Am interested to know what other people do that makes their garden a success.

My main ones are probably:

* water: I try to water deeply and not very frequently, but NEVER to let the plants dry out. usually means every 2-3 days in winter, every 1-2 days in summer. I've been applying about 180l of water to 17 metres square (by watering can! erg)
* food: pH has to be about 6-7, LOTS of compost in the soil, at least 2 applications a year of pelletised manure. dolomite as needed, worm casting whenever they're around. Seaweed spray maybe once a year. No other lotions and potions or liquid manures for me.
* sunshine: not too much. about 4-5 hours a day or semishade equivalent is ideal.
* wind: no thanks, just a zephyr is fine
* ground cover: I try to make sure there are leaves or mulch shading all areas of the soil
* companion planting: plants can share the same bed if they use different root and leaf zones so they're not in competition.
* diversity - the more the better. tastes better, confuses the pests, completes food chain and creates competition amongst the insects
* if it's sick pull it out and feed it to the chooks/ compost heap/ worm farm.

How about you?

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  • Hi scarlett, not sure if you still need, manure or compost but there is a lady who has posted a blog for free pick up and a on going thing, with her pony poop.
    Rachael Carter has posted the blog.
  • pony poo grass cuttings and lucine hay on top of clay soil- do not mix. seems to work well.
    I think it has taken me 2 years to get a small patch of good soil. if i was to do it again i'd fill the raised garden beds with 1/2 soil and then tonnes of food scraps from the market, poo, hay and grass let it sit for 6 months (adding more and more compost) and plant only pigeon pea, mustard greens and mung beans. i wouldn't bother planting anything except trees till i had really good soil. Black plactic on top speeds up the process.
    oh and lots of water like scarlett said. we now have two small rain tanks just for the garden.
    i've learn't a lot about soil. Next time i start a garden it's going to be really ugly for the 1st 6 months but i think it will be well worth it.
  • Anyone heard of chooks that don't dig? They’re too fluffy. I thought this would be a good pest control method if you let them in the garden for short periods of time. Anyone knows the name of the breed. I found a caterpillar 2 inches long in my taro. He was bird food!
  • Scarlett said:
    gum leaves can have allelopathic chemicals in them too - these actually surpress other plants, which works well for the gum tree, but might be a problem if using them as a mulch
  • Fiona said:
    Soil, soil, soil. I have poor quality soil, and no spare cash, so I am slowly building up my worm farm and an open cold compost to help with it. I rake up all the leaves dropped by the native trees to mulch the beds, but I suspect that the gum leaves are adversely affecting the soil ph...

    Anyone got some places that can provide free or cheap manure in Bris? I am happy to bag it myself (no worries about elbow grease) but any cost-saving solutions would be great to know of...
  • Trinette said:
    Well, the best thing I ever done for my garden is go out and buy a big bag of sugarcane mulch. I think mulching cannot be given enough credit. I thought I wouldn't need it if I watered often enough and watched out for weeds it was impossible to keep up. After using the sugarcane mulch my soil is in much, much better condition, I use a lot less water and hardly any weeds, Yay!
    • Chris Z hart said:
      I am a big fan of mulching , a friend gets me the realy large round bales for $50 , we only just get them up the side of the house . I would use a lot more lucerne , but it sells for $9 a bale I have just got some for $7 as they where very wet . I can also get stable manure for free if I collect it and have used a lot of it , but the stables I get it from are profressional and I have become a bit concerned about news storys concerning stables .
      • Scarlett said:
        apparently soil will retain as much as 10% more water if mulched, and soil temperatures are around 11 degrees lower!
      • Scarlett said:
        yes, they worm the horses often and don't withhold the manure. the vermicides used will kill all the good beasties in your soil, including all the worms and they can even poison us too. nasty.
        • Scarlett said:
          if you drive out towards redlands - Mt Cotton rd and thereabouts I've seen plenty of $2 a bag poo places. sometimes we grab some - good for roof racks :)
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