This time last year I was desperate. Low on water resources. No mulch to be had. Pithy dry beds...
This year, despite a very warm, and a standardly dry, Winter, the garden is thriving.[Click on image for enlarged view]
Why is this?
- Terracotta pot management has been tweaked so that I know when to top up the clay pots buried in the ground.I've learnt to be ruled by what the plants tell me.
- Water for the pots comes from the above ground swimming pool, now on bathing hiatus. Its salt content has dissipated so the water can be used on the garden seemingly without consequence.I use a watering can and stagger the top ups.It just requires a bit of too-ing and fro-ing.
- As required I hand water. But I'm careful to hose the plants that need more attention than others.
- Urine. My garden is fueled by pee. It is customized fertilization dependent on messaging from the plants ... but the home made stuff works. I haven't killed anything. My routine is impeccable. I guess I've got the results to prove its utility. (See the urine DIY).
- The most verdant section of my garden are the mounds. Never photogenic but that's because they are a jungle. If the seeming fertility persists into Summer, I'll be converting my whole garden to mounds.
- Since I take climbers up and over the garden by stringing them to jute twine, the beds below are still open and sun drenched. I can plant climbers almost at any location and as they begin their ascension, I drop twine down to them and navigate them on a upward route I determine. Best of all: no 'build' issues that can come down in a storm.
The other advantage I've had this time around, is that I've finally improved my seed raising habits. After playing around with various protocols, I now raise seeds in 9 and 10 cm plastic pots -- the ones you buy seedlings in. I find the depth and width gives me more leeway if my mothering duties are lacking at any time.
I usually plant several seeds in the one pot ( by using tweezers) and separate the seedlings when I plant out. Each pot becomes its own micro-garden and it is much easier to stagger your plantings to suit your immediate needs.
The paper pot roller and the shallow seedling trays have been given the flick. ...and I have not lost a plant once it has sprouted. I grow everything in these pots first, then transplant. My handicap is impatience as I wait for the seedling to grow to a transplant stage.
For the moment, my primary gardening input is quality seed raising mixes. I'm also experimenting with liquid pro-biotics. These are liquid mixes of beneficial microbes that break down organic matter and make nutrients available to the plants. I use this stuff sparingly.
I rely on the chook pen for manured 'soil' (it's really just sand with chook poo) but I have decided that I should lay down trenches of horse or cow manure -- a La culture maraîchère
--when I build new mounds.
And that's it. I bury bones and other edibles from the house that the chooks don't eat. Every scrap of paper or cardboard gets thrown on the 'paths' -- the spaces between the beds and mounds. While I'm growing more of my own mulch(cannas, Qld arrowroot, etc) I still rely on grass clippings that professional mower bods dump on my nature strip. However this year, many of my mulching needs have been served by 'green mulch' cover by the growing plants themselves.