Yesterday’s evening session went very well. It was a mad whirl of planting, digging and watering. Dani, Annemarie and Fiona went on a planting spree with all the seedlings Fiona and Tom had reared in their greenhouse. The perennial vegetable garden is now full of new plants and is really starting to look the part.
In the test-bed area Annemarie added to her collection of edible weeds and Carl and Tom started work on a new experiment: the dead wood swale, adapted from ‘Hügelkultur’. In a dead wood swale you fill a ditch with well watered woody and other organic material, cover with soil and plant directly into it. Since the woody material holds moisture extremely well, this helps us with our main site aim of increasing water retention, while improving the quality and structure of the very dusty soil over time. This is desperately needed because only artificial fertiliser was used in this area in previous years and the soil is approaching dust-bowl conditions. Again, in digging the trench the earthworm count was a big fat zero (the conditions are too dry and lack the organic matter which is their food).
Well, at next meeting we’ll be gathering woody material and filling in the huge trench also a bit more planting, another trench to dig and definitely some weeding too.
Hope to see you all next time!
regards Fiona and Tom
N.B.: For more information on Hügelkultur check: Toby Hemenway, 2009. Gaia’s Garden; A guide to Home-Scale Permaculture.