Tip of the Week – Focus on Garden Sustainability

Sustainability means to be able to keep a system going long term without exhausting its or your resources and then falling in a heap ie your garden, yourself or other enterprises.

Here are some things to consider

1. YOU. Your garden is there for your peace & joy. It brings you back to nature and can also provide you with food and herbs. Its not there to damage your health. Protect and strengthen your back. Protect your skin from damaging rays.

2. SOIL. Whatever you take out of the soil in nutrients, minerals and trace elements must be replaced. Flowers, fruit and foliage take out N, P, K…minerals and trace elements. At some time they need to be replaced. So when you get a fertiliser look for a balanced one with N:P:K something like 10:10:10 plus minerals and trace elements. If its less than this say 2:3:2 you will just have to use more in this case 5 times.

3. Pot Medium. The same goes for plants in pots. But in this case you will need to check the potting mix and probably replace every 2 years as mix in pots breaks down to mud rapidly. If your plant requires good drainage and most do it will die in a wet mud mix.

4. Learn how to make Compost and Compost Teas as these will return most nutrients to the soil and greatly reduce your fertiliser costs. It is also a good thing to recycle waste products rather than filling up landfill unnecesessarily which is costly, damaging and unsustainable. Compost will also act as a good mulch…see below.

5. Learn how to make vermicaste with composting worms. Worm vermicaste adds another dimension to the amount of beneficial microbes you are adding to your pots in the garden. Plants will produce more and bigger flowers with vermicaste and more and bigger fruit. In winter your plants will think its spring.
Just add it to water and pour it on with a water can or spray it through a hose. If you dont see the benefits you havent done it right and its pretty simple! Again its good use of household scraps, waste paper etc.

6. Light. As your plants get bigger they might shade out sun loving plants. If this happens you may have to move your plants.

7. Moisture Conservation. Mulch your garden and pots well as it will help retain moisture and reduce your water

8. Recycle everything you can…return it to mother earth wherever you can.At our nursery we use recycled cartons recycled newspapers for packing. Used newspaper goes into vermicaste.Dead plants and pots go into compost for our gardens and also heaped for our Brush Turkey Nests. We make our own electricity from the sun and pump our own pure water from 30m below the ground. We apply vermicaste a microbial fertiliser to our plants and use very little chemical pesticides because of this.