So this was the last day of Summer for 2013 – the 27th of March. Sure it was a month past when Summer should end, and at 35° Celsius it was a nice one to go out on.
It was a tough Summer this one, plenty of long hot days and too little rain. It got to the point where I had to use the mains water, as the two IBCs had ran dry, and all those olive barrels, and the tire ponds. When every source of harvested water was gone, out come the chlorinated wonder (Melbourne city mains water is also world class drinking water – but chlorine ain’t too good for soil).
Small plants need special care over a long dry stretch, and even with my best efforts, I lost a fuschia and a freshly planted olive sapling (yeah don’t plant trees in Summer Duh). Number one lesson – plant stuff in Autumn!
So now it is over, time for the soil to heal and those plants to take what they can before Winter. It felt like the whole garden let out a sigh of relief, pleased with the coming sleep.
Something is better than nothing
A thick layer of mulch between the soil and the sun makes a huge difference, so use it if you can. Anything from pea straw to hay or sugar scraps, wood chips, cut up pieces of last year’s broad bean harvest, and the stalks + leaves of Jerusalem Artichokes works well.
A good layer of mulch leads to biological health of the soil, whereas an exposed topsoil will quickly fall away in vitality and water holding ability, leaving a lifeless dry sand that is hard to fix once broken.
One of the tricks that worked really well this year was to add a handful of fresh vermicast into a 10 litre bucket half full of rainwater, then once that was diluted, to soak sugar cane mulch in there until the bucket was full. I then applied the wet mulch around the base of fruit trees, and that works a treat.
It worked so well that I’m going to try it on a larger scale, and add some additional ingredients like urea (Mmmm where do you think I can get me some of that :), chicken manure, fish emulsion and so on.
There is plenty of time to prepare for next Summer down here in Australia, and just a little bit for you folks up North.
So folks, Summer is dead. Long live Summer!
- Compost – the smell of a successful Garden (plewspottingshed.wordpress.com)
- Weedless gardening is possible….. article (herbscorner.wordpress.com)
- Vegetable Patch (weedsandwhiskers.wordpress.com)