Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Back To Life

After 17 weeks away from home you can only imagine the state my garden was in.  Although there was a couple renting the house for the better part of 14 weeks, and although they seem to be hobby gardeners, there was certainly plenty of work to be done.  It's now been almost 8 weeks without a serious rain here in Northern NSW and man does the soil tell the story...rock solid. Another surprise I came across were ashes from the fireplace that had been added to the raised beds.  Turns out ash can be used as a great input for compost as it adds valuable nutrients and can deter insects & weeds from accumulating.  I started by forking the beds in order to loosen the soil and prepare all the areas where I planned to @addmoregreen.
Below is a display of how we have the compost setup at home.  On the left are two small trash bins that are used on a daily basis for kitchen scraps such as orange peels and egg shells (only Guy eats eggs though).  When those bins are full we add their contents (usually quite smelly) to one of the larger bins on the right.  The triangle shaped bin takes much longer to process as the contents sit stagnant for much of the time unless you have a compost turning tool.  The tumbler on the right is our greatest piece of compost equipment.  When I go out each day with the kitchen scraps to add to the trash bins I give the tumbler a good six or seven spins which speeds up the process...nearly twice as fast as the triangle bin.
Next, I took the contents from the tumbler which were ready after our 17 weeks away from home and added them to the areas I already forked.  To this mix I added Yates Dynamic Lifter and Searles 5 In 1.  With freshly forked soil and natural fertilisers added to the beds, I stirred it all together using my garden fork again and then gave the beds a nice drink of water to settle the fertilisers in place.  Now that the soil was ready for new plants I spread out the "starts" in an arrangement that would allow each to get an optimal amount of sun while also working off each other in a permaculture sense (basil near the tomatoes, etc.).
And finally, I got my hands dirty...NO GLOVES!
I hope this post has been a great example for turning your old and worn out soil into something more useful and beautiful.  Let us know what you thought about this post in the comments section.  Take a peek at the pictures below to see exactly what I added to the garden.  Also, be sure to check back for upcoming posts as I will be posting more pictures as all of these plants progress!
Lettuce- Mignonette Mixed
Found these vines growing in two different pots when I got home.  Initially, I thought it was pumpkin but a friend added her input stating the vines are watermelon...I suppose we will have to wait and see when these plants begin to produce.
Tomatoes!
Lettuce- Mixed
Roma Tomatoes
Silverbeet- Fordhook Giant
Eggplant


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Add More Green by Nick Kovaleski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.