April Gardening Guide

[h4]TROPICAL climate[/h4]

Zone 0: Time to sort the seeds you’ve been saving in the crisper of your fridge. Sort them into date order and plant the oldest first.  You can still order seeds by mail-order and they will be with you in a few days.

Zone 1: Now is the best time to plant the dry season vegetables. These include all the European style annuals. If you live in an area that gets a frost or two then you can try brussel sprouts and other vegetables which are really only at their best after a good frost to sweeten them. Organising the vegetables into the square foot gardening method as devised by Mel Bartholomew is a good way to only plant what you need for when you need it. This needs a little bit of planning and restraint. It’s easy to get carried away with the planting and end up with 25 cucumbers a week to give away or 10 cauliflower all mature together rather than 10 cauliflower spread over the season.

Zone 2: Sweet corn, pumpkin and peas can be planted now and together in the same area.  One of the ways to prepare this area is to dig out a shallow square and then fill it with the scraps, grass cuttings and manure putting in enough to make a mound when covered with the original soil. The mound can be planted into and the seeds will germinate and grow as the contents break down and release the nutrients.

Zone 3: Harvest fruit as required and check the livestock. Monstera or fruit salad plant is fruiting at the moment so it’s time to harvest last year’s crop when they start to show separations between the segments near the stem. Put them in a paper bag to ripen. These need to be properly ripe before they can be eaten. If unripe, the little hairs will irritate the mouth and lips. To eat remove the outer segments of the casing and then eat the luscious flesh off the centre core.

Zone 4: Harvest the comfrey for the mulch and chook food. Now is a good time to hang bunches up in an airy place to dry for dry season reserves for the poultry.

Zone 5: Trim trees if they have been blown around with the strong winds or are overhanging the road and parking areas.

Kathleen Hosking

[h4]WARM TEMPERATE climate[/h4]

Zone 0: We are setting up the sprouts jars to keep a the supply of healthy bright greens, picking and hanging tea herbs such as peppermint, spearmint, stinging nettle, hibiscus, aniseed and lemon myrtle. We will dry them and enjoy over winter. The chillies are in full swing and are easy to store in vinegar.  Now that the heat waves have subsided, it is a good time to start the livelier ferments such as ginger beer.

Zone 1:  The grape vine is sleepy and the once rampant growth can be trimmed back. Winter vegetables can be slotted into the intensive garden beds using the zucchini and tomato stems left after their die-back as protective structure against heavy rain. We keep all the roots of old crops in place to help protect our soft compost layers. We simply trim the tops of plants to let new plants push through.

Zone 2: The last of the chicks are hatching, the worm farms are busy gobbling weeds and potato peelings and grape leaves because most of the family scraps go to the poultry.

Zone 3: The pumpkins and melons are heavy and it is time to let the chickens in to clear out any soft weeds.

Zone 4: Now is the time to prepare fuel for winter and let it dry. We cut large branches, cut them green into management pieces, prop them to dry. When dry we cut them with a drop saw directly into metal bins and take this indoors, http://www.permaculturevisions.com/easy-fuel-for-your-fire/

Zone 5: Remove vines from new plantings and now that the heat has gone we start planting out native tree seedlings that were removed from the intensive beds in summer and nursed along ready to replant later.

April Sampson-Kelly

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