IN THIS ISSUE (click on the topic to go there directly)
GREEN MANURE CROPS FOR BUILDING SOIL FERTILITY
At our January meeting Jill and Eddy Galea provided a very insightful presentation on Green Manure Crops for Building Soil Fertility. The couple have been organic gardeners for over 20 years and previously were members of the Brisbane Organic Garden Group. Eddy and Jill believe gardening should be simple and easy and employ crop rotation. Green manure is the cheapest way, easy to grow and does not contain the weed seeds found in horse and cow manure. Chicken manure heats up and burns crops.
Suggested green manure crops for summer include sorghum, cow peas, Japanese millet and mung beans. In winter - oats, wheat, lupins and the grain type of green manures grow better. Alfalfa, clover, endive, radish and fenugreek can be grown in both seasons.
Green manure helps to suppress weeds in a fallow garden bed, reduces soil erosion and aids in water retention. All green manures improve soil structure and the organic material feeds the micro-organisms and worms who in turn tunnel and fertilise the soil. Green manure can also be spread over compost. Green manure takes 6-8 weeks till harvest which can then be cut and dropped or pulled out and let sit on top providing an instant mulch. Worms and bacteria will break down green manure roots.
Eddy doesn’t like to disturb the underground organisms and so disturbs the soil as little as possible. Soil needs to be kept moist and rest between seasons. Any digging is only shallow. New garden beds can be started with green manure. Deep rooted Lucerne will bring minerals up from deep down in soil and help fix nitrogen. Grasses don’t do this. Lucerne can be trimmed back to ground level every 3-4 weeks and used in salads. Sweet corn cobs and stalks can also be used. Cut the stalks into billets and run the mower over them.
Some seeds (legumes) require inoculation or a particular bacterium to be added to the soil to provide the full benefit of nitrogen fixation. Some commercial seeds have chemical coatings.
Ideally, seeds should be soaked before planting.
2019 ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - MEMBERSHIP FEES DUE 28th FEB
2019 AGM. Our 12th Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 26th March at 7pm at our regular venue: Mc Naught Hall (Uniting Church hall). It will include the election of the Management Committee for the year 2019/2020. The AGM agenda will be included in the March 2019 Newsletter and will include motions to be voted upon, if any. The AGM will be followed by our normal monthly meeting.
We hereby invite nominations for all positions on the Management Committee. The Committee consists of: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and four ordinary members. These positions become vacant at the end of each year and can only be filled by nominations at the AGM.
Please help ensure BOGI's continuation by agreeing to be nominated or nominate another member (subject to their written agreement). A nomination form with the required details is attached to this newsletter.
Membership fees due 28th February.
Membership renewal - fees are due by 28th February 2019. Fees are: Single $15, Family $25.
You can pay by
Cash at the February meetings, or
Cheque made out to "Bundaberg Organic Gardeners (Inc)" which can be handed in at the January or February meetings or mailed to "PO Box 1458 Bundaberg South, Qld 4670" or
By Direct Bank transfer: BSB number 64 56 46, Account number 105739103, and reference: YOUR NAME.
Repeat: If using Direct Bank transfer, please add your name after the reference.
FEBRUARY IN YOUR GARDEN - By Kay de Gunst
Liquid Lime: Lime supplies calcium in the soil in a form that allows the soil bacteria to make the calcium available to the plant. Lime is always recommended to people who are looking to raise their soil pH, or what is referred to as ‘sweetening’ your soil. Apply regular monthly soil drenches using 4ml applied in water to each square metre.
The Purpose of Lime: If your soil pH is 5.5, the common advice would be to add lime to raise the pH of our soil. If you know your soil's pH falls below this level, amending with lime would be appropriate. Plants can't access nutrients in acidic soils and might not grow well. Don't add lime to your soil unless you have tested its soil pH with a soil test.
When lime is added to soil, these compounds work to increase the soil's pH, making soil less acidic and more alkaline. Even though lime includes calcium and magnesium, which are essential nutrients for healthy plant growth, it's not a substitute for fertilizer.
Members can purchase Liquid Lime from our BOGI Shop, available for sale at our meetings or make arrangements with Les de Gunst (4152 9587 or 0477 014 096).
Below is a list of plantings suitable for our area and our climate in Summer.
· Seeds to be planted directlyinto your prepared ground:
Asian Vegetables; French Beans / Snake Beans; Carrots; Chokos; Eggplant; Leeks; Lettuce; Marrow; Mustard Greens; Pumpkins; Radish; Rhubarb; Shallots; Squash; Sweet Corn; Sweet Potatoes; Zucchini.
· Seeds to be planted into seedling trays:
Chilli; Eggplant; Capsicum; Cucumber; Lettuce; Sweet Corn; Tomatoes.
The club has a seed bank library consisting of seeds from our member’s gardens. Club members have the opportunity to swap or select organic seeds for their own home garden use. Happy gardening.
SEED SAVING AND STORING - continued from last month.
To save your own seeds choose seeds from strong healthy plants (not the ones that weren't good enough to eat).Make sure that these plants have the traits that you liked such as flavour, early fruiting, size of flower or fruit etc. Then let the fruit, veggie, flower mature on the plant before harvesting.
Some herbs and flowers can be harvested and hung in a dry place until the seeds are ready for collection. Different fruit and vegetables need their seeds removed in various ways, some dried in their pods, some removed washed and dried, others fermented in their juices before drying but no matter how the seeds were collected and treated, they must be dried fully before storing.
Drying is best done in the morning or afternoon sun and may take several days. BE PATIENT. When seeds are fully dried store them in airtight containers (add a recycled silica pack if possible) then place in a cool, dark, dry place where the temperature is fairly stable. The greatest enemies of seeds are heat, moisture, and fluctuations of temperature.
Then VERY IMPORTANT: label your seeds. You will not remember what they are in 8 months time! On the label record: name, date of saving, and a brief description or relevant notes.
Happy seed saving!
OUR MONTHLY SEEDLINGS TABLE
This photo is of the seedling table at our January meeting.
This continues to be a very popular part of our evening when members and visitors can take home free seedlings for their garden. The seedlings are grown by members
We are attempting to have them well labelled and help people know how to look after them, and how and where to plant them. Anyone who wants extra information please ask.
As they are all grown locally, they should be adapted to our climate.
A VERY PRODUCTIVE GARDEN VISIT - Our first workshop of the year.
On 9 February 2019 sixteen of us congregated at Leslee Ryan’s garden for what turned out to be a very productive afternoon. Leslee’s garden is mainly sand with little carbon in it. So, we were asked to bring anything that was made of carbon and could help increase the carbon content of the soil: cardboard, grass clippings, worm casts, compost, you name it. This will help the soil to hold more water and plant nutrition, as well as improve soil structure. We were also asked to bring some spare plants from our gardens.
We first discussed the plants we brought: what they needed, whether they would do best in full sun, part shade or shade, how big they would grow and so on. We then divided into small working groups to plant them in appropriate spots.
One group of strong people tackled cleaning a grassy area and turning it into a bed. That included making a pond bed, have a look at the photos. This is the most basic form of this type of bed.
Other groups went to plant the brought specimens in the right places: some in Leslee’s still new wicking bed, some in shaded spots and some in the orchard. Below are some photos.
It was very hot and Leslee re-invigorated us with a cool and very welcome afternoon tea.
Following that we went to Carlyle Gardens Retirement Village and admired a large garden run by a handful of residents. While the number of people putting work into that is small, the number wanting to buy (via a donation) the produce is much larger and growing. Not unusual! We were very impressed with what that small group has achieved.
I enjoyed the afternoon, the heat notwithstanding. Peter Van Beek
Above - Clearing the area for a new bed. Making the "Pond" bed, just four planks nailed together.
It is lined with plastic to keep it wet for plants like Kang Kong, Brahmi and Gotu Kola that all thrive in wet conditions.
Below - Left.The wicking bed made some three months ago. Some new plants were added to that.
Below - Right - Adding fish emulsion to the water used for watering-in new plants – it stimulates root formation.
- Wetting newspaper to place around newly planted trees to suppress weeds, keep the soil
around the new roots a bit more moist and add to the soil carbon.
TO ‘GREEN MANURE’ OR NOT - endorsements by science.
Here is a brilliant summary in simple language of how to reduce chemical farming / gardening inputs and how to improve your soil health.
If you want to grow without chemicals and fertilizers and increase the density or quality of your food then watch this video and read the attached paper.
Christine Jones - Soil Scientist - Great short interview with
Dr. Christine Jones on reducing chemical farm inputs.
To watch the video, just click anywhere on the following link while you
are on the Internet:
Building soil carbon with Yearlong Green Farming. As above just click
anywhere on the following link while you are on the net:
BOGI may watch this video one meeting and then discuss. When questions arise please bring them to a meeting for discussion.
WHY THE WESTERN DIET NEEDS TO SHIFT TO A "PLANETARY HEALTH DIET" IN AN AGE OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
This link from the ABC News website has been sent in by Alex van Beek. The article was written by Rosemary Stanton and Kris Barnden and is sobering and well worth a read.
A report by 37 experts from 16 countries and published by EAT in The Lancet medical magazine recommends doubling veg, fruit, nuts and legumes, ditching refined grains for whole grains and at least halving our consumption of red meat and sugar. 100grms of red meat, 200grms of chicken and 200grms of fish per week should be our limit.
Our Government needs to lead the way and put money into making local fresh food readily available and affordable. It needs to SUBSIDISE and PROMOTE sustainable farming practices and it needs to protect our environment. Then we will reap the benefits of a healthy population and a healthier planet. To read the article, just click anywhere on the link below while you are on the Net.