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garden

Food Garden 2.0

This is our second permaculture bed, raised off the ground and constructed with sheet mulching. Mol-d will be posting a step-by-step guide to setting one up so I won’t go into any details, but allow me to introduce the plants.

Food Garden 2.0
Food Garden 2.0

Radish, me thinks.
Radish, me thinks.
Beetroot - can't wait for these guys to grow!
Beetroot - can't wait for these guys to grow!
Lettuce pack.
Lettuce pack.
Tomato seedlings, courtesy of Pete.
Tomato seedlings, courtesy of Pete.
Good ol' comfrey.
Good ol' comfrey.

13 replies on “Food Garden 2.0”

thanks Trav. If you can believe it, those lettuces are almost ready for the salad bowl. I think it must be all the rain we’ve been having.

Yep, they shunt, those lettuce. Those are butter lettuce, I have ’em too – they last about two or three weeks while we harvest them, and then start bolting. Soon as it looks like we need more, we head on down to the Greyville Sunday Car Boot market jol and get more seedlings, to keep our supply steady. haven’t bought lettuce since…I dunno when!

On mulch: are you putting any down? I would if I were you, to keep the weeds down (I can see some in the pics) and ensure the soil stays moist.

not yet, but it is on our list of things to do this weekend.

I’m a big fan of mulching as, apart from keeping weeds down and mosisture in, I also think it brings the soil to life by attracting insects and worms.

Mulching is all good and well, on such a small scale you would probably best be controlling weeds by hand…

With mulching one needs to take into acount the carbon:nitrogen ratio of the material you use… If it is too high, you will actually be using nitrogen from the soil to decompose the organic matter. Eventually it will return when the mulch has rotted, but can cause some temporary nutrient shortages in the period when you need them most, ie: when your veggie is growing rapidly.

Just a thought, but thats looking great Mol-d!

what about keeping the soil moist? is that not another function of mulching, particularly in a hot climate like south africa?

Smile, keeping the soil moist is indeed also a good function of a mulch, but the point I was making is that you need to keep your nutrient balance in mind too.

If for instance you are adding a mulch that has a high C:N ratio, like plain straw, perhaps also consider adding a soil ammendment that also contributes extra N.

The best is to use well decomposed (weed seed free) compost, as, because this has already decomposed, has a lower C:N ratio. The compost also introduces soil biota (living creatures) that can further break down the inorganic forms of carbon and nitrogen to organic forms, making them available to the plants for uptake by the roots.

Anyone used rooibos mulch? i saw it our local nursery the other day and had to give it a go..will look into the C:N ratio but so far the veggies seem happy and the garden smells amazing!
I also bought some semi-crushed peach shells which apparently the snails dont like…but our snails seems to be mutants.

hey nadia. sounds cool, I must look out for some.

it would also be good to control ants in the garden as I don’t think they like strong smelling substances.

As I have come to understand it mulches – even fresh, wood-based mulches – do not “rob” nutrients from the soil. There may be a little temporary nitrogen tie-up at the soil surface but not enough to get in a lather about. It is only when wood-based products are incorporated into the soil that you need to have concerns about nutrient unavailability and even that is usually temporary. Plants in nature usually end up with a nice blanket of mulch and they don’t usually suffer from nitrogen deficiency. ;P Moderation and awareness as it what is happening to your plants is the key.

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