Check out the bean stakes (see photo in previous post) – straight from another part of the garden, from a shade-loving plant that grows on a cane! I’d like to make my garden sustainable by keeping its footprint small: using material produced in my garden, and other recycled materials – see old chicken wire gate recycled as the support for the snow peas.
I have been experimenting with mulch, trying to use organic matter shed from other plants in the garden, as there is plenty, which I have to rake up each day – now I understand why it is preferred not to have trees surrounding the house, though I do believe that the benefits of shade over the house in summer and experiencing the wildlife, especially the amazing birdsong that we hear each day, does outweigh the annoying aspects of maintenance.
The best mulch so far is the shorn ‘hay’ from the native grasses. Cutting the grasses back at the end of winter allows them to shoot anew in spring. This should be a fairly sustainable method of mulching. Not sure about the nutrient value of these grasses going back to the soil.
Jobs – plant more native grasses to use as mulch.
I have held off mulching too much until the plants grow up a little. Small plants can get shaded and lost beneath mulch.
I am not super impressed with the soil that I bought for the garden. It is going to take a while to create a good growing environment with lots of nutrients and organic matter. I will improve the soil over time with additions of compost and manures.
My compost is much improved with adding comfrey. I have added several green leaves, chopped up, each week and it has reduced the vinegar fly maggots. I have sourced the comfrey from my local community garden.
Jobs – plant some comfrey and get a bag of horse manure.
Check out the Greenharvest website for more info about Comfrey.
‘Comfrey probably has the widest range of uses in a permaculture system of any plant.
The leaves are a useful addition to compost or used as mulch,as they contain silica, nitrogen, magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron. Comfrey is lush and fast-growing in the right conditions and can provide abundant supplies of mulch. When planted in the orchard, it can be slashed to provide mulch under fruit trees. Comfrey leaves, measured as dry matter, are about 15 to 30% protein which is as high as most legumes. The leaves readily decompose when soaked in water to make a liquid manure.’