a purgative long before its culinary properties were discovered. 
An herbaceous perennial plant, it does best in cooler regions, and will produce stalks for many years without too much attention.  Be careful though, the leaves are poisonous, and the roots don’t do much for your hair, but the red/green stalks are magic when roasted gently or steamed with a bit of honey, vanilla, apple or ginger.
 
To harvest rhubarb, pull the thickest, healthiest stalks off gently – don’t cut them and leave a stub and don’t take more than half the stalks from any one plant.
August Harvesting
 
In August, citrus fruit is ripening and you’ll be harvesting lots of brassicas, kale, leeks, radishes, root vegetables, spinach, lettuces and potatoes.
 
August Pests
 
Caterpillars are around so simply pluck them out of the veggie patch every morning and relocate them.

Slugs and snails are out in force too.  Protect your plants by placing some roughly chopped eggshells around them.  The critters don’t like the sharp edges.  A very simple snail trap is a bowl of beer or wine mixed with water.  Place it with the rim 1 or 2 cm above the ground to drown them.  Sugar water (5% sugar solution) is also highly effective, as is diluted cordial.  Empty your traps daily into the compost or chook run.
 
Remove dead yellowing leaves from your brassicas. 
If they rot on the plant they can spread mould and downy mildew.
 
August Planting
 
Last chance to plant bare-rooted fruit and nut trees, grape vines and berry bushes, as their roots will begin to move later this month.
It’s time to plant strawberries too.
Weather depending, you can plant peas (cover the soil with plastic after planting to warm it up), onions, shallots, turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, also the early varieties of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
Sow seeds for your spring lettuces now.
Buy your potato chits by the end of August and leave them to shoot in a dark place.
 
Happy planting.
 
VV LUNATIC GARDENING
LAST QUARTER (waning moon)
Friday 7 August at 11.32am
The week of the last quarter is the barren moon phase and is best used to attend to your soil, apply mulch and manure teas, make compost, remove weeds, and dig over the ground.
 
NEW MOON
Saturday 15 August at 12.23am
From the new moon to the first quarter is the best time to sow or plant your leafy greens like lettuces, spinach, cabbages, parsley etc.
Mow your lawn and transplant rhubarb during this phase.
 
FIRST QUARTER (waxing moon)
Sunday 23 August at 5.01am
From the new moon through to the full moon sap flow is increased in the above ground parts of plants.
During the first quarter to the full moon, plant your winter crops that fruit above the ground such as broad beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  It's still OK to plant leafy greens and lettuces during this time as well.
 
FULL MOON
Sunday 30 August at 4.05am
From the full moon to the last quarter is the waning moon when the sap flow in plants is more concentrated in the root area and lower in the foliage so its the best time to plant your winter root crops: carrots, onions, radishes, beetroot, parsnips and turnips etc...
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