Yes its spring and a very exciting time of year for the gardeners. Behaving a little like fruit trees, us humans have a tendency to become a little dormant during winter. However, as I mentioned in last months’ blogpost winter is a great time for planning, and with the arrival of spring it’s action time.
The time I have invested in composting is paying off, with plenty of supercharged garden food to be spread around to give the garden a boost as the soil slowly warms. Nutrient cycling and soil activity can still be a little slow early spring, so adding compost will give plants a readily available source of goodness. Great for existing plants and for pre-planting of all those seedlings being raised through late winter….especially if you have a makeshift greenhouse…
This project kept Nat and I busy for a week or so during the cooler times. There is 4 large cedar windows picked up from a recycled building supplies yard, and all the other timber, roof sheeting and metal bibs and bobs were scabbed from a green shed in Canberra, and waste depots here on the coast. Total cost was about $150, and some apologies to my assistant for excessive bossiness.
The greenhouse has been one of the best investments in the garden yet, and has made seed raising a lot easier and far more enjoyable. A wind and rodent proof environment is nice and toasty, perfect for early seedlings. With 8 sliding windows summer conditions can be managed with ease. With a nutrient packed seed raising mix you’re sure to get great results. The high quality homemade compost is perfect for seed raising mix.
This set up is great for us, but on a backyard scale, sunny window sills can have similar benefits to a greenhouse. Alternatively there are plenty of ideas on the net for building small seedling enclosures on a budget. Don’t fret if you are the impatient type, you can always bypass the whole seed raising process by visiting your favourite nursery and purchasing an instant garden, a simple short cut to your spring garden.
So it’s time to get busy preparing the beds with compost, manures and mulching where required to set things up for the summer crops. Pelletized complete organic fertilizers are another good option.
My soil tests identify low calcium levels so Ill be adding lime as it takes a month or 2 to become accessible to those all-important solanceaes… tomatoes, capsicums and eggplants. Low calcium is responsible for blossom end rot in many of these fruiting vegetables.
I still have some (very) late fruit tree pruning to do and making more fertilisers such as nettle tea, seaweed tea and comfrey tea, excellent organic inputs in the garden and as foliar feeds during the summer months.
As for harvesting, yesterday at The Tilba Growers market I was selling silverbeet, English spinach, sprouting broccoli, baby leeks, lettuce, kale and radish. I also had a fresh harvest of watermelon radish, which made a great talking point with shoppers.
If you have been hibernating through winter, that’s ok, there’s still plenty of time to get a rough summer plan sorted or, get your garden charged and ready for summer plantings.