The summer has been and gone and I am looking forward to the cooler weather.
Queensland this year suffered from heavy rains and flooding; luckily we were spared the worst of it in our local area but the impact of the continual rain and high humidity meant that the garden suffered with an increased number of pests and diseases.
We also have mould covering the outside of the house and inside chairs, bags and shoes also had a coating of grey. We used clove oil inside to get rid of the mould but haven’t tackled outside yet. We have been waiting for the humidity to drop and the rain to stop so we can get to the mammoth task of cleaning the outside of the house.
I started my horticulture classes in February with my first lessons focussing on soil. I had never really thought about the importance of understanding PH levels, soil structure and microbial activity. My first assessment meant that I had to conduct some tests at home and I thought I would start with testing PH levels in various parts of the garden where I had a number of trees and plants struggling to survive. To my dismay I found that the “premium” soil I had bought from a local nursery to top up my garden beds had a very low PH level and was too acid for my plants. I was shocked and disappointed that the nursery was selling a product that wasnt fit for purpose.
I have since used Dolomite (lime) around the garden to help to neutralise the soil, and have noticed an improvement in the plants. I now ensure that I understand the optimum PH levels for what I am growing and test the soil and adjust accordingly.
We have also been reminded of the value of making our own compost and using it to improve soil structure and provide nutrients for our plants rather than relying on chemical fertilisers. Composting simply copies nature?s ways. Leaves fall from trees, plants grow and die and the natural cycle of decay returns nutrients to the soil.
This week I attended my first meeting of the Brisbane Organic Growers Club and am looking forward to getting advice and support from like minded people. It is good to see so many people that want to grow their own food and in a healthy and sustainable way.