Monday, November 2, 2009

New Plantings

I planted a Mulberry tree (Morus Nigra) today on the 'nature strip' among the Banksias and Poa Tussocks. I dug through layers of decomposing wood-chips full of rich microbial biology through to the thin layer of top soil, worms and fine gravel until I hit clay. After two and a half years of heavy mulching, composting and broadcasting biodiversity (gleaned in small quantities on forest walks), the hard compacted and heavily disturbed soils that we inherited are starting to become dynamic.

I also borrowed our neighbour Andrew's lawnmower, mowed the areas we haven't mulched as yet and broadcast the clippings onto our very large potato patch to add nitrogen to the carbon rich wood-chips. As I threw a fine layer of clippings I noticed to my surprise that the seed potatoes that I planted only 5 days ago have already begun to pop up through heavy newspaper, horse shit and newish wood-chips comprising mainly native wattles and gums that were thinned out down the road. Folk are busy around here preparing for the fire season. The local arborists sell a truck load (18 cubic meters) of chips for $150. That's $8.35 per meter. In the past two years we've been buying it at the local garden supplies for $33 per meter plus a delivery cost, which has made mulching large areas very expensive.

With all the compost we've been making from ours and a local cafe's green scraps (free), chook poo (free), collecting horse shit from the local horse riding school (free) and wood-chips (now only $8.35 a cubic meter), we have a pretty phenomenal programme of soil building for very little expense. The banner image above shows my boots atop the horse shit pile at Boomerang Ranch.

Also this week I planted an excess of white and red onions among indigenous Lomandras and Poas. I also planted some Calendula Meg and Zeph bought at the Sunday market. They flower year round, provide edible petals which are best in salads and tea can be made with them which helps boost the immune system.

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