There were 20 people at our first virtual share last Saturday (4th April). It was a much welcomed “gathering” of friendly faces, home-made videos and successful discussions that didn’t involve talking over one another.
I am finally sending out the notes I promised. More importantly, the weather has changed. How very exciting for our seeds and seedlings, they have been waiting for this moment!
Without further ado, below covers much of our discussion from the Share, I’ve also included links to help you on your gardening journey:
BEING A GARDEN DETECTIVE
We talked of pH testing and how often you should do it…the verdict was once a year/season when you’re preparing your beds. You might also test your pH when something isn’t quite right. Sometimes water, fertiliser, mulch and manure aren’t helping and that’s when you should look deeper. We have a wonderful guide on our website called “Root to Fruit” put together by our long standing member, Vanessa. Each plant will have a slightly different pH preference to the other. Take a look at Vanessa’s guide to help determine what’s going on below the ground and how you can tweak things. While we’re talking pH, a tester kit can be purchased online or from any of your local gardening shops. Even better though is sharing a pH tester kit with a friend or neighbour, a little bit goes a long way.
MANURES & MULCH
Manure is widely used in Broome and we’re lucky to have several different local sources, including cow, camel, horse and chicken (from backyard poultry keepers). Many people swear that cow manure is the best type, but little is known of the properties of camel manure…some locals though, will swear that camel is the best. But really, the best option is what’s available and easy for you. They all provide valuable nutrients for the plants in your garden. Just remember that you may need to age or compost your choice for 3-6months before use. This can help kill weed seeds and make the manure more “palatable”for your plants.
Mulching is so essential in Broome. When it’s ridiculously hot, the mulch helps keep temperatures down. When it’s perfectly sunny and dry, it helps keep precious moisture in. There are lots of options for mulching: hay, straw, compost, tip mulch, shredded leaf litter and more.
We even have a fact sheet called exactly this: MANURES AND MULCH
WHAT TO GROW NOW
A few months ago we asked you what you grow in your dry season and wet season gardens. You can find a compilation of what locals grow in the dry here.
We saw the option of dripper irrigation on the home gardeners’ video during the April share. This is a convenient way to keep on top of your garden’s watering needs. Set it and forget it (almost). However, other options might work better for you. You may consider aerial watering. This can be useful to help keep things cool, add a little extra water during the middle of the day. Alternatively, you may enjoy the meditative option to hand water. Trial and error and a regular finger in the soil will help you keep water at the right levels.
A PERMACULTURE PERSPECTIVE ON BROOME BACKYARDS
And to finish off I’m sharing notes from two permaculture gurus from the South West who visited Broome in 2014, you can find them here. Particularly relevant to our talks on soil improvement was this passage on how to improve our beloved pindan:
“…use biodynamic principles to grow veggies in raised wicking beds using pindan that has been infused with worm castings and bio-char, watered using worm juice and diluted human urine, with a 70% sandstone/beige colour shade cloth covering.”