VV CALENDAR - February 2016
The heatwaves are easing but February weather is still warm.
We trust that you’re harvesting so many tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers that your kitchen has turned into a salad restaurant! 
Sadly, the summer planting frenzy is over now, and with shorter days and cooler weather on the horizon, we’re shifting our thinking to winter planting in February.
Dill is a lovely companion herb that we use alongside brassicas.  We’ve found it useful for deterring cabbage butterflies from kale and brassicas and when planted early enough, it grows high to tower over them for the ultimate protection.  Your dill will also attract beneficial wasps and insects.
Dill is a member of the parsley family.  It’s quite easy to grow, and takes minimal amount of attention. It doesn't need too much water and seems to do better if it's kept on the dry side. Fertilizing is unnecessary for dill. The only concern is support for the stems if the plant is not located in a protected spot. If exposed to any sort of wind the tall and fine stems should be staked to keep the stalks upright.  It has a taproot similar to a carrot.  Once established it will self seed over and over again, however it is short lived so you’ll need to make successive sowings.
In the kitchen dill is very under-rated.  It has a strongly fragrant flavour, a combination of fennel, anise and celery which is perfect to spice up potatoes, fish, eggs, yoghurt, dips, and lots more.  Snip off the thin fresh ends for recipes with fresh dill and the plant will get bushier.
February Pests
Powdery mildew is notorious for infecting a lot of zucchini, pea, cucumber and pumpkin vines during summer.  Remove the infected leaves as soon as they appear.
White cabbage butterfly larvae (caterpillars) – see our November 2015 Biogardening article for some tips on how to deal with them.  Try some sticky traps available from nurseries or from Green Harvest.
Slugs and snails are still munching in the wee hours of the night.  Copper wire around seedlings is the best protection until the plants are established.  Or try some roughly chopped eggshells.  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.
Birds – the best protection is netting, or try making a scarecrow.
February Planting
You can sow the following veggie seeds direct into your soil or into seed trays during February:
Beans, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Carrots, Cauliflowers, Celery, Endive, Fennel, Kale, Lettuces, Oriental leaves, Pak Choi, Parsnips, Potatoes, Radishes, Rocket, Spinach, Spring Onions, Sprouting Broccoli, Swedes, Swiss chard, Turnips.
Herbs: Basil, Borage, Coriander, Chervil, Dill, French or Mexican Tarragon, Lovage, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Thyme.
Happy planting.
LAST QUARTER (waning moon)
Monday 1 February at 1.57 pm
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.
Tuesday 9 February at 1.08am
From the new moon to the first quarter is the best time to sow or plant your leafy greens like lettuces, spinach, cabbages, and herbs etc.
Mow your lawn and transplant rhubarb during this phase.
FIRST QUARTER (waxing moon)
Monday 15 February at 6.16pm
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 crops that fruit above the ground such as beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower etc.  It's still OK to plant leafy greens and lettuces during this time as well.
Tuesday 23 February at 4.49am
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 potatoes, carrots, onions, radishes, beetroot, parsnips and turnips.
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