Thursday, April 11, 2013

Getting the soil ready

At the change of the season I always seem to have some crops that don't seem willing to move along, so that I can rip them out!  The Rosella were like that this year. They took up the front half of the bed where I plant  most of my veggies. They were inundated with some kind of bug, and it did not look as though they were going to produce flowers or fruit, so in the end I ripped them out.
Some wet season plants are only now starting to fruit - notably the loofas!  This has been a  strange year with the wet season running late.

Already the temperature has moderated and the humidity has dropped so it is lovely outside, although we are still getting a fair amount of rain.   I dug out the few sweet potatoes that I had planted - there were one or two tiny ones that the grubs did not get - a very disappointing crop.  The big bin against the fence started out with just shredded leaves, but has had cuttings and seaweed added over time since the lychee tree was pruned and my leaf supply dropped dramatically.  I took off the top layer of dried cuttings and moved them to fill up my other compost bin, and then tipped this bin over onto the bed.  Oh my!!!! does that look like good stuff.-  the bottom half is clearly what is referenced as leaf mold.  Dark and rich and crumbly.  Some of the top leaves were not completely decomposed, but with the rain we have had lately it now looks wonderful, and I planted zuchini in these mounds.

 I added a bit of Rocket fuel organic fertilizer - it basically seems to be a mixture of manures - they were out of the 5 in one mix that I have used before.   ( This is a bit more expensive, but I had a gift card, so it was basically free. :), and it supports the Stephanie Alexander school gardens.  This was all covered by a layer of hay, and wet down.  I erected two of my wooden trellises and put in a row of lebanese cucumbers.   The little lime mandarin tree that I moved over here seems to be doing ok - I am sure it will also appreciate the extra goodies added to the soil.
Four metal trellises have been constructed from the uprights that belonged to my now deceased gazebo.  Very happy with them.
The mung beans were slashed and dug in, and the bigger leaves of the turmeric and galangal were cut back to make room for onions and parsley root.  I only need to leave a few sections of the galangal and turmeric in the ground so that they can take off in next years wet season. I can harvest them as needed through the year. That gives me quite a nice large area to grow the slow crops like onion and parsley root.   The "plant and forget" crops I call them.  This is California red onion tape from MrFothergills.  I also put in a row of bok choy seed tape.  The tapes were laid out and then lightly covered with crusher dust.  I was originally going to grow carrots, but found at the last minute I did not have carrot seeds, and pak choy is a fast crop - so will sow the carrots later, after I have harvested the pak choy.

The grands started their little veggie pots, and I planted out a  couple of pots of leafy greens. I got the little gardener pots from MrFothergills, but nothing came up so I added extra seed.  They were a bit disappointed. Two problems: 1.  I think they do need a drainage hole. 2. The tiny seeds are very hard for kids not to smother with soil, and I think it would be better to have a little circle of tape with seeds impregnated that they can just lay on top of  the soil. I have forwarded these suggestions onto MrFothergills.
I really like the seed tape - the onions are on seed tape and I have some other seed tapes ready to go into my main veggie bed.
  I am going to loosely adhere to the moon planting and since the moon is starting to wax  now I will start to get ready to plant crops that grow above the ground.  You don't plant anything for a week or so though while there is no moon.  I am also hoping that the excessive rain stops.  We need some sunshine to help pull the new plants high and strong.
MrFothergills also sent me some heirloom tomato seeds which I am excited to try in my wicking worm beds and they have been started in crusher dust in little pots,  so slowly my dry season veggie garden is coming along.


  1. I'd never heard of Rocket fuel but may check that out at our local big green shed. With your beautiful compost and the rocket fuel your plants should do really well. We're still getting quite a bit of rain here as well but expecting sunny days soon.

  2. So wonderful to see things growing! I love the look of your good growing soil, the compost looks fantastic. Too bad the seeds didn't sprout for your grandchildren, but better luck next time. I think your ideas are great!

  3. Seed tapes? How clever! Love to try this method one day. Btw good job on this vege patch, Africanaussie! I think the seeds are going to sprout and grow happily soon.

  4. You are making great progress with your veggie plantings.
    You have given me inspiration to try a compost bin, since your compost soil looks incredibly rich.
    I have lots of leaves to rake from my Pongamia, and I'm thinking I should start a compost bin with them...thanks.

  5. your soil is rich and you grow some wonderful food and flowers there.

  6. Loofa is such a vigorous climber that I never reached them to harvest as they climb rose apple tree till the top. We have a disappointing sweet potato harvest too, lots of leaves but no tubers. The seeds tape is really conveniant.

  7. Roz,
    It looks like it has a good mix of different goodies in it.
    I did notice a bit of green in their little tubs over the weekend - maybe they were waiting for the sunshine.
    I have seen a tutorial on making it yourself with toilet paper and flour/water glue.
    Oh I am so glad I inspired you, leaf mold is evidently just full of goodness.
    Thistle Cove,
    this is the best it has ever been, so am hoping for a bumper crop.
    Malay Kadazan,
    I just let the loofas climb and then they drop when ready. I heard that you should not grow sweet potato in the same place every year, maybe that is what I did wrong.


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