Seven weeks without rain

Just heard, it’s official, on the news today, 7 weeks without rain in Brisbane.

Amazingly enough the vegetables in my allotment, and the attached community garden, are producing an abundance.

We have achieved this with watering of course, but we also take mulching seriously to protect the soil from drying out.  The mulching also saves on water which we learned from the big drought here a couple of years ago, is precious.

The mulch I use in my allotment is sugar cane which the farm buys in bulk and we can purchase individually at a good price. I have also bought this from the gardening department at Bunnings. I am not sure how thick is the recommended depth (if there is one!) but I lay a couple of inches (or 5 centimetres).  I made sure I give the soil a thorough watering before I add the straw and that will give a good protection from the hot dry weather, it also deters weeds which is another plus.

I think it also helps that I have worked hard at increasing the health of the soil in my allotment by adding lots of compost and a good dose of well rotted manure, when I transplant seedlings I soak them in Seasol to get them over the shock. It’s my belief that a healthy soil with plenty of humus has helped grow resilient plants too.

Either way, Mother Nature is doing her bit and keeping my plate full. I’m grateful.

I have been digging through my photographs to find the first pics I took on the day I took over my allotment in July 2010. It is 8 square metres. I then took over a second 8 square metres next to it a few months later.

First allotment July 2010

With the big fork and a big smile

Laying compost on my new plot July 2010

I have noticed that I’m still wearing the same gardening hat. It’s a bit faded now.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jode
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 14:55:17

    I heard that about the rain today too Jean….can’t believe i am actually wishing for some after wanting it to stop a few months back. We use sugar can mulch here too although i don’t think we actually spread it thickly enough…too busy trying to be frugal i think hehe!
    Your little patch is looking great…as is the hat of course!

    Reply

  2. narf77
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 21:10:47

    I think we are having your rain here in Tasmania…want some of it back? I love that hat! Nothing says “constant gardener” than a lovely old faded gardening hat (except for dirty old moth eatend gloves ;)). Have you ever heard of Biochar? I have been beavering away learning all about how amazing it is for your soil. Check it out as there must be plenty of information from Queensland as that is where my friend and I are buying our Biochar book from. Lots of charcoal mixed into compost, wetted and added to the soil = fantastic results! Check it out, I am sure that you will get excited! (I did ;))

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Sep 07, 2012 @ 06:23:38

      Hi Fran. I am going to check out this Biochar you are talking about. Anything that improve my soil is exciting! Talking about old gardening gloves I just threw my last pair away – shame – but they were so stiff with mud I couldn’t bend the fingers.

      Reply

      • narf77
        Sep 07, 2012 @ 07:11:25

        Remember Jean “recycle, Recycle RECYCLE”…take those old dirty stiff gloves and put them to good use… make a scarecrow for your allotment! Make “her” nice and bright and put lipstick on her and give the kiddie visitors something to smile about and when you absolutely positively HAVE to get a new hat, you can retire your old gardening hat out to pastures quite literally ;)! Biochar has set my pulse on fire! It promises to be a magnificent soil ammendment. Check out Terra preta http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta and you will see what all of the fuss is about. Charcoal has been used for thousands of years to make frail and denuded soil rich and fertile and heavenly productive. Can you tell I am excited about it? Especially since its free AND we are going to make a Biochar stove to cook on this summer to keep the heat out of the house AND make acres of biochar from waste wood no good for Brunhilda like old pine, limb wood and arching canes like thick old buddleia that we have to cut back this spring. Very VERY excited 🙂 I love it when I can recycle and get something out of it in the process and the best bit is, that its free!

  3. Allotment adventures with Jean
    Sep 08, 2012 @ 02:34:51

    Hi Fran. I’ll check out the website you gave me. I’m also off to a gardening workshop with Annette McFarlane this morning at New Farm Library, I’ll have a chat with her too, see what she knows. Thanks for the reminder about recycling.

    Reply

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