So how did things go for you in the garden last month? Take notes (if you don’t already) on what seems to have worked for you and what didn’t really fly, it’s the best way to know your garden better, all our gardens are different!
You can feel Autumn in the air now hey, especially in the mornings… For March or Poutūterangi, the tenth month of the Māori year; Kua hauhake te kai, the crops are now taken up.
Poutūterangi, the tenth month of the Māori year, begins on the night of the New Moon (Whiro), this year that is the 13th March. I follow the Ātiawa version of Maramataka.
Please take mind that these are not hard and fast rules by any means, take into consideration your climate and what the weather is doing. You know your garden best and this ain’t gospel! If you have not read anything of mine regarding Maramataka I recommend you read this article here.
Whiro, 13th March
On the first day of the New Moon it’s a time to just admire your garden (which is probably looking a little scraggly by now!) rather than do any work on it.
But from the next day (Tirea) til the First Quarter (Tamatea whakapau, 22 March), mulch, prepare, compost and manure your garden beds for winter planting.
Seeds to sow are the same as last month, winter veg such as cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, kale, lettuce, onions (warm areas), silverbeet and chard. Celery, miners lettuce (if it hasn’t self sown) corn salad and peas. Not just edible peas but flowering sweet peas too. Other flowers to sow are calendula, heartease (violas), chamomile, hollyhocks, sweet william, forget-me-nots, columbine + verbascum.
The way our moon shows itself is slightly different each month, sometimes first quarter can come 6 days after the New Moon, often 7 (average is actually 7.4 days), sometimes 9 days, as is the case with this month (a clear explanation of the lunar phases can be found here on Wikipedia). Which makes it quite hard to be really specific about what night is called what and have it line up with what the Moon is doing. So I’m being a little generalistic this month. Back in the days of old when this happened some nights were omitted, Huna (the 11th night) being the first to go. To read more about how bloody confusing it can be and the different variations depending on what iwi was making the calls, have a go at reading this article here courtesy of Victoria University.
Lesson over, carrying on!
Tamatea angaanga, 19th March
If it’s a dry day, today is a good day to harvest your culinary herbs to dry for winter flavour – and any other produce you want to keep. Main crop potatoes, drying beans, pumpkins (but only if the pumpkin stem is browning). Dry herbs in a dark warm place, hot water cupboards are perfect for small quantities.
Māwharu, 24th March
Good day for planting out your annuals, anything that you’re not growing to be able to store at a later date.. Most winter crops are for eating in the here and now so you’re good to go.
Three days before the Full Moon (the 27th) is a great time to foliar and root feed any plants that are established and have more growth to do.
Rākanui + Rākaumatohi, 30th (day after Full Moon) + 31st March
Full Moon energy a go-go! A good day to plant plants out ~ especially root veges like carrot, beetroot, parsnips, turnips and swedes. Get those spring bulbs in.
Tangaroa piri a mua, 4th April (start of the Last Quarter period)
Another nine day period between Last Quarter and New Moon, but we stop work in the māra (garden) on the 9th April (Mauri) three days before the New Moon.
- Last chance saloon for a lot of us (especially in colder areas) to do seed sowing for the winter/spring garden.
- Transplant and weed
- Harvest! Harvest! Harvest! Exciting times, yes, we grow our gardens to to pick and eat straight away but the real beauty is when you’re able to harvest and then store or or process our produce to eat during the scarce winter months and the ironically even scarcer spring time months. Nicola Galloway has some beautiful preserving recipes if you need any inspiration.
- Remember to save seed from your best growers, here’s how to save tomato seed.
- If it’s been dry check your young fruit trees and shallow rooted trees like citrus and feijoa, any subtropicals (lucky people!), water, mulch again if necessary.
- Clean up your gooseberries, currants + raspberries and finish off the pruning of your stone fruit.
Mauri, 9th April
The Moon is retreating, sit back and look at your work, take note of any lessons you’ve learnt. Those of us in cold climates, hate to say it, but look at getting your frost cloths etc sorted (if it’s not too late 🤞).