Building Soil Over Winter- No dig garden beds

No dig garden bedsA vegetable plot built from layers of newspaper, mulch and compost, where nature does all the hard work. Too good to be true or a dream come true?

I side with the latter, I am a major fan of ‘No Dig’ garden beds.

What exactly is a no dig garden bed?

It’s a garden bed that relies on nature to do what nature does best. It’s made with layers of newspaper, mulches and compost that whilst decomposing, encourage the growth of worms and millions of microorganisms that benefit plant growth.

When you physically dig up a garden you disturb the amazing frameworks underground that are built by these organisms, as well bringing up buried weed seeds that will start growing. A no dig garden eliminates this.

My soil is hard clay, will this still work?

Yes it will, but time is a factor. Luckily nature has some helping hands for you in the form of worms.

Earth worms are amazing, a gardener’s best friend really. The larger amount of earthworms you have, the better your soil. These wonderful little creatures turn over and aerate your soil brilliantly, whilst simultaneously excreting worm castings which are bursting with nutrients. You can encourage more worms by adding manure and compost to the layers in your bed. Read More

April in the Garden- Autumn to do List

Little steps now will result in big leaps come spring. Use this time, before it gets really cold to get organised around the garden.

Clean up your leaves

Rake up those leaves that the trees have kindly dropped for you, into a pile. If they’re wet, let them dry out for a day in the sun. Then, shred them by running your lawnmower over them. Add this carbon rich leaf goodness to your compost bin, alternating with green materials (such as lawn clippings and kitchen scraps).Autumn to do List

Green Crop on your garden

Will you be using all of your vegetable patches in the winter? If not, it’s a good idea to plant a green crop to add nitrogen back into the soil come spring time on those unused. Green crop can include a mix of mustard seeds, peas, lupins, buckwheat and oats. Read More

April in the Garden- The Quintessential Quince

April in the Garden- The Quintessential Quince

My in laws live in Martinborough, a town in the beautiful Wairarapa region. They live in an idylic setting, their cottage style house surrounded by fruit trees and an olive grove in their back yard. My husband and I got married there and will always be a special place for me.April in the Garden- The Quintessential QuinceTheir driveway is lined with huge, well established quince trees that welcome in spring with stunning blossoms and in summer and autumn are always heavily laden with fruit.April in the Garden- The Quintessential QuinceQuinces are delicious and can be cooked and prepared in many ways. Sort of a like a really hard and slightly fuzzy pear. The down side of a quince is that it is way too hard and sour to eat raw so it has to be cooked. The upside? Quince crumble, baked quince, poached quince, quince jelly, quince paste… Read More

April in the Garden- The Humble Beet

April in the Garden- The Humble Beet

Sow from seed this month: beetroot, carrot, broad beans, lettuce, bok choy, peas, radishes, silverbeet, onions. 

Plant from seedlings this month: beetroot, broccoli, cauliflowers, brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, celery. 

Leaves are falling and covering the ground in a crunchy blanket. The (few) deciduous trees we have are starting to shed and change their colouring. The seasons seem to go so fast but luckily I love each and every one of them.

April in the Garden- The Humble Beet

Autumn is a busy time in the garden. Spent summer crops need to be pulled out and winter crops put in. Garden beds that will be unused in winter can be covered in green crop so they’ll be revived for next spring.

People have often asked me what I grow to feed my family in Autumn/Winter. The answer is: a lot! It may seem like it’s is a tricky and bad time to grow vegetables but it’s not really. Sure, it’s not the most pleasant time to be out in the dirt (especially if it’s raining) but with a bit of planning ahead you can grow a feast with not too much work. Read More

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