6 days ago
At last yesterday it was cool enough to transplant some leeks, after clearing the first crop of Moroccan Cress, which had become sluggy and past it's best. Before planting any new crops in the garden, I always feed the soil first, generally with a light sprinkling of pelleted organic plant based, plant food, followed by a sprinkling of seaweed meal or rock dust, for extra potash and trace elements, and then on top of that, a good layer of homemade compost, complete with tiny red compost worms. (Scroll through for pics). A wise woman organic gardener, who taught me gardening, always said "a penny for the plant, a pound for the planting" and "feed the soil and the plants will look after themselves". And it has proven to be true, especially trying to grow veg crops intensively in this very poor sandy soil. Over the past nine years in this garden, we have gone from very poor crops with deficiencies, from lack of magnesium and other trace elements, to crops twice the size, with very few pests and diseases. If I was gardening on clay or loam based souls, as I did in the past, I would have got away with perhaps slightly less attention to soil feeding, because those soils have an ionic structure that attracts and holds onto minerals, trace elements and nutrients in a way that sandy soils don't. Here I have used a no-dig approach throughout, mulching the soil twice a year, with compost from my bins, leaf mould and thin layers of grass clippings from my neighbour, with added sprinklings of organic pelleted, plant based plant food, applied before most crops. Also every year, I've either topped dressed with rock dust or seaweed meal, to provide all the essential minerals and trace elements that this soil lacks. By not disturbing the soil and only gardening with a trowel, I hope the garden is building up a good micorrizhal network below the surface, to enable plants to access all the nutrients they need. So far, all of this has reaped increasing dividends every year, allowing me to crop intensively from a small area, without depleting the soil or decreasing the crop health and size. My patio sized fruit trees have also benefited. How do you feed the soil in your garden?