March is the first month of Autumn. So they say! March in my part of the world is transition month. A month that still has high temperatures during the day, like summer but the night temperatures start to get cooler and some early mornings I wear long pants and a hoodie to go walking.
No Dig Garden Bed
I had a goal this month to create one no dig garden bed in my veggie patch. I’m happy to report that goal was achieved. Celebrate the small victories. I used an article by Morag Gamble in Pip Permaculture Magazine as my guide. The reason I used this as a guide is because there was a difference in the layering of this no dig garden that I liked the sound of.
The change in this no dig garden layering is that the compost layer is the first layer you add on top of the soil. Usually most no dig garden guidelines suggest that your first layer be newspaper. But by changing this layer to compost and then adding the newspaper layer a few advantages happen according to Morag.
- As there is no barrier between the soil and the compost, soil flora and fauna get to integrate faster with the compost
- The compost layer stays moist and at an even temperature
- Fewer nutrients are lost from the compost
- Because the newspaper is on top of the compost, weed seeds in the compost are supressed.
- Plants roots are able to penetrate the soil layer and are more resilient and stable.
For this exercise I did want to try to use materials that were close at hand. I had a grand plan to pick up a ute load full of mushroom compost but that didn’t happen. However, I had a barrow full of compost ready to go from my own compost heap. I had collected newspaper from my general store. I had enough mulch left for one small garden bed. With the magazine article close at hand, I was ready to start!
I created this small bed on a Monday when I was feeling a bit low. Having some time to slow down and play in the garden worked wonders for me that morning. I was so in the moment that I did forget to take some pics while creating this bed! But below is the completed bed.
Give me some Greens
I love the freshness and convenience of having lettuce in the veggie patch. Growing lettuce in a polystyrene box is a perfect solution at the moment while I’m slowly gathering the materials for more no dig garden beds. Other than lettuce I also popped in a few kale and parsley seedlings. I covered the box with a micromesh tunnel to protect these tasty seedlings. Grasshoppers abound in my garden at the moment! I thought it had worked because the lettuces were growing strong. No sign of them being munched.
However, looking underneath the tunnel one morning, I realised loosely covering the box was not good enough. No kale seedlings left! At first I thought that grasshoppers had munched them. But I had noticed that a few grasshoppers had gotten into the no dig veggie bed and that the kale seedlings there hadn’t been munched.
The grasshoppers that I noticed in my no dig garden bed were ones that I had never seen before. They looked quite pretty! They weren’t as quick as regular grasshoppers. A Google image search later, I found out that they were vegetable grasshoppers.
After further reading I found out that what I thought were babies being carried on their mother’s back were actually males occupying a female’s back to deter rivals until the female was ready to mate! Of interest to me was the fact that because they are smaller than most grasshoppers they don’t cause as much damage.
Snowpeas and Worms
Waiting for seeds to germinate can be like waiting for a baby to be born for me. I was watching the seedling punnets that some snowpea and nasturtium seeds are in with anticipation. When they popped their heads up, I was excited like I was after I had my babies!
The other new arrivals are compost worms. I have bought myself two Little Rotter Worm Farms. I’m adding these worm farms to my veggie patch as part of my commitment to improve my soil.
There is a quick rundown of what has been happening in my veggie patch this past month. For more regular updates, don’t forget to Like our Facebook page.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MARCH HAPPENINGS IN YOUR VEGGIE PATCH? WE WOULD LOVE TO KNOW! PLEASE LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.
Interested in finding out more about Worms and Worms Farms, then check out Kookaburra Worm Farms. Their website is informative and their customer service is fantastic!