give yourself lots of time, to take it easy, enjoy the whole process
- Woody Mulch Mix
- corrugated cardboard
- rich compost
- vegetable seeds and seedlings
- pioneer plants
NOTE: regarding cardboard – cardboard is not needed if your chosen growing area is already blessed with deep soil, weed free.
2 Create a new growing area.
mark out your growing space, lay corrugated cardboard down (see Note above), weight it with bricks, so that the cardboard does not move.
lay your Woody Mulch Mix into your growing spaces approx. 8 inches thick. rake it roughly evenly.
now that sounds simple and it is. the problem is, people do not usually have enough. you have to have a good source of all that raw material. You will only need to apply this same mix a couple of more times over the next 10 years (unlike straw and hay mulch, which needs 1 foot deep twice a year and does not create the consistent home that micro-organisms love).
see the post on raised beds
3 Water deeply
watch it begin to decompose. you will see steam rising in the early morning. it will be warm to hot inside. this is great! check it daily just for fun. you will begin to see that there are worms and bugs and beetles beginning to move in. do not disturb it. if you disturb it, the micro-organisms will run away. water it when it needs it. After it has stopped steaming ferociously, you will probably not need to water it. Watering when it does not need it is not usually detrimental with this Woody Mulch Mix (unlike straw and other mulches which are very easy to over water to your gardens detriment)
4 Plant a couple of fruit trees among your vegetables
you will find that there are some plants which do better if they have some shade – think like a forest thinks. part the Woody Mulch Mix making a hole almost down to the corrugated cardboard (or ground if not using cardboard) and plant vegetable seeds and seedlings.
5 “Water In”
if the sun is still directly on the plants, make sure not to wet the leaves. water on hot leaves will “burn” the leaves. “watering in” ensures that the plant is settled into the soil so as the roots are not exposed to the light and to the air, that they are married to the soil, to their new position. take the watering can or hose and gently glide some water around the plant, not too much, not too little.
6 Plant pioneer plants around the perimeter (a “hedgerow”, only round)
use a soil medium, preferably lovely juice compost. part the soil, making a hole almost down to the cardboard (or ground if not using cardboard) and plant pioneer plants such as willow – up to 25 ft, hibiscus – up to 12 ft, pigeon pea – up to 6 and 8 ft, lemon grass, native hibiscus etc . willow, with soft-woody stems can be coppiced and chopped up with secateurs and layed on top of Woody Mulch Mix. this maintains the integrity of the Woody Soil Mix. others can be plucked and layed on top of the soil. all these serve as a hedgerow which provide green carbon for mulching, and the growing plants will hold the edges of the new bed in place. if you need more growing space, you have two options: 1 make the circle larger. or 2: do the same as you have already done, and butt the new garden bed up against the first one, so that it is a continuous garden, rather than a separate garden bed. in this manner, you extend the home of the micro-organisms that are already there.
After 12 months, you can get a soil test, just to satisfy your curiosity – and mine.
yes, i would love to know your results. You can make a comment below this post.