Welcome to late winter/early spring – get ready to plant new seedlings and seeds when the ground warms up.
Here is an experiment we ran to
increase fertility of the very poor soil in the garden beds
provide a weed-free covering so weeds don’t take over.
We cut off the big weeds at their bases and added them to the compost bin. This left last season’s self-sown seedlings with space and light to grow.
On top of the ground we added
compost [from the compost bin – don’t you love cycles like this?!],
covered the lot with newspaper – 2-3 sheets thick.
Then on top spread a thin layer of wood shavings. Composting the wood shavings first would be much better but, hey, we wanted to see how it would go with fresh stuff.
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.
Wood shavings need nitrogen to decompose and, if not supplied, take it from the soil so plants haven’t enough and struggle. Adding nitrogen in different forms, along with the wood shavings worked well.
The small lettuces, silver-beet and last-seasons-chillies that had been struggling amidst the weeds responded really well, growing and providing leaves to eat, and later, chillies!
PS, we net garden beds 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 – isn’t gardening wonderful?!
May you and your garden flourish
For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com
For more about planting by the moon phases,
If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.
This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.
I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!
Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.
Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!