Monday, October 31, 2016

Lots of spring working, digging and planting

While I was writing this post yesterday evening the house was shaking under gale force winds. I was just typing that I hope the power doesn't go off while I was writing... then it did. It didn't come back on till 3am.

Anyway, we have had some fine days so I managed to get a heap of work done. I had a few tonnes of lime delivered so I started putting that out - by hand in buckest. Whew what a job. And the soil is finally form enough to work so I have been digging heaps of beds. I am exhausted at the end of the day.
Although the nights are still cold, only around 3-4C I have started putting in my corn, and replanting the cucurbits. I just can't wait any longer.

Compared to last year at this time my soil has come on marvelously. It actually has some body, and heaps of worms, it is also much darker in colour than the pure sand that it was. It is amazing what a year can do when you get the ph to an acceptable level and add heaps of organic matter.

Many people may not agree with my way of adding the organic matter but it has certainly worked. I originally let all the grass and weeds grow to a good height and then sprayed it with Glyphosate. All the masses of underground runners from the running grasses (couch and buffalo mainly) rotted into the ground, helped with a good rotary hoeing.

Then I laid down all the corn stems on the beds that I grew corn in and they rotted down quite quickly too. I am just amazed at how many worms there are now. When I started I could barely find one. I think raising the ph level was great for the worms as well as the veggies.

I got this broadfork made by a local metalworker> it cuts down time with digging, doesn't damage worms, and makes things easier. The only downside is the weight. I might get the next one made with wood handles. At least it is building up my arm muscles, and better on my back as there is no bending.

I am very happy with it otherwise.

I thought I had lost all my Chinese yams in the swampy conditions but I notice this one shooting in the raised bed I had a couple in last year. At least I will be able to build up numbers again.

It looks like I still have at least a couple of every root crop that were in the ground over winter so I can build up again. I might have to raise some beds for the root crops just in case we get another very wet winter/spring.

Here is a very overcrowded clump of seed raised bearded iris that did not get separated. I may have to ask around if someone wants to come and take them away. Hmmm, but they are very pretty.

It looks like only two of my hosta plants survived the wet. At least I can separate them next season to make more. Most people don't realise that the new uncurled leaves are tasty.


  1. Nice broad fork there Rowan. A bit more bracing at the bottom would not be a bad idea? Perhaps for your next one how about ordering just the metal part from Johnny Appleseed (US) and get the handles made here locally? Mine was made by Wade Nueman (sp) via Allsun Farm. His design may give you some ideas and/or more options, too.

    With spreading amendments why not buy a hand spreader … there are some out there that have a pretty big capacity and roll very easily along. They have the added advantage of spreading an 'even' layer which always helps. Have you ever thought about feeding your soil with microbes to increase their numbers (and the worms)? Also, have a look at Souther Soils in Hamilton … they do fantastic all-organic soil amendments and are very reasonable.

    Just my thoughts and always trying to help.

    1. Thanks for your advice. I forgot that I wanted to check out Southern Soils. I must get off my bum and see what they can offer.