Different time zones

The times for Moon phase changes on the right hand panel of this blog are Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which only applies to the east coast of Australia, and the phase will change at a different time in central or western Australia, or in other southern hemisphere countries.
As converting AEST to local time zones can be confusing for gardeners, I have added a link to a Time Converter to the Moon Planting widget to make it easier. Just follow the instructions in the Moon Planting widget.

Try it out here: Time Converter

Spring equinox 2010

What is an equinox? It is a time when day and night are of equal length, and tomorrow (23rd of September) is the Spring Equinox in the southern hemisphere. Our equinoxes are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere.
There are two equinoxes each year – one around the 23rd or 24th of September and the other on 21st of March – our Fall Equinox. After the Spring Equinox the days get longer until around our Summer Solstice on, or around the 22nd of December, then days become gradually shorter.
Some cultures think that the Spring Equinox has a special significance for planting. However, at least a third of the time the spring equinox occurs when the Moon is in a ‘barren sign’, or at New or Full Moon, which are not good times for sowing seeds.
Tomorrow’s equinox occurs on a Full Moon, so wait until after 7:20 am AEST on 24th before you sow root crops or plant perennials.

Perfect Christmas gift

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for someone who enjoys gardening?

EasyOrganic_cover.inddThe new edition of my book, ‘Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting‘ would be an excellent choice. This book is not just about growing food – all your garden will benefit from organic cultivation. It has 500 pages packed with easy-to-follow guides and secrets on how to maintain good health in your whole garden so that all your plants become naturally pest and disease resistant, and more tolerant of climate change while saving water.
The monthly gardening diary of what to do when for all climate zones can be used with or without moon planting, and there are spaces in the diary for you to add personal notes and reminders. For more information about this book, see: Recommended reading.

Cara at WAHMania has a small quantity of stock and, for Australian orders placed before this Friday, books will be sent by Express Post to ensure that they arrive in time for Christmas. To order merely click on the ‘Buy the book’ panel on the right hand side of this page.

Winter pruning

A Full Moon phase during winter is a good time to prune most deciduous plants. From 19th of this month is a good time to prune dormant trees and vines that tend to bleed (weep sap) if pruned in late winter. These include grapes, kiwi fruit, mulberry, birch, conifers, frangipani, maple and poplar. Pecans, which bleed readily and require minimal pruning, are best pruned during Last Quarter phase (from June 26th) when sap flow is lowest. Almonds should also be pruned early in winter because they flower earlier than other Prunus species. Other deciduous fruit trees can be pruned in winter with the exception of apricots and cherries. These trees are prone to bacterial canker if pruned when sap flow is low and cuts are slow to heal. Young apricot and cherry trees can be pruned in spring during First Quarter phase, and mature trees pruned after harvest during a Full Moon phase. Deciduous fruit trees grown for spring flowers rather than fruit are pruned during a First Quarter phase, after flowering.
It is a good idea to keep a container of methylated spirits with you when pruning and regularly wipe the blades of your pruning tools to avoid the risk of spreading and bacteria or fungal spores from one plant to another.

Pruning roses
In most areas, bush roses can be pruned during a Full Moon phase in winter, after they become dormant. If you have removed dead wood, suckers and crossed branches during the growing season, little winter pruning will be required. Where frosts are common, or rose canker (dieback) has been a problem, it is better to prune bush roses as late as possible – at the first sign of new growth when sap flow is higher. Then prune, with slanting cuts, during First Quarter phase to encourage strong growth. This will help reduce dieback because the fungus that causes rose canker lives on rose thorns. Roses are more susceptible to infection by this fungus when sap flow is slow and pruning cuts heal slowly. Careful pruning is the only way to avoid dieback, as there is no treatment for the fungus.
Climbing roses that are floribunda or hybrid tea sports can be pruned at the same time as bush roses, but climbers that only flower in spring are pruned before a Full Moon, after flowering.

Full Moon and cauliflower?

It is not surprising that some people don’t take moon planting seriously when TV commercials make statements like “the increased light of the Full Moon has hastened maturation of cauliflowers”.
All vegetables are exposed to light from Full Moons. Maturity times for different varieties of cauliflower vary from 11- 26 weeks, so the slower growing ones would be exposed to more Full Moons than the faster-growing varieties. In fact, radishes, which are sown after the Full Moon, can mature in a month, and would be exposed to the least amount of Full Moon light.
I thought the statement may have been based on the Moon being in Perigee (closest part of its orbit to Earth) and the reflected light from the Full Moon being slightly stronger. However, the only time the Full Moon was near perigee this year was back in January. Cauliflowers require cold weather to form the curd, and the coldest weather normally occurs when the days are shortest and the plants are exposed to less sunlight. It is more likely that the cooler temperatures this year have assisted the early maturation of cauliflowers, and that TV ad doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.