Welcome to late winter here in NZ – a time for renovating our food gardens ready to plant new seedlings and seeds when the ground warms up a bit.
Here is an experiment we are running to
- increase fertility of the very poor soil in the garden beds we inherited with the house
- provide a weed-free covering so weeds don’t take over the new seedlings
We cut off the big weeds at their bases and added them to the compost bin.
On top of the ground we added compost [from the compost bin – don’t you love cycles like this?!]
Then covered the lot with newspaper – 2-3 sheets thick.
Then on top spread a thin layer of wood shavings.
On top of this went ‘Fodda’ organic fertilizer mix [rock dust, fish meal, seaweed meal, etc] and ‘blood and bone’ around the plants we wanted to keep.
The small lettuces, silver-beet and last-seasons-chillies had been struggling amidst the weeds so we will see how they respond to this experiment.
Wood shavings need nitrogen to decompose and, if not supplied, take it from the soil so plants haven’t enough from what’s left, and struggle.
Let’s see how adding nitrogen in different forms, along with the wood shavings works.
Next, we net the garden so the resident black-birds can’t follow along behind and create havoc as they love to do!
The net is pulled tight along the bottom so they can’t squeeze underneath. [It is pegged to posts with common clothes pegs]
For black-bird, the net only needs to be knee-high or so, as they invade from ground-level here.
For sparrows etc, the bed needs to be covered completely as they fly down and into it.
Each year we explore new ways and directions – isn’t food-gardening wonderful?!