Preparing for Summer Gardening.

Its already November so we need to chat about summer gardening.

One of the biggest challenges we will all face this summer is keeping our gardens health, happy and adequately watered.

If your soil is typically sandy/silty in texture with minimal organic matter then it will repel and or leach water and your plants will suffer the most.

We’ve learned one very important lesson…if you want a beautiful healthy garden, you have to seriously consider the condition of the soil first; it is the foundation and engine room from which plants grow and if you ignore it, your garden will always struggle.

Right across the country we observe very tired soils supporting tired plants that are just hanging in there. So we are writing this article especially for those of you who want to change that.

How do we take advantage of the hot summer gardening period ahead and achieve maximum health and growth results from our plants and lawns?

Ideally we want every drop of irrigation or rainwater to stay around the root zone of our plants for an extended period. If you water the garden for short periods frequently, you will notice when you scrape under the mulch that your soil is probably still very dry or only slightly moist. This shallow surface moisture not only teases plants but attracts thirsty roots to the soil surface where they compete with each other and where they are most vulnerable to hot soil temperatures. Generally weeds are the only plants that benefit from this kind of watering.

For plants to become strong and healthy they require deep, not so frequent watering which encourages roots into the deeper sub-surface levels of the soil where it is cooler and where they have more room to spread out, it is this soil layer that we must get water to. To assist you in this quest it is absolutely essential to use quality water granules at least 4 times a year around the base of plants and over the mulch surface.

MulchIf the mulch is piled up around the plant stems, push it back and create a big bowl so that water gets directly to the plant. Many mulches and soils become hydrophobic (water repellent) once they have dried out and can be very difficult to get back to a condition where they can absorb water effectively. Quality water granules will relax the soil and mulch particles and allow water to filter through to roots deeply and evenly.

When your garden and lawn happily absorbs and uses water effectively, your plants will want to grow and so it is essential to feed them with a quality slow release fertilizer designed for sub-tropical conditions. A good fertilizer will provide all the nutrients your plants need to develop strong, healthy roots, foliage and flowers and will also help them to resist pest and disease.

Water granules and fertilizer are the absolute must do’s for every garden but the overall improvement of the soil foundation is essential if you want to create a lush, healthy, sustainable environment you can be proud of and enjoy. Composts, manures, seaweed and fish extracts are all effective and their addition should be considered as a regular part of your garden care routine. We highly recommend the BIG BIO® range of fertilizers for lawn and gardens available from Circular Food and selected outlets.

A beautiful, strong, healthy garden is within everyone’s reach if you focus more on the soil condition and less on the plants. Consider the assistance of an experienced horticulturist who has a good understanding of soils and how to re-invigorate them. When adding soil improvers, it is important to understand how to monitor and read the results and check and balance the PH.

If you would like to learn more about your soil and how to reap the benefits of summer gardening, we are just a phone call away.

Reproduced with permission from Grotec Landscape Solutions.

 

BIG BIO® Trials

Our friends at Vegepod have been conducting some exciting trials with BIG BIO. Check out the stage 1 results:

 

vegepods

Pod 1: Control (low quality soil)

Pod 2: Low quality soil + worm juice foliar spray

Pod 3: Low quality soil + initial application of castings

Pod 4: Low quality soil + initial application of castings + worm juice foliar spray.

Trial details

  • All pods filled with low quality bagged potting mix as available at all retail outlets
  • Foliar spray of diluted (40:1) BIG BIO® worm juice applied weekly to pod 2 and 4.
  • BIG BIO® worm castings mix into soil at start in pods 3 and 4.
  • All pods located together and watered weekly

It’s clear to see from these pics that the castings has an immediate significant effect on plant growth. On closer inspection the lettuce in the  castings + liquid pod appears to have a deeper colour and more dense leafage. We’ll keep you posted as the trial enters the next stage and we interpret the results…

 

 

Casting Call – CF features in FARM Magazine

Circular Food sees potential in worms

Sarah Hudson – November 2, 2016

WORMS have an image problem. Brainless, with no eyes, ears or nose – and slimy to boot – they are not exactly the poster child of the natural world.

And yet Circular Food CEO Steve Morriss says the 120-million-year-old invertebrates (giveor take a few millennia) are industrious and ingenious creatures.

Read the full article here: The Weekly Times

 

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Vermiculture 101

worm bed irrigation cropped

 
If you’re not a worm person, you might not have even heard the word “vermiculture” before. I certainly hadn’t 12 months ago. Vermiculture is just a more scientific term for worm farming. The practice of vermiculture, rather than worm farming, usually means it is being carried out on a more commercial scale, rather than your do-it-at-home worm farm. But essentially, the theory is the same.

 
Vermiculture trio

 
Here’s a few facts and busted myths I’ve learnt along the vermiculture journey;

  1. Worm castings are worm poo.  The worm has amazing properties inside its gut, which makes its “poo” (castings) full of microbes and beneficial plant nutrients. Castings are like gold in terms of food for your plants. You only need a little bit to make a big impact. And don’t worry, castings don’t have any smell.
  1. Worm juice, (otherwise know as vermiliquor) is not worm wee. Worm beds are naturally quite damp environments. They require regular watering to keep the worms happy. The organic waste used to feed the worms also contains a lot of moisture. So, all of this makes liquid a prolific bi-product of the vermiculture system. The liquid naturally drains through the pits, and is collected at the bottom. We re-circulate this liquid back through the beds, to ensure a high microbial count.
  1. A healthy worm farm does not smell. The worms do a wonderful job of consuming all organic waste, leading to an odourless environment, providing it is managed correctly. If your worm farm at home smells, there is something wrong. Perhaps the food is too acidic, or perhaps you are overfeeding. Not sure? Come and attend one of Circular Food’s free Saturday info sessions. Contact us for more info.
  1. Worms won’t leave a happy home. We don’t contain our worms with anything more than a felt blanket over the beds, and this is for warmth not containment. Keep your worms happy by feeding them regularly, keeping them aerated, and adequately watered and they will never leave your side. They’re loyal workers.
  1. Worms will eat anything that was once living. Yes, that includes some traditional “no-no foods” like meat and citrus. In moderation, worms will eat these things too. However, its important to make sure protein levels and ph levels are kept at an optimum level. So without the facilities to test this at home, its safest to avoid these foods in your own worm farm.

wormsAnd finally, and the most important lesson of all; Worms are one of natures most valuable creations. They are industrious and largely undervalued little creatures, with imperative value for life on earth. Left to its own devices, our planet can figure out any naturally occuring issue. Its solution for organic waste is the earthworm. If we can help them do their job, they can help us reduce our landfills and regenerate our global soil health.

 
If you have a specific question about vermiculture, please don’t hesitate to contact us.