The nights are getting colder and the days shorter...
Most of our summer crops have come to an end, so now we are turning our focus on winter. In the upcoming weeks we hope to revitalise our garden bed soils before planting, and our new Biochar Compound Fertiliser should be ideal. A 5kg bag shallow dug through each of our beds should be enough to get a good amount of organic Biochar through the soils with added N+P+K to give our winter crops a good head start. This product comes with a giveaway this month!
Just had a wonderful visit this easter with our little gardeners to the Hamilton Gardens, so we're feeling inspired. We are keen to start our own 'food forest', now that our fruit trees are well grown we hope to underplant with complimentary herbs and edible plants, placing a wool mat around each to help them establish. Hopefully this will be a lovely area come summer... and we can avoid the mower. We have some great tips on doing this later on our newsletter.
Make sure to visit out site soon, as we had new products arrive in last month...
Happy autumn gardening, Monique & Warren
Autumn is the season for planting your fruit and ornamental trees and shrubs, so why not provide a nice insulating and protective wool mat to help establish young plants.
Our Mulch blankets are made from 100% New Zealand Recycled Sheeps Wool. They are 400gsm thick and are needled punched for strength and durability. They will help to suppress weeds and retain vital soil moisture by reducing evaporation. As they slowly biodegrade they release natural organic nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, sulphur and other trace elements.
Loose from .70c, 10/Packs from $7
Rolls from $45
Priced from just $9.00
With our fruit trees now large and cropping, we have been wanting to do a food forest and autumn is an ideal time to tackle this project and get plants established.
The most important thing that we have tackle is which plants will compliment our existing plants and what will suit our soil and climate. We have been talking to local permaculture guru's and also doing some research on the internet. We have even found a course run by Otago Univesity and the website www.foodforest.co.nz which is very inspiring and had some great guidance and examples.
Click to enlargeAlso known as an Edible Forest Garden, there are a few basic steps to follow before begining:
Prepare your site, including shaping the soil (to optimise water retention were needed), put down irrigation and pathways.
Build up your soil and improve the soil structure.
Source plants and start planting - plan to plant in stages.
The Amazing Slater
Turn over a brick or a board that has been lying around for a while and underneath you may find a collection of slater currying about. Also known as pill bugs, rollie pollies or woodlice, these grey-colored creatures can be found in many dark, moist environments feeding on decaying matter. What’s interesting about these critters is that they are not bugs at all. They are crustaceans and more closely resemble crabs and shrimp, not insects. They are characterised by their ability to roll up into a ball when they feel threatened. Another unique feature is that they have seven pairs of legs. Even stranger, they don’t urinate. Instead, they exchange gases through gill-like structures.
Slaters are great for gardening and composting.
The guts of these bugs contain a number of microbes that help the critter feed on dead, organic matter. They speed up the process of decomposition. They circulate the soil. This can be very useful in composting. Treats for pill bugs include fungus and monocotyledonous leaves.
Slaters play an important role in the cycle of healthy plant life. They return organic matter to the soil so it can be digested further by fungi, protozoans and bacteria. This process produces a natural supply of nitrates, phosphates and other vital nutrients that plants need to thrive now and in future growing seasons. It is important not to introduce pill bugs into the garden too early, as they tend to munch on emerging plants. The grey soil workers often live up to three years.
Slaters clean up soil and protect ground water from heavy metal contamination.
One very unique quality that these crustaceans possess is their ability to safely remove heavy metals from soil. For this reason, they are an important tool for cleaning up soil contaminated with pollutants like lead, cadmium and arsenic. They take these heavy metals and crystallize their ions in their guts. The heavy metal toxins are then made into spherical deposits in the mid gut. With this special cleanup property, pill bugs survive where most creatures can’t, in the most contaminated sites.
The magic of the slaters is that they help reestablish healthy soil and prevent toxic metal ions from leaching into the groundwater. This means slaters are also protecting well water from becoming contaminated while stabilising soils.
Extract from an article by Lance Johnson realfarmcy.com
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