18 November 2009

Weeding, Fertilizing and Mulching our Vegetable Garden

The last 3 weeks we were so busy preparing for our vacation, enjoying our vacation and getting back in routine after our vacation, that we only did the bare minimum to keep our vegetable garden going. The last week’s ongoing rain also didn’t give us a change to get into the vegetable garden. On Sunday the sun was shining again and Heidi-Mari and I headed for the garden! It really needed a proper weeding.

We had a wonderful time weeding the beds, enjoying the soil under our hands and adoring our vegetables that start to show promise of fruit! We are so excited about our little tomatoes!

We are already enjoying our delicious lettuce, herbs and strawberries.

To think we are tending the soil and little plants, and within a few weeks we will be able to enjoy the fruit on our labour. Tomatoes, beans and carrots.

After we weeded the beds, we poured some liquid fertilizer, from our Bokashi bins on our young plants.

We have two Bokashi bins in our kitchen. All the organic kitchen scraps from vegetables and fruit, goes into the bins. After every layer of kitchen scraps, we sprinkle a layer of bokashi.

Bokashi is micro-organisms that actively decompose your kitchen scraps and eliminate any smells. Every 4-5 days I am able to harvest at least a liter of liquid fertilizer from my two Bokashi bins. As soon as my second Bokashi bin is almost full, we empty the first Bokashi bin on our compost heap and start to fill up the first Bokashi bin again.

The soil in my vegetable garden beds consist mainly out of horse manure, peanut shells and a small percentage of clay soil (the only soil we have on our property). Over the past month we observed our herb and vegetable leaves have a pale yellow colour due to lack in Nitrogen in the soil. It appears that the horse manure wasn’t mature enough and depleted the soil of Nitrogen. As soon as I added two to three shots of the Bokashi bins’ liquid fertilizer the leaves turned into a deep green. I’m now revamping my outside compost pile, to ensure the soil for the fourth raised vegetable bed (we currently have 3 raised vegetable beds and I desperately need more) contains better compost. I need a better balance between carbon-rich material and nitrogen-rich material in my compost pile, to create the kind of soil in which vegetables will flourish. Carbon-rich materials are called brown compost and are dried leaves, bark, twigs, straw and sawdust. Nitrogen-rich materials are called green compost and are grass clipping, fresh garden clippings and kitchen scraps. I’m aiming for about two-thirds brown to one-third green compost, in my compost pile.

I’ve also added the liquid fertilizer on the side to my lemon, fig and oak trees. The result in growth was astonishing!

Christo bought me Jane’s Delicious Garden – How to grow organic vegetables and herbs in South Africa. I’ve only read part of the first chapter on Organic Gardening and already learned so much! I’ve also added our used organic ground coffee (CJ collected it over the last few days) to the soil in the beds to enrich the nitrogen content.

After a weeks rain, we also had a lot of snails on our lettuce. We broke egg shells and scattered it between the lettuces.

We also covered part of the beds with mulch in the form of hay. The mulch will regulate the temperature of the soil, keeping it cooler and reduce the growth of weeds. We could only apply the mulch were the seedlings are 5cm and higher. Thus between the tomatoes and beans.

That’s all for now, I need to get back to my compost pile and do some more reading. The secret is all in the soil!


Petra said...

Also be careful not to plant root vegetables (like carrots) in manure rich (strong/before decomposed) soil as this could make the carrot root split/fork!

Happy vegg-ing!

Linnie said...

Thank you for the advice, Petra. I will give my carrot plants some extra liquid fertilizer.

Wendy said...

Well done Linnie...your garden is looking wonderful!

Linnie said...

Thank you Wendy! All the credit to you, for sharing what you know! We are learning so much from your blog and website!

AutumnVine said...

So mooi! En dan goed nog vir mens ook. Wil graag meer leer.

Linnie said...

Goeie more AV, so lekker om jou hier op my blog te sien!
Ja, dit is vir my geweldig terapeuties om vroeg oggend in my groentetuin te kuier!
Gaan loer gerus op www.its-our-life-for-six.blogspot.com - Wendy is ook 'n tuisskool ma, hier van die Kaap en ek het al my inspirasie by haar gekry!
Hoop jy het 'n heerlike week!

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