Ways to save your gar­den

The Tribune (NZ) - - IN THE GARDEN -

ro­tary-hoed in.

At some point, the soil micro­organ­isms can’t process this or­ganic mat­ter any fur­ther, and the left-over ma­te­rial is called hu­mus. Con­sist­ing mostly of car­bon, hu­mus is so sta­ble that it can per­sist in the soil for hun­dreds of years.

This is why those who farm with­out chem­i­cals (which de­stroy the soil struc­ture) have far fewer prob­lems dur­ing drought times. A layer of or­ganic ma­te­rial over hu­mus-rich gar­dens fur­ther en­sures lower mois­ture loss to sun and wind.

This is a long term pro­ject but im­prove­ment will oc­cur within a year, as long as the mi­cro-or­gan­isms, which must be present in large pop­u­la­tions to make hu­mus, aren’t com­pro­mised.

That means no chem­i­cal sprays, no chem­i­cal fer­tilis­ers (a lit­tle for spe­cial rea­sons oc­ca­sion­ally is ok) and no chlo­ri­nated tap wa­ter. Fit a car­bon bonded fil­ter and hous­ing onto your gar­den tap to re­move the harm­ful chlo­rine if it’s in your wa­ter sup­ply.

Con­tinue to pro­gres­sively add or­ganic, chem­i­cal free ma­te­rial.

When weed­ing, lay the pulled weeds on the soil sur­face to feed the soil and re­turn the nu­tri­ents they have ex­tracted.

Ap­ply monthly to quar­terly, a com­bi­na­tion of Magic Botanic Liq­uid (MBL) and My­cor­rcin as a soil drench, along with potash. Ev­ery three months, add a soft gar­den lime, dolomite and gyp­sum and dur­ing sunny, hot or windy times, an all-over spray of Va­porguard.

Fol­low th­ese sim­ple in­struc­tions and ev­ery year, drought prob­lems will be­come less.

When the soil be­comes too dry, sur­face ten­sion pre­vents wa­ter from pen­e­trat­ing. So, be­fore wa­ter­ing, break the soil sur­face ten­sion by ei­ther us­ing MBL, or dish-wash­ing liq­uid in warm wa­ter, lath­ered up and spread with a wa­ter­ing can. Leave for a while to pen­e­trate then ir­ri­gate with nonchlo­ri­nated wa­ter.

To get wa­ter deeper into the soil for trees and shrubs, cut the bot­tom off a plas­tic 2-litre cor­dial bot­tle and bury it (neck down and cap off) near the plant. Then sim­ply fill the up­turned bot­tle with wa­ter.

Gen­er­ally, grey wa­ter is good for your gar­dens, and may have nu­tri­ents as well. How­ever, do not store it for more than 24 hours, and only use laun­dry de­ter­gents low in sodium (salt).

Prob­lems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmer­ston North 3570606). Email wal­lyjr@ gar­de­news.co.nz. Web­site gar­de­news.co.nz

A drought-proof gar­den makes the most of wa­ter re­sources while en­sur­ing gar­den plants don’t go thirsty.

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