Tonight the temperature falls to 19C (and maybe below) for the first time this year in my patch. You can feel the cooling night air on your skin.
Despite the warm days still, you can see how the evening respite from the heat is registering among the plants.
I just built (wait for it...wait for it) another two mounds and planted both of these out with potatoes I'd chitted from store-boughts.
I then divided a Vetiver Grass clump by hacking at its edges.
[I have a novel notion obsessing in my head about using Vetiver...]
While at it, I moved load after load of grass clippings from my nature strip onto and among the mounds and 'paths'. I've had a flu like infection this last week and been under the weather, but the mower man's mowing drop offs have been massive. I still have a big pile to shift.
Prior to these labours, with my trusty sickle and a pair of scissors I hacked at my above ground mulch plants -- cannas and dogbane especially -- so the garden is desiccated.
Indeed I am keenly cutting back anything that's not edible --and some plants I seldom eat -- and dropping the cuttings in situ. This is another fancy. I'm training myself up as a root keeper or Keeper of the Roots. The celebrated green manure options don't work so well in my sand. Pursuing the principle of any ole root, I'm making do.
A Biological Farming Consultant who runs a TAFE course in organic farming staid with me last week and I exploited the opportunity to discuss regenerative options.(Listen to audio) I may not be a grass farmer but preserving roots seem to be where my gardening future lies. It's like a penny has dropped and I now have my head in the sand. I think, aside from the standard metaphorical meaning, that's where it should be: underground.
My role in life is to feed the creatures of the soil..one day, when I'm dead, even with my own corpse. My tools are not spades and forks or hoes, but roots.
When you started off as I did with yellow sand, I'm feeling like I've been recruited to the dark dirt arts. It took 'em some time to finally capture me but I think I'm committed.
A recent shot of me gardening & searching for meaning.
Buried like that --soiled -- you search for meaning.
In the regenerative method of rotational grazing the herbivore chews the grass and moves on after eating and defecating. The grass is even compressed by the weight of the animal and a thin mulch layer forms on the surface. Then the pasture is rested.
In the meantime, the grasses respond with a surge of growth and carbon sequestration as they put down more roots to recover themselves and shoot up more leaves for photosynthesis.
In this plot, this little outback play script, I am playing the bovine in my make believe outdoor theatre show. My cast members are not so much grasses (aka 'weeds' or standard green manures) as plants that obey me. So I gotta make do.
Before I did this I covered the mounds with around 80 litres of 'brew' mix made from kitchen washings and dregs,sugar,water Balinese aloe vera fertiliser and 'raw material'.For this mix I had also harvested a lot of my own aloes too which I blended up into a thick goo. So the concoction was impressive in a muck raking sort of way.
If you have aloes growing maybe it's something you could consider. Making glop is fun. Chop up, then blend up the aloe leaves with a little water before leaving the mash to soak in a bucket of water for a day or two. You can brew that as I do, or simply pour it on the garden beds.
Why bother? Aside from the research that supports aloe vera as a soil probiotic, fertiliser and protector against disease and some insects, you get to play with the goo. Compared to the many filthy habits of manure tea makings, aloe vera mashing and steeping is rather benign and may help your complexion if you also want to bathe in it..
( If you want to drink it -- and I don't -- or use it as a lotion --peel the aloe with a knife and soak the leaves in water for 30 minutes to wash off the mucky slime. Then blend the plant material.)
I used to chop up my pigface leaves with a spade and throw them onto the beds as a mulch or bury them when I built up soil, but now I get more value per harvest by blending them with the aloe and fermenting the mix.
And it's free...
Banana Oil Claims
It is claimed that Aloe Vera in the raw 'gel' state offers the following attributes:
However, more research has supported the use of Yucca gels as soil conditioners. But I personally believe that many succulent gels would work similarly in the soil.So what's said about Yucca could also be projected onto aloe vera.
Here's an attribute list for Yucca:
– improves drainage
– increases permeability of plant cell membranes, allowing for increased water and nutrient absorption
– improves seed germination and seedling vigor
– stimulates microbial activity in soil
– builds resistance to heat and water stress due to drought-like conditions
– enhances water penetration through compact soils
– allows excess salts to leach from soil
And with more science-speak:Yucca (Yucca schidigera/Mexico)
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