Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Sort of.

My garden has suffered long time from a shallow habitation of  earth worms. Sandy soil. Absence of biomass. Limited irrigation...

It wasn't very worm friendly.

 No matter how much compostable material I'd thrown at the garden beds every time I went on a worm hunt the critters were hard to come by. 

Since I am of the school that celebrates busy worms as the epitome of good gardening DIY you can imagine my frustration. Here I was preparing the beds for sleepovers and I wasn't attracting  guests.

But hey! today I was in for a surprise. 

I was replacing my wine cooler clay pots that I use for irrigation with my preferred 22 cm terracotta pots and every time I pulled up an embedded pot, the hole was alive with earth worms. 

I had guests. Finally. Despite the conditions

This is a major milestone both for my garden and terracotta pot irrigation. The worms appreciate the moisture in the neighborhood of each buried pot. Given that we have had hardly any rain, face  drought conditions with the persistent strong dry winds and despite my water usage being halved -- you can imagine how keen I am about this result. 

Worms. Happy worms. Big fat active wriggling worms. Despite the dry conditions.

These pots -- the 'wine cooler' ones -- have been embedded for some time and this fact suggests that terracotta pot irrigation takes a while to consolidate.What works may need time to kick in.

I suspect this isn't simply about waiting for the worms to move in. Soil gotta change. Plants gotta decide where to send their roots. Osmotic pathways adapt. Soil chemistry alters.

We're talking a few gardening months....

I suspect that the ecology 'of the terracotta pot' must also prove itself by being reliable -- ergo that god (ie: I) keeps topping up the water level. Plants (and worms) want to be confident that there's always a good chance that a refreshing drink can be  had at the neighborhood terracotta bar.

My view is that without the pots doing their magical best I would not be harvesting as I am now doing as the conditions have been so brutal these last 6 months. 

To have worms! Well that's  icing on the mud cake.

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on November 11, 2013 at 22:25

Interesting observations, Dave. Good that the locals have appreciated your efforts!

Comment by Dave Riley on November 11, 2013 at 22:18

Of related interest:

"For irrigation purposes, it is important to remember water is absorbed and moves slowly through clay soils, but once wet, they retain significant amounts of moisture. Water is absorbed and moves quickly through sandy soils, but they retain very little. This means water applied quickly to clay soil has a tendency to run off rather than move into the soil. Therefore, when irrigating clay soils, water should be applied slowly over a long period but then the site may not need irrigation for several days. Irrigation on sandy soils should be applied quickly but for short periods. Irrigation times on sandy sites should be shorter, otherwise water moves beyond the root zone, becoming unavailable to the plant and contributing to soil leaching. For efficient water use under certain weather conditions, sandy sites may need daily irrigation for short periods. Clay soils have greater capillary (sideways and upward) movement than do sandy soils  Quick water application on sandy soils will contribute to a broader wetting area, providing more soil volume for roots to exploit."  -- Source:Soil type influences irrigation strategy

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