Friday, October 19, 2012

Some spring success....

Having brought in three cubic metres of soil in autumn to improve the baseline fertility of my beds by raising them, mulching them, and then just letting nature take its course. Now, when I peel back the sugarcane mulch, theres a happy little ecosystem under there in the soil, microbes working away, and worms!

I created beds in new areas based on a bit more knowledge of how the sun works in the garden. A new area that only gets morning sun is showing promise for when the summer heat kicks in. Up here its wipeout material. Not that suns much of a problem for the more reptilian amongst us, who can simply retire to a cooler spot...

After feeling like a brown thumb last year, this spring I decided to have another go at growing from seed. I kept it simple. Roma tomatoes, large chillies, lettuces, bush basil, borage, calendula, marigolds, cosmos, bok choi, pumpkins and red poppies. This time I sat the seedlings in any kind of waterproof trays I could lay my hands on, including the hideous plastic ones that meat from supermarkets come in, which stopped them drying out so fast. When you add water, the excess drains through, forming a reservoir for the babies to draw on, which also serves as a drinking bowl for catfriend...
Ive had some luck with the seedlings and am now starting to plant them out! Ending up with way more plants than I could have afforded to buy in. I gave them a good soaking with a mix of seaweed emulsion and charlie carp fertiliser to help them settle in. Seems to be working. The climbing beans I planted straight out, and watered in the same mix, are just starting to peep shyly out from under the soil.

I used all open pollinated seeds. The goal being to gradually build up the plant population to self seed away and spread, whilst gathering some as backup. The other strategy Im experimenting with, is to simply sprinkle a few seeds around things as I plant them out. I figure if Im watering the area anyways, may aswell see if others can benifit and sprout. It happened organically in some of my pots, like around the lovely motherwort plants that get a regular drink, I have my first ever dandelion! Which threw up two seed heads I could then distribute elsewhere. Free greens!
There have also been a few surprises, unexpected flowerings occurring off their own bat. I think the garden is getting the message that I'm here to stay awhile and I appreciate its offerings. The real estate agent told me its been years since anyone gave a damn about the garden, as I could tell when I arrived. So its nice to see it begin to flourish some more. Its so luxurious to live amongst a garden where your feet are directly on the ground, especially after ten years in a third floor flat. Hopefully, the whole scene will continue to build abundance as I improve the soil and plant out more and more babies.

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