A Forest Garden - Record of Progress

The End of Summer 2013

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.

last hot day of Summer

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!

4 thoughts on “The End of Summer 2013

  1. The city of Los Angeles gives away mulch made from green / brown matter from city trees and manure from nearby dairy farms. This is a great resource for all backyard gardeners. I myself have been picking up the free mulch for over 4 years now. They have I believe 11 locations where you can go and get all the free much you need, all you need is a shovel and containers. I really enjoy the Ground to Ground posts. It’s great to seen this organic movement thrive.


    • Thanks Anu, it is really nice to have you on the site. Did not know about those things that the city of LA is doing – that is very progressive and both are excellent for building up the soil and growing healthy productive plants.


  2. It is wild to hear you talk about the end of summer, when here in the USA/North America we are ending winter & starting spring. Summer starts in June & ends first of August (??).It is hot here until mid September or mid October, so I think of fall as later then it is.
    I enjoy hearing thing from another point of view. Love that you are half the World away with the same things going on.


    • Yeah amazing how it all works, and that we are all communicating about it in real time. It is good for me because this is the peak blogging time for me (Spring/Summer in the USA), and here it is very slow going in the garden. So either way I’m spending most of my free time writing about it or doing it!


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