The Urban Gardener: Harvest Moonshine
Saturday, October 11, 2014
The moon is a handy gardener’s guide. October’s Harvest Moon is key. Our gardens sink a bit, all life going to roots. All mulch in contact with soil teems with life. Gardeners assist nature, fallow. The full moon casts a spell that urges us to test the soil. Generally lands east of the Mississippi is on the acid side and more alkaline towards the Pacific. Most soils have a mid-range PH. Acid rain has declined in the Northeast. Before this basic science sounds too chemical, do not despair. Natural minerals and salts have improved horticulture since pre-history. The full moon in October is a good benchmark for applying slow acting, nil to very low run-off Dolomite lime, Ironite or other formulas with 2-0-2 mixtures to lawns, grasses and planting areas. The supplements will restore nutrients to our much bleached soils.
Gardeners can apply supplements with confidence whenever the garden is free of snow. The motive for spreading during the autumn is patience. Water is a powerful solvent. Rainfall is a complex stew of well- traveled aerosol particles drawn to gravity. Change is evident after every rain and savvy gardeners seize the opportunity. Err on the side of lean rather than fat and thoughtfully cast the supplements over the ground. There is a gentle beauty in casting. Breath deep. Handle your scoops full in easy arcs, spread your arms, pace yourself. Find rhythm. Move intently. Usually, the supplements are easy to discern. Proceed side to side until covered, then turn 90 degrees and repeat the process for full coverage.
Some gardeners rake in supplements. For those of us who keep a constant cover on the soil, it’s fine to simply let the materials sift through mulches. Rainwater will inevitably dissolve the minerals to the soil’s benefit. A near neutral ph naturally occurs in well drained, highly organic soils. Within a point or two of this range, a broad horizon of nutrients and micro-organisms thrive. Some specific areas are prone to a more extreme range in ph, for example any grounds close to conifers, such as the fine arbor vitae or spruce trees so common in cities. Indeed, plants self-select and adapt to many environments, the gardener’s charge is to guide. With our eyes on Spring’s far horizon, we spread limestone confident winter’s freeze and thaw cycle will percolate nutrients into the soil.
Sometimes it’s best to lift up from the day. The sun and moon rule. Earth gyroscopes away from the sun to point true north at the winter equinox, winter. Just as surely, the ever moving earth tilts towards the sun into spring. Far horizons away there is much promise. Start with spring bulbs.
- Urban Gardener: Summer Transplants Take Root
- The Urban Gardener: Strawberries and Chives for All
- Urban Gardener: Volunteers, Step Forward
- Urban Gardener: Summer Solstice Celebration
- Leonard Moorehead, The Urban Gardener: Oasis of Peace
- The Urban Gardener: Growing Herbs For The Kitchen + Heart
- Urban Gardener: Container Gardens
- Leonard Moorehead, The Urban Gardener: Peerless Pears
- Urban Gardener: Lettuce Among Us
- Urban Gardener: Cold Frames Save the Day
- The Urban Gardener: Cheerful Daffodils
- The Urban Gardener: Rise and Shine
- Urban Gardener: Raspberry Razzle Dazzle
- Urban Gardener: Presto, it’s Pesto!
- Urban Gardener: Grapes Triumphant
- Leonard Moorehead, The Urban Gardener: Harvesting Green Beans + Sunflowers
- Urban Gardener: Hot Peppers And Picante
- The Urban Gardener: Time To Harvest, Time To Plan
- The Urban Gardener: Some Like it Hot, Harvest Time
- Urban Gardener: Peerless Pears
- Urban Gardener: Dearest Peaches
- Urban Gardener: Small Fruits, Big Rewards
- Urban Gardener: Glory Days
- Urban Gardener: Sweet Summer Gardens
- Urban Gardener: Vacation Harvests
- Leonard Moorehead, The Urban Gardener: Infinity Beckons