After the Garlic

So the garlics was harvested.

We planted a mixed green manure crop. Buckwheat was the most successful given the time of year and the bees were very happy.

After a 9 weeks we knocked it down, covered it in comfrey and then covered it. We will plant straight through this in a few weeks time for Garlic Crop Mark II.

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 After the Garlic.

Garlic out.

Weeds out.

Wooden raised paths out.

Earth levelled and fluffed.

Cover crop seeds sewn. (We have left over winter cover crop and we mixed it with buckwheat.)

Black cover for 2 days. (Hopefully to decrease loss to birds and the heat seems to have encouraged sprouting.)

Cover off. Which is shown above.

I’ve made a bigger trench for the irrigation pipes. I’ll cover this with a generous amount of wood chips.

Wood chips seem to be the easiest and most economical path solution.

The chips are available from stockpiles in the sports ground across the road. All my trees that get close to the powerlines are chipped by the power line people and they dump it in the reserve even though I ask them to dump it in my property.

The whole organisational of the Plot will be set of a new grid defined by the irrigation points.

More on that later.

Weed tea.


Plots 1-12 ABCDEF (but mostly A) had a soaking with some stinky weed tea. 

The chickens are nearly finished on this big plot. It will come around for planting after the 21-24 BCDEF plots I prepared today.

21-24 BCDEF


21-24 BCDEF was prepared for planting today.

This was a green mulch plot which had a small covering of mushroom mulch thrown over it when we cast the seeds.

The green mulch started to flower and I was covered with black pool liner and left.

There were at least two mouse type thing sightings.

The cover was pulled. About 1 cubic metre of mushroom mulch was added. The entire plot was lightly turned with a mattock. Then I dug it into rows oriented north south.

The north south orientation shall hopefully decrease the amount of traffic that has been crossing the “Perennial Row” (1-32 A).


I’ve left a lot of the knocked over green mulch stalks and fibres in the soil. I hope we can plant through this. I’ve also tried a different method with the “walkways”. I’ve filled the trenches with mixed leaf/branch mulch. It’s a ‘waste’ product of the electrical line clearance that happened here a few weeks ago. I’m a little concerned about the fungi in the mulch. The planks are from my lovely neighbours Sofie and Richard. They were lying out behind a shed & they let me have them. 

Chromatography 

Let’s start with a pretty picture.

Here’s our first Chromatogram.

It’s from under the Paddock. 

At 31D on the grid.

And what does it mean; well according to some of the worlds best you are pretty good at assessing these after 7000, so, 6996 to go!

But we have reasonable structure, reasonable mineral content, reasonable organic content and ok enzyme content.

I say reasonable but they are all below where we are aiming. The big thing we are missing is biological activity in the soil.

More analysis later and more explanation of what we hope to do to address that.

We had a great day today preparing and sharing a bit of Preparation 500. That was the exciting part of today but it made sense to start with the Chromatogram and then explain where we went from there.

Fire and ash

It’s finally winter and we can once again safely light a fire.

I keep fires to a minimum but some stuff will almost never break down. So I’ve been sorting and resorting the huge piles of earth and sticks and stumps. These all came from the clearance of the weed trees, the management of windfall trees, the building of the dam wall. Etc etc

My plan is to try to have a fire almost every Friday through the winter. Me being me I am double or treble dipping! First; we clean and tidy. Second; we make the site safer if we do get a fire through. Third; we make ash which will fed to the trees and plants. Fourth; We cook Friday’s dinner in the fire. Fifth; this can be nicely social at the end of the day and on our first fire of the winter we had a wee party with 6 adults and six kids. 

Worked great. Probably another 10 fires over the winter. We are only allowed to burn on Friday or Saturday by the council. And we have to call the fire authorities and register the burn too. Nothing is simple.

  

Substrate #2; Mushroom Compost.

In order to add nutrient to our soil we also sourced some spent mushroom compost.

This was locally sourced, in fact it was sourced from the nearest possible supplier. I like to support local people and businesses and also to waste less resources on cartage. However I have a doubt about this “organic” mushroom compost, I am suspicious about whether or not there is residual pesticide Etc

In general Mushroom compost is a good  source of most nutrients but low on nitrogen. It also has a tendency to be alkaline which can be a bother for certain plants. Our supplier didn’t really seem to know what pH was. We haven’t tested it. We’re going with it for now.

Our plan will be to focus on our own compost production, chickens and green mulch etc.

For now this humus rich black stuff arrived with a heavy smell and a lot of steam. Mmmmmm. Activity.