Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Shortest Day - it's Garlic planting time - and MATARIKI

The traditional time to plant garlic is on the shortest day of the year, this was 21st June, the Winter Solstice.

Garlic has a long growing season, and can be harvested when the tops are dry and fallen over, and here in NZ we usually look for that on the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice.  It gives a very nice rhythm to the year, and has you looking out for the changing seasons and days of the year.

I usually buy garlic especially for planting, as the stuff you get in the supermarket may have been treated with a sprouting inhibitor and might not grow.  Just break the bulb into cloves and plant each with the flat side down, about 2 x the length of the clove in the ground.  They are gross feeders and like soil that is full of nutrients.  A bit of feeding throughout the year is recommended.

Matariki, the Maori New Year is also coming up on 28 June.  My young son came home with all kinds of information about Matariki. 


So for beginners here is MATARIKI 101

- Matariki is the first time in the year when you can see the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades, in the Southern Hemisphere sky.
- The are in Taurus and are one of the most famous star clusters
- There is a lovely legend about Matariki, that you can read about here: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/matariki-maori-new-year
- Celebrations around New Zealand include kite flying, hot air balloons and fireworks

Our family have some sky balloons which we might let off if the weather is cool enough so that we don't set any hedges on fire!