Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Regional living - the lazy person's approach to gardening 5: digging your first plot

Now that you have purchased your first herb seedlings, it is time to prepare your first plot. Now here we come to some firm rules.

Remember, this is the lazy person's guide to gardening. Not for you the vast expanse of prepared beds. You are time poor and want the pleasure and results with minimum effort. Overgrown is in fact good, because that way the soil is resting.

Now here is something that I should have mentioned in my last post but forgot. Hey, no-one's perfect! While buying some herb seedlings, you really should have bought the following:

  • Some lucerne hay, although even sugar cane or some other form of mulch is good.
  • Along with some chook manure, dynamic lifter or equivalent. Plus some blood and bone.

I am assuming that you have some old newspaper around. If not, you should have been collecting that too.

Okay, now wander outside to look at the garden.

Work out the absolute minimum size of bed you need to plant the seedlings you already have. Now double it. You need the second half for next week end's plantings.

Weed this part of the bed, putting the weeds on the compost heap. This should take you fifteen to twenty minutes. Put the chook poo or dynamic lifter plus blood and bone on the bed. Plenty is good. Please don't breath the stuff, it's not good for you. Now water.

All the conventional gardening books say water properly. For the lazy gardener like me, that's rubbish.

It is true that if you water for a short while, the wet soil forms a thin skin on top. Try it sometime, you will see what I mean.

In my case I water till the top layer is wet, wait until the water has sunk in, then water again. Once that has sunk in I then turn the soil over. This redistributes the top damp soil plus chook poo etc into the soil. I then put another layer of blood and bone plus chook poo onto the top of the bed and water again in the same way and dig in. If necessary, I water once more, this time without any additions. Two, perhaps three times, and the soil is both moist and fertilised. All very time and water efficient.

All seedling packs say water even if the soil is moist. This is one instruction I follow. I dig little holes, use a watering can to water, wait until the water has sunk down, then put the seedling in in the centre of a little hollow. Then, once planted, I water just around the plantings very gently with the watering can.

Once this has sunk in, I water the whole cultivated area again using a light spray with a hand-held hose. This time I do try to water properly because I want to soil moist before mulching.

Now we come to one of the real keys for the lazy person's approach to gardening, the role of mulch. Mulch is God's gift to the lazy gardener. I rip up paper or cardboard, it really does not matter want paper products you use, and put it down round the plants. Then put your mulch on top of the paper and water again just to bed the mulch down. This stops it blowing away in the wind.

You now have a planted, mulched area plus a second area of soil. You leave this until the next weekend to allow seeds to germinate. In the meantime, you can water the planted area very easily with a watering can as required, carefully watering in the holes left in the mulch. It only takes a few minutes, with the mulch keeping the general soil moist.

In the next post we can extend our planting.

Introductory post in series. Previous post. Next post.

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