We all know the most important aspect of any garden is the soil. Mine is dreadful; stoney, sandy and nutrient poor. Organic and permaculture principles tell us to feed the soil not the plant. If I’m going to turn my garden around the first thing I need is compost.
Good compost is pretty expensive, roughly R400 to R600 a cubic metre depending on how much you buy. This is very good value for what it does, there’s no point in buying a beautiful rose for R100 and putting it into poor soil, (I have done this and speak from experience) but I’m going to need a shitload (haha see what I did there) so I’ve got to make it. Previous experience is restricted to cold composting, piling everything up and leaving it for months and months and months. If I want compost fast I need to make hot compost. I found some great posts, here and here, on how to do it in under a month.
There is a stable down the road which gives away manure to whoever will take it. They leave it ready packed into old feedbags and only ask that you return the bags. I can fit about seven in my little ford fiesta
We cleared out an old compost heap resulting in five massive bags of mulch (and another hand trowel) and built our new one. I’m not entirely sure about the ratios, so we’ll see how long it takes. Hopefully in a months time I’ll be able to tell you all about my fantastic compost.
June is harvest time for sweet potatoes, my favourite crop! They are delicious, nutritious and fantastically easy to grow. Obviously this depends where you live but in my poor sandy soil they have been extremely generous. Perhaps that’s why, like an indulgent mother I’ve let them run rampant. It’s so much easier to assure people that the bottom garden, once a lawn and successive years the site of my veg garden attempts, is full of sweet potatoes even if you can’t see them for the black jacks. Like any child overly indulged they are starting to take over and pushing boundaries so I’m taking them in hand. In the future they’ll grow only where they’re told.
I’m sure other gardeners out there must also find that if you lose something you’re sure to find it when you’re sifting the compost. In the past I’ve found a veg peeler, a pair of secateurs and yesterday a small garden fork.
We’ve been digging out compost heaps to improve our poor sandy soil and also so I can make a new home for my chickens. I think this will be house number 5 but they get better with each try.
I’ve also planted out more garlic, I think i must have about a hundred garlic plants but you can never have too much right. Peas are just coming up, so exciting as well as broccoli, cauliflower, red onions and red lettuce that i planted into trays.
The expected frost came with a vengeance, 4mm thick ice on the water bowls, so I’m putting the seedling trays to bed at night and bringing them into the sun every morning.