Getting ready for spring
In Winter, besides growing winter crops, it is a good idea to plan ahead for Spring and Summer and build up your garden with organic matter.
Some gardeners who have depleted or weedy plots may need to look at a garden overhaul so here are some notes from Anna Johns, a talented former member of the garden, who took over a very depleted garden plot and made it productive again.
Here is Anna’s garden rejuvenation process
Begin by laying down solid cardboard from fridge packaging and removal packing boxes – note that it can’t have plastic layers.
Water / soak cardboard and put a layer of Who Flung Dung and cow manure on top – you will need about five bags cow and three Who Flung Dung.
Keep watering and leave for a couple of weeks before laying down thick wads of newspaper, watering and adding more cow and compost – say 10 bags.
Wait three weeks before planting. The layers may not be completely decomposed so you can make holes through the newspaper to plant seeds/seedlings.
You could try a green manure crop and turn most of the first crop back using a hoe to chop the plants up and spread them over the top of the soil.
Add more Who Flung Dung and cow manure and mulch over with pea straw.
Once this is looking decomposed plant seeds / seedlings and mulch.
It takes about six months for cardboard to completely disappear. Crops will be fine during that time. To enrich the soil during cropping add four to five buckets of compost and some diluted worm juice (weak tea colour for dilution).
This process rejuvenated the soil and eradicated most weeds but not onion weed – that needs to be carefully taken out by hand after digging a long way down to the roots with a shovel. Every now and then another onion weed will still shoot up and it is best to get onion weeds out while they are small so you get the whole root before it shoots out potential new plants – this sometimes means taking out soil around the root as well.
This year ahead of Spring from mid August, plan to layer up with cow manure and Who Flung Dung or organic matter of your choice, eg. dynamic lifter, or similar fertiliser (Enfield Produce has a great selection of organic garden supplements, particularly their Cow and Compost mixture). Then keep using compost and fertiliser and mulching throughout spring and summer. Some members swear by Coir Peat for moisture retention which comes in a brick form from Bunnings. A 15 litre brick will do your whole plot – soak in water and mix with your cow manure and compost.
Note from the Committee – to help add organic matter to your soil the Committee plans to order a trucked-in compost delivery for the week prior to the 17 September working bee. You will be able to use it on your own garden with the fertiliser you like to use – e.g. Dynamic lifter, Who Flung Dung, Organic Life, cow manure or Blood and Bone.
Photo below: Alison and Simon Plot 43 starting to enrich the soil with a no-dig garden