Quiet time in the Garden

Things have been quiet in the garden, as the cold weather slows things down a little.

With the help of a couple of volunteers, weeding and other maintenance jobs are being done.

The broccoli has now finished, but there are still around half a dozen cabbages to harvest. There has been a steady supply of fresh cabbages, broccoli, rocket and a bit of silverbeet going to the Uralla Neighbourhood Food Pantry, and the ladies there tell me that people are delighted with the gifts of fresh produce.

SOME CABBAGES STILL TO HARVEST.

With the last of the side-shoots of the broccoli now harvested, I cut the plants down at the base, and laid them down on the soil; leaving the roots in the ground a little longer so that the nutrients they have absorbed and now no longer need, can be returned to the soil. The cut-off plants will also rot back down into the soil, returning nutrients. Also, they will suppress the grasses that are coming up in the bed.

THE BROCCOLI PLANTS CHOPPED AND DROPPED.

The ladies at the Neighbourhood pantry had a bag of onions which had started to shoot, so a couple of volunteers planted them out in the bed last week. Not sure how they will go, as it is not really the right time to plant anything much, with frosts still happening. But it was a case of either plant them or throw them away.

SHOOTING ONIONS PLANTED.

Green Manure seeds have been ordered to sow in the last strip of ground to be prepared for planting in Autumn 2019 or in the following spring. We decided on a mixture of sub clover, fenugreek, lucerne and lupins. Between them they will help to suppress weeds, feed the soil and break up the soil, protect the soil from sun and frosts, as well as attract beneficial insects to the garden. We ordered these seeds from GreenHarvest in Maleny, Qld. (See link in ‘links’ section).

We are looking at ordering a truckload of old sheep manure to cover the middle-bed strip, which we plan to plant out with a variety of spring/summer vegetables in about October or early November. The sheep manure will feed the soil; and when applied quite thickly – around 10cm deep – it is a very effective weed-suppressor, particularly for grasses.

I use this technique in my 20sq-metre veggie patch for the small community of Caravan Park residents at the park where I live, I have done almost no weeding since covering the soil with sheep manure about 4 months ago, whereas before I would be regularly weeding out the kikuyu grass at this time of year.

It also helps to keep moisture in the ground, and I find that even in the very dry weather we have had for the past few months, I only need to put the sprinkler on it for about one to one and a half hours once a week. And it keeps the soil warm in times of very cold weather.

THE VEGETABLE PATCH AT THE CARAVAN PARK, SHOWING TOPPING OF SHEEP MANURE. NO WEEDS!

I am looking forward to preparing the soil for the spring plantings. 😊