I can feel a lovely change in the air here on the Sunshine Coast and now enjoying extended hours in my garden.
Recently I’ve sown a green manure crop (I just got the seeds into the garden in time!!), created extra perennial herb and flower beds and updated sheet mulching through the kitchen garden.
After summer heat and rainfall the weeds and grass had grown all through the pathways, so now I’m getting the whole area in order with the use of old bed sheets, cardboard, newspaper and weed mat. Yes, I’ve used weed mat in high traffic areas as I’ve found the cardboard is decomposing too quickly and the grass is growing faster than my veggies!!
In the two raised garden beds that I’ve sown green manure crops, once they have sprouted to about 15cm, or before flowering, I’ll chop the foliage back to ground level, sprinkle over blood & bone, and apply a 5cm layer of fine sugar cane mulch. No need to remove the roots as they’ll decompose and feed the organisms in the soil.
After a few weeks the green manure cuttings with have decomposed and the gardens will be ready for planting winter crops.
I love this time of the year as it is much gentler on me and my garden.
Now for a few ideas for your garden this month…
Southern Hemisphere Gardens –
· Sow seeds or plant seedlings in prepared beds of Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cabbage…all those yummy winter soup veggies!! Great companion plants are Nasturtium, Dill and Sage.
· Sow seeds of Broad Beans in temperate or cooler areas. Ensure the soil is well prepared with compost and a small amount of blood and bone. Broad Beans are also grown as a cool season green manure crop, refer to article here - Why Green Manure Crops Are Good For Your Soil
· For space saving ideas try growing Snow or Sugar Snap Peas on a vertical trellis. These cute beans add colour and healthy crops to any garden areas, especially small spaces. My boys love picking and eating peas!
· With the temperature cooling you may notice your compost decomposing slower through the winter months.
Continue to check the temperature of the compost by placing your hand deep into the mix, you should find some warmth in there. If not, add extra activators to the bin or compost heap to heat up the ingredients and help decomposing.
Try comfrey, molasses, blood & bone or worm juice. Always cover these ingredients with a mulch (carbon) layer.
For more info on Composting read my article here – Do you know how to Compost?
Northern Hemisphere Gardens –
· Lawn care – remove any weeds by hand, apply an organic slow release fertiliser (follow application rate on packaging…do not overdose with lawn fertilisers!!) and hose in or wait for expected rains. After a week or so lightly rake over the lawn and then mow with a high cut. First mow leave off the catcher as cuttings will help build up the top soil.
· Plant summer flowering bulbs. Beautiful colour and scents can be dotted around all garden areas, including the kitchen garden! Try Allium, Freesia (in mild areas), Dahlia or Tuberose.
· Ensure you have a fresh supply of delicious herbs of Parsley, Dill, Mint, Lemon Balm, Oregano and Sage. Grow in containers in a protected area if needed.
· Dead-head Spring flowers to encourage new growth. Place all gardening clippings in the compost.
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Enjoy this month in your garden, please CONTACT ME if you have any questions.
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Growing with you,
© cath manuel 31 march 2015