Soil savvy

We offer some ideas for helping your garden survive extremely dry spells.

There are four key factors to making a water wise garden: plant choice, garden design and style, garden care (watering, feeding etc) and soil preparation. Soil is often the forgotten water wise factor, but good preparation and continued work on it is vital to the success of any garden. Imagine that your garden soil is a giant sponge, retaining moisture and nutrients for all your plants. You may need to amend your soil to improve its water-holding capacity, especially if it very sandy.

To achieve a well composted loamy soil, you will need some extra components:

Compost

You can never have enough compost; it is still one of the most important components to add to your soil. Not only does it add to the nutrient value of the soil, but as a sponge it holds onto water, and is part of the whole soil ecosystem of micro organisms that assist in nutrient breakdown and moisture distribution. Compost will be best used, by digging it into the soil, rather than putting over the surface of the soil.

Soils

In some areas where soil is very sandy, it is possible to work in better clay or loamy soils. Soils can improve soil texture, and unlike compost, which breaks down with age, soils last for longer. Where access to good soil is poor, consider using potting soil or fine milled bark to improve your soil.

Palm peat

Compressed coir is a by-product of the coconut industry. It is a ‘green’ or organic way of amending your soil. It is able to hold onto three times its weight in water. The brick is dissolved in 5 litres of water and it then swells up into a lovely clean loose material that is easy to work into your soil. It is a great additive to use when putting in new plants, potting up containers or planting up hanging baskets.

We offer some ideas for helping your garden survive extremely dry spells.

There are four key factors to making a water wise garden: plant choice, garden design and style, garden care (watering, feeding etc) and soil preparation. Soil is often the forgotten water wise factor, but good preparation and continued work on it is vital to the success of any garden. Imagine that your garden soil is a giant sponge, retaining moisture and nutrients for all your plants. You may need to amend your soil to improve its water-holding capacity, especially if it very sandy.

To achieve a well composted loamy soil, you will need some extra components:

Compost

You can never have enough compost; it is still one of the most important components to add to your soil. Not only does it add to the nutrient value of the soil, but as a sponge it holds onto water, and is part of the whole soil ecosystem of micro organisms that assist in nutrient breakdown and moisture distribution. Compost will be best used, by digging it into the soil, rather than putting over the surface of the soil.

Soils

In some areas where soil is very sandy, it is possible to work in better clay or loamy soils. Soils can improve soil texture, and unlike compost, which breaks down with age, soils last for longer. Where access to good soil is poor, consider using potting soil or fine milled bark to improve your soil.

Palm peat

Compressed coir is a by-product of the coconut industry. It is a ‘green’ or organic way of amending your soil. It is able to hold onto three times its weight in water. The brick is dissolved in 5 litres of water and it then swells up into a lovely clean loose material that is easy to work into your soil. It is a great additive to use when putting in new plants, potting up containers or planting up hanging baskets.

Mulch

Water wise blanket - a thick layer of mulch added to the soil around the plants in your vegetable patch is one of the best things you can do for your garden during water shortages. Covering your soil with a mulch keeps in soil moisture, prevents evaporation, prevents weeds and keeps the soil cool. Mulch is thus great for improving the condition of soil and should be done after working in any of the above components.

Investing in the quality of the soil is a water wise practice that will keep your garden in healthy shape. Work on your soil to keep your garden going during this dry period.

mulch_01

 

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