Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Benefits of Green Manure

I wrote about green manure about a year ago I think, but as I've done some bits and pieces on organic matter lately I thought it might be worth a revisit.

In the simplest terms, a green manure is an annual, leafy plant, that is cut down and dug into the soil at a certain stage in it's growth.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Feed the Soil - Not the Plants

Fertilisers are something that most of you will have a strong opinion on, whether you're in favour or against, however it's a term that can cause some confusion.

The first thing I want to clear up is that a fertiliser is anything that you add to the soil specifically to provide one or more nutrients essential to plant growth.  It can be an organic or an inorganic compound and can be natural or synthetic in origin.

Now's a good time to build a wildlife pond!

For those of you in Yarra Shire, and the Dandenongs in particular, who have been toying with the idea of building a frog pond - now is the best time to do it.

Between Autumn and Winter, the soil will be softer and easier to dig due to all that lovely rain, and the rain itself will fill your pond with lovely, fresh water :)

It also means you will get your pond ready for those frogs that commence the breeding season from Spring.  You might even be lucky and have other species, such as the Eastern Common Froglet, who breed all year round turn up fairly quickly!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Soil Fertility and Organic Matter

Soil quality is the capacity of a soil to accept, store and recycle water, minerals and energy for optimum growth and it's ability to preserve a healthy environment.

The capacity of each soil differs depending on the processes which formed the soil, the weathering etc it has been subjected to since and of course any agricultural practices etc that have taken place on it.  The texture, structure, chemical properties and organic matter content of a soil all of an affect on it's quality.

Garden Diary

Just a quick one today :)

The Protea is in flower now, the buds started to open over the past week.  I also noted that Arum Lillies in the area are starting to flower.  Ours are in pots and used for cut flowers, because although beautiful they are invasive...  I think this is why ours flower a bit later.

We've also been collecting feijoas for the past couple of weeks and are getting a little sick of feijoa crumble!  Will be freezing anything else we get for use later in the year.

Broad beans still flowering like mad, but so far only a few pods off those.  Dwarf beans not seeming to produce any flowers since the first lot, but could be slug / snail damage.  The peas however have done great and we've lots in the freezer to keep up going.

Rain did for the corn.  2 weeks of rain when the corn was tasseling then silking not so great for pollination it seems. Has not stopped us from picking and eating the unpollinated corn cobs though.  Not as sweet as baby corn would be, but larger and still tasty enough to eat fresh.

For those of you growing indigenous plants in the same area as me, this is a great time to be taking cuttings and increasing your stock.

Beautiful sunny day here at the moment and lots of seedlings popping up everywhere - really makes you appreciate life :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Garden Diary

After a single day of sun, we're back to mostly dull and rainy. The slugs and snails are loving it, and winter is most definitely on the way!

During last week we planted radish, salad and iceberg lettuce in one of the raised bed and have also sown a green manure in the other. That bed will have corn in it next year, so will benefit from the extra boost.

The salad and iceberg lettuce got munched as soon as the seedlings popped their little heads up, so I've re-sown and put my home-made slug rings round them and also put a tiny sprinkling of slug pellets under the large parlsey next to them.  This should give the new seeds a chance to get a good start.

I do NOT like using slug pellets in the garden.  Partly because I am increasingly unhappy with the use of chemicals, but also because I have young children and cats.  Putting a tiny sprinkling under a thick plant should keep the pellets out of everyone's view (and mouths!).

I was also badgered into planting more silver beet for the kids, so this went in one of their tyre gardens (which was previously peas).  Their other tyre garden is still providing tomatoes, so will leave that to see if the plant dies off from the cold weather or not.

The silver beet seedlings have also met with a slug induced death, so I will try and resow these too and secrete some slug pellets in under the rim of the tyre.

The rhubarb is done for the season I think.  We now have two additional heads having grown through the season, so next year should be a good crop :)

Bush garden at the front benefitted from around 40 barrows of matured mulch and some of the composted mulch was also added to the small garden bed we have there for growing herbs that like lots of light and poor soil.  Yeah, I know this means we'll be improving it a bit, but the soil there is water repellent and acidic, so could do with the compost!

Things are now fully clarified in my brain regarding how I want the garden to look and where plants should go.  The verdict?

Wherever they like!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Mulch - is it really a fire risk?

I've just spent a lovely autumn morning with my girls spreading wheelbarrow, after wheelbarrow, of decayed tree-lopper mulch around the large established trees and shrubs in our front garden.  We also took time to remulch the areas around newer plantings and generally enjoy being in our bush garden.

Whilst doing this, a tradie was working on a new car parking area next door and my girls couldn't resist in engaging him in conversation.  They frankly never stop talking, so I'm glad they found a new target for their endless questions!

The tradie had watched me carting wheelbarrows full of mulch around for about 30 minutes before he said: "You do realise mulch is a fire risk here?"