May Garden Guide
(Cover image credit: The Raw Food World)
What to Plant in May?
- There is still time to plant all the Asian greens including the mustard leaves like komatsuna, , Chinese cabbage, basil, beans of all sorts except those that require really cold weather like broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum and chilli, carrot, cauliflower in a cold part of the garden, celery, chives, coriander, cucumber, dill, eggplant, endive and radicchio, English spinach, fennel, Mediterranean herbs, Jerusalem artichoke in a tub, kale, kohlrabi, leek, all the different lettuces, melons, okra, onion, parsley, peas and snow peas, pumpkin, radish including daikon, rocket, silverbeet, spring onion, sweet corn, tomato, zucchini and squash.
- Rigorously weed the asparagus patch. Remove any dead fronds. Leave any still growing as they are feeding the roots. Cover with a thick layer of compost and organic manures and cover this with a thick layer of mulch. If the weather stays warm the spears can still be harvested occasionally. Asparagus grows well in the tropics but can get exhausted if not fed well twice a year.
- The weeds are still growing so keep harvesting for composting under the nearest fruit tree.
- Mark the locations of ginger, turmeric, and Javanese turmeric, sand ginger and Chinese keys before the vegetation dies off. This allows you to protect the area and harvest rhizomes as required. Remove the vegetation as it dies down; keep the area clean and well mulched. The rhizomes can be harvested and processed for storage or they can be left in the ground and harvested as required.
- Prune any trees which need removal of:
- dead or diseased branches
- crossing branches
- branches impeding passage along pathways
- overhanging the roof
- shaping to maintain a manageable size.
Weeds, Pests, and Disease
- The grasshoppers are still very active and the birds are enjoying the feast. Catching them and feeding the chooks is more fun than watching TV.
Harvest and Preserve
- Harvest and store purple and white yams when the tops have died down.
- Harvest greens regularly to keep the plant in active growth. Salads are still delectable even in the cooler weather.
- Enjoy the visual harvest of the flowering Riberry
Permaculture Principle #5: Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services
- Accept that we are part of the natural system
- Live with and use feedback to determine further action e.g. the chooks scratching and damaging plants is giving the message that this method of chook keeping is not working so look at options. The feedback from the implementation of the options will give you further information on the efficacy of your solution and further changes which may need to be implemented. This forms an ongoing feedback loop.
- Work with nature rather than against it. Using plants and soil to clean waste water is effective and productive while our current socially implemented systems convert a useful material into a problem which we all pay for financially and environmentally.
- Using weeds and self-sown plants to provide ground cover emulates nature and provides effective soil protection.
- Work within the constraints of your own personal system. Goats, oxen and sheep may be acceptable in many situations but not on 810 sq. m. so look for solutions that fit. Encourage and protect earthworms as they are ploughing the soil while deep rooting plants are bringing up nutrients that have passed below the root zone of most plants.
- I don’t grow my own meat but choose to eat meat which has been wild harvested. The kangaroo is endemic to Australia so works with the environment. Their numbers have increased where kangaroos are able to access artificially grown crops.
- Using and renewing valuable resources allows us to reduce our environmental footprint. Reading the feedback from our actions and implementing changes indicated is a continuous process enabling us to continually reduce our environmental impact.