Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring.
Each season brings something new to cook, do and plant. Slow Food Berry to Jervis Bay offers plenty to do for each season, whether it be a planting a summer vegetable garden or taking a spin on winter’s classic pumpkin soup. Take a look at our garden maintenance tips or our seasonal activities for this season!
Soil, Mulch and Compost
If your soil is too acidic or too alkaline your plants won’t be able to get all the nutrients they need, no matter how much fertiliser you add. Ph testing kits are widely available from nurseries and hardware stores. Test your soil pH to ensure your soil is between 6 and 7.
Too Acidic? – if your soil test indicates that your soil pH is too low or too acidic (which applies to most Australian soils) the solution is to add agricultural lime or dolomite. You can also use poultry manure.
Too Alkaline? – if your soil is alkaline, it means it has a high pH. You can increase the acidity of your soil by adding things like compost and manures, leaf litter and mulch. Iron chelates work too. In extreme situations, you can use powdered sulphur – one handful per square metre, once a year. Sulphur works very slowly and you won’t notice a change in your pH for about 6 months.
Mulch is organic material that covers your soil to stifle weed growth, while retaining nutrients and moisture in the soil. It promotes biological activity, such as worms and good microbes, which promotes growth. Late winter is a good time to mulch, before the onset of spring and summer weeds.
RECYCLED GARDEN MULCH
Mulch can be made from organic matter from your garden and kitchen and there are various ways to use mulch in your garden.
Compost is wonderful for your vegetable garden, decaying quickly, providing trace elements and nutrients to your plants and soil.
Garden Prunings are one of the easiest ways to add mulch to your garden if you have a garden shredder.
Grass clippings high in nitrogen they rot down quickly and are very beneficial to seedlings.
Lawn Clippings feed and insulate and can be used for mulching around vegetable gardens.
Leaves are a free mulch which provide fibrous organic materials to the soil.
Newspaper can be used as an alternative to commercial mulch.
Seaweed is a beneficial mulch because it doesn’t transfer plant disease, is high in minerals and is free of seeds.
Straw can be used as a mulch around vegetable gardens and seedlings.
(Courtesy of ABC’s Gardening Show)
Whether using a bin, tumbler or open bay, the theory is the same. Perfect compost depends on maintaining a good balance of carbon-containing ingredients and nitrogen-containing ingredients. An easy way of remembering which products contain carbon and which contain nitrogen is to simply think ‘brown’ ingredients are carbons and ‘green’ ingredients are nitrogen.
– Autumn leaves, pea straw, lucerne hay, sugarcane mulch, moistened cardboard, shredded newspaper (not glossy paper).
– Lawn clippings, garden prunings, green leaves, kitchen scraps, citrus peel, egg shells, tea bags and coffee grounds.
A ratio of about 60% “green” material to 40% “brown” material is ideal, but not essential. Large material should be cut up as small as possible: the smaller things are, the quicker they break down. Animal manure will also speed up the process.
If making a heap or bay, build it directly onto the ground, rather than on concrete or paving, as this allows worms, bacteria, fungi and other beneficial organisms to get into the compost.
Layer the materials like a lasagne – brown, manure, green, manure etc
Water after each manure layer with molasses tea to feed the compost microbes. Mix 2 tablespoons of molasses in a 9 litre watering can.
Turn the heap every two weeks for oxygenation – the microbes that break things down quickest need oxygen.This compost will be ready to use in about three months.
Seed companies selling open pollinated seeds.
Open pollinated seeds are preferable as they are less prone to pests and diseases.
Natural Remedies for your Garden
SOAPY WATER SPRAY
Acts as a suffocant for soft bodied insects like aphids and hatchling caterpillars.
Simply rub a tablet of vegetable soap in your hands until the water is the colour of diluted milk.
This is far safer and more economical than using laundry soap flakes, where often too much is used and end up harming foliage and earthworms, as well as pests.
to help with unwanted pests
1kg rhubarb leaves
2 lit. water
Bring to boil and let seep till cold.
This is then the syrup.
Add 1part syrup to 10 parts water.
– for humans (do not use on pets!)
10-25 drops rose geranium oil
2 tablespoons almond oil
Combine in a dark glass jar, shake and dab on skin and clothes.
NATURAL WEED KILLER
4 Litres Vinegar
2 cups Epsom Salts
1⁄4 cup Detergent.
Use 1part syrup to 10 parts water
– for scale, leaf miners
1 part dishwasher liquid to 4 parts sunflower oil
Then 1 tablespoon to l litre of water.
Herbal Teas to Grow at Home
- Alfalfa – seed
- Angelica – seed
- Bergamot – seed or cutting
- Elderberry – cutting
- English Chamomile – seed and root division
- Fennel – seed
- Fenugreek – seed
- Ginger – root division
- German Chamomile – seed
- Green Tea – cutting
- Hibiscus – seed
- Lavender – Cutting
- Lemon Balm – seed or cutting
- Lemon Grass – root division
- Lemon Myrtle – cutting
- Lemon Verbena – cutting
- Juniper – cutting
- Peppermint – root division or cutting
- Pineapple Sage – cutting
- Raspberry Leaf – cutting or root division
- Rosehips – cutting
- Sage – seed or cutting
- Spearmint – cutting or root division
- How to sow healthy seed into punnet
- How to take cuttings
- How to propagate
- Garden maintenance for the season
- Includes a Q&A session, and at the end of the day you will go home with a great start for your vegetable patch in starter tubs and pots.
- Seeds you want sown
- Notepad and Pen
Garden Clinics are open to Slow Food Berry to Jervis Bay Members only.
To become a member, please click here.Registration is essential, for more information about the next Clinic, please contact:
Phone: Marilyn on 0416 018 977