Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter Reading - Part 5

...A New Approach in Gardening...

I suddenly have found myself the receiptient of yet another wonderful gardening magazine. I honestly do not remember signing up for Organic Gardening but have enjoyed it thoroughly, cover to cover, each time it appears in my mailbox.

This winter edition arrived in a very timely fashion while I was pondering how to get my gardens working for me during the winter & planning on becoming a water miser next summer.

But the article I absolutely fell in love with deals with a no-dig gardening approach by layer the growing mediums. Look at this lovely, messy, wonderfully abundant garden!

This is what I could get used to - not the immaculate, manicured, straight edges of my current gardens that drive me a bit batty. I really need to learn how to let the gardens get wild!

Here's a bit more of a close-up of what this gardener does.

This diagram shows that you don't want to skimp on the bonemeal & the bloodmeal. The nitrogen & phosphorus added in these layers aids decomposition of the hay & straw layers.

Also, don't skimp on the compost - this is what the initial seedlings (recommended as a first crop vs seeds) will be growing in & sending their roots down through.

Moisture is key also as the ingredients in this layering technique will be 'dry' for the first while.

I'm going to try a bit of no-dig gardening this year in my beds - they won't be layered as nicely as this as I've already got quite a few raised beds with soil in them. But I am not using my pitch fork to turn the whole mess into a fluffy bed. I am going to start treating my soil with a little more tenderness & am going to just add layers on in the fall & see what happens. I might save my back a bit of pain & also confuse the critters as to what I'm doing. I notice the birds come along very quick after I've dug up the whole mess & then planted right away. The cats also like a nice fluffy area for burying their little contributions (which are most unwelcome!).

With luck, I will find a supplier of straw this year & have a layer or 2 on by the summer for moisture retention & mulch for the winter.

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