I say thank you for the rain, I can smell it already…
I am thinking of starting a “green tip for the day”. It is sometimes hard to come up with something decent to write every day. You settle into a sort of routine and you do not want to bore people with the same old same, so I think a tip for the day is a great way of always having something to write about.
Here are some tips on green gardening, just for a taster:
There is no such thing as a “weed”. You can tell the condition of your soil by looking at the weeds (or rather the root systems of the weeds) that grow there. The basic rule here is this - deep-rooted weeds thrive where soil is poor while shallow-rooted weeds prefer fertile soil.
Depleted soil will usually play host to nitrogen-fixing weeds like clover, while Stinging nettles, a common garden weed, is an indication of fertile, nutrient-rich soil. By the way, Stinging Nettle is also a medicinal plant, but more about that some other time. If you have to pull them because there is just too many and they are in competition with the plants you planted, beans and other legumes are also natural nutrient fixers.
The "weed" Stinging Nettle and the solution for the sting (right) Bulbine
Actually, come to think of it, the very best thing to do is not to pull them, but to put sheet mulch on top of it all. That way you will kill the ”weeds”, but their roots and leaves will rot and become compost for the new plants you are going to plant there.
What is sheet mulching? Pick a piece of garden where there are lots of grass or “weeds” and instead of pulling it up, just cut it short (you cut the leaves, you cut the roots). Then you put a layer of cow/horse or chicken manure on top of this patch, a nice thick layer and wet it. Do not tilt the soil. Then you place newspaper of cardboard (I prefer newspaper) on top of the manure and wet it again. Now you put mulch (any dry, dead and decomposing plant materials) on top of this and wet it again. The mulch will not blow away once it is wet and settled. You can plant here immediately. Wherever you want to plant, you make little holes through the newspaper or cardboard. Plant the little plants or seeds in the whole and fill with potting soil and mulch.
I am also learning something new every day, when it gets to companion planting, it is almost more important to know which plants do not like each other and the list is much sorter anyway. I try and memorize one every day. Today (and every other day) beets do not like beans.
There, I just wrote a whole page and it was easy.