20 March 2020

With New Zealanders now facing uncertain times in the face of Covid-19, we thought we might dedicate this blog post to positive action.

Yesterday I read this article on the Stuff website about a rush on vegetable seedlings in our garden centres. I thought, if many more people are now wanting to grow their own food, maybe we could help them grow them well and organically.

And if some of us, maybe eventually all of us, have to self-isolate, well we’ll need something to do to keep our bodies and minds active (as well as fed). And I couldn’t think of a better activity for the whole family than setting up a food garden.

Usually, as those of you who follow us regularly know, we would observe the moon phases with regard to sowing and planting vegetables. But, if you’re one of those people who has just bought vegetable seedlings for the first time, or the first time in a while, then you’ll be wanting to plant a vegetable garden all in one go. If you’re already on the path and have a food garden in place, then maybe you could pass this blog post on to someone who would benefit from it.

So, WHAT do you sow and plant right now?

Leafy greens – Iceberg lettuces and Cos lettuces (warmer areas), kale, broccoli (heading or sprouting), cauliflower, cabbage, silverbeet, spinach (English or perpetual), celery, Asian greens (bok choy, tat soi, mizuna) – sow from seed or grow from seedlings.

Legumes – peas (snow, sugar snap, shell out), broad beans – sow from seed.

Root crops – beetroot, carrot, Florence fennel, radish, turnips, daikon – sow from seed (although beetroot and fennel can be planted from seedlings).

HOW do you grow these crops?

For success, you’ll need:

* Some bags of compost
* A nitrogen fertiliser – well-rotted chicken manure is great, sheep pellets also good (for the leafy greens)
* A general fertiliser that has potassium and phosphorus as well as nitrogen – we recommend Natures Organic Fertiliser (for everything)
* Garden lime (for the legumes)
* Hoops and netting to keep white butterflies, birds, cats, dogs and rabbits at bay!

If you’re growing from seed, can we recommend this blog post to you. Ignore the fact that it’s tomatoes we’re sowing – the principles of seed sowing are the same.

Remember not to sow too many seeds – just as many plants as you’ll need for your family. If you use good practices, you’ll get a 95% germination rate.

When it comes to transplanting, you can put your plants into individual pots to grow them on or jiffy pots.

For success with planting specific crops, can we recommend these videos and blog posts to you:

Asian greens

Broad beans

Carrots (don’t sow parsnips now)
Beetroot, turnips, daikon
Florence fennel

How to make hoops

Don’t forget to plant flowers in your food garden. Bees and beneficial insects need them for food – they’re an integral part of the ecosystem you’re creating. See this list for suitable flowers for autumn and winter.

Then sign up for our newsletter for regular information and inspiration, as we follow the natural rhythm of the moon phases and seasons of nature in our garden.

Buy one of our calendars which are half price now, so you can determine what you want to grow in your garden going forward.

Consider Microgreens They grow on your windowsill. Buy one of our Growing Kits.

Many Farmers’ Markets plan to stay open because they realise people need access to fresh healthy food. And we need to support our local food producers. See our Home Page for a list of Farmers’ Markets round the country.

If you’re interested in how the world may have become the victim of one virus, here’s an interesting article from The Guardian.

And lastly, a couple of inspirational pieces I’ve read lately:

The first on Deepak Chopra’s FB page by a Kitty O’Meara – her origin appears unknown:

And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, (other renditions of this piece add: and grew gardens full of fresh food) and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply.
Some meditated, some prayed, some danced.
Some met their shadows.
And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed.
And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.

And the second is from a Dr Lindsay Jernigan, from Vermont, USA:

Try this perspective shift.
Instead of seeing “social distancing” and travel bans as panic, try seeing them as acts of mass co-operation intended to protect the collective whole.
This plan is not about individuals going into hiding.
It’s a global deep breath… an agreement between humans around the planet to be still.
Be still, in hopes that the biggest wave can pass without engulfing too many of the vulnerable amongst us.

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG – arohanui.

8 Responses

  1. Thank you for another newsletter full of practical ideas especially found the flowers to plant helpful. I have had so much pleasure watching the bees in my vegie garden collecting pollen from the sunflowers brocolli gone to seed and cosmos this summer.

  2. Thank you dear Jan, a wonderful newsletter….and spot on!
    May all the good things covid19 is bringing, become more and more clear.

  3. Happy to have found your website. Living in Fiji but able to put your advice to good use here. Looking forward to the April moon planting calendar page.
    Stay healthy, stay strong.

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