Spring Cleaning

Ah, yes, a generic post about how happy I am that spring is here. Yes I am ridiculously happy. Yes this is a reminder how desperately I need to pay attention to my yard. So with this sunny weekend and a house full of geeks, I decided to move outside and tidy up our veggie beds along with a few other odd jobs.

Its important to remember that because you are harvesting your veggies to eat, the soil is going to be losing a lot of nutrients and you need to replenish this relatively regularly. I always get a bit annoyed when I first start this job because I think “Oh, carrots are under $1/kg, why am I spending so much money on these damn things” but then I remember that organic carrots are like $6/kg and that makes it all the more worthwhile. IMG_20170902_145418So I strip back everything currently growing in the bed, being careful not to shake too much soil out of the fibrous roots as this is most likely going to have been stripped of most nutrients. Then again, I don’t really want to add much soil, just food. Sometimes pulling out the old plants will be easier if you wet the soil first especially if they have a strong root system. IMG_20170902_151256Then I add a good whack of cow manure, along with some horticultural charcoal to retain moisture and nutrients in the bed, some basalt rock dust as a slow release trace elements fertiliser, both from the Green Life Soil Co, and a handful of coated slow release fertiliser from Bunnings. Pull the soaker hose to the top so that you don’t risk puncturing it while you dig around. IMG_20170902_152325IMG_20170902_152640I dig this through the next 20-25cm of soil with a hand cultivator. Add a watering of worm wee, then wet it well. Check the soil further down once watered for water repellency, I had to treat the soil with a wetting agent. I filled my new prepared beds with some seeds and a sweet potato seedling kindly donated by an awesome friend. It might be a bit early to pop seeds in but my excitement for spring got to me. The forecast for the next week or so is not too wet and warming up so that should encourage them out. IMG_20170902_153758_LIIMG_20170902_153806_LIWhen planting seeds with soaking hose reticulation, don’t make the mistake of planting halfway between the soaker hoses. Run this close on one side of the hose to ensure the plants will receive the most water possible. IMG_20170902_155046.jpgI then add mulch where seeds were not sown, this will save the soil from drying out, feed the slaters and reduce weeds. I use a soft mulch to slow feed the soil too, which does make it more alkaline but that is another story altogether. Read up on mulching in my post ‘Use Protection’.

Give this a gentle water so as to not wash away the seeds you just planted, and to settle the mulch. Ta da!

before & after

Do remember this is not the only way to garden – you can most definitely try no dig gardens, lasagna beds, hugelkulture, worm farms directly in your soil. This is just one way to beef up your veggie beds for a bumper crop. Flick me a message if you have any tips, tricks or questions 🙂