Tuesday, 21 March 2017

March 2017

My new monthly blog "Sustainable Organic Gardening" is a gateway to the pages of my (10) older blogs.  The data contained in these pages deals with different aspects of my gardening story.

 

The new blog's pages are summaries of the same topics, but they contain embedded links which go to the original blog pages for more detail.

 

In future, the pages in the older blogs will be updated regularly, but I will not be posting to the blogs themselves.

 

Regular updates will continue to my Facebook and Google+ pages.

 

John Ashworth .....23rd March 2017.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

February 2017

In 3 days it will be autumn here in Australia, and the summer has been very dry, although not as hot in Melbourne as it usually is.  The reason for this blog is to update you on my organic lawn.  Despite only having 2 days of meaningful rain where I live over the past 13 weeks, the lawn has coped very well with a weekly hour long drink from the sub-turf drip irrigation system.

Added to that, I have not fed the lawn since last April when I applied a top dressing of 9 litres of filtered compost.  I do spray the lawn with aerated compost tea every month, but it only gets about 7 litres each time.  By mowing the lawn every week to about 75mm thick, the roots have established a strong deep network and they seem to be finding plenty of water in the subsoil.  The dense mass of leaves and runners on the surface is acting like a mulch and helping the highly active microbe population in the root zone to retain nutrients and moisture and minimise evaporation.

I will feed the lawn with the same quantity of filtered compost again in April to help keep the beneficial soil microbes fed during winter when photosynthesis is lower.  (The plants will be producing less root exudate because of the reduced sunlight and reduced plant growth).

Friday, 13 January 2017

January 2017

It is said that a lawn is unsustainable and consumes vast quantities of chemical fertiliser and garden lime to stay viable.  Most organic gardeners refuse to grow them. 

I believe my lawn is sustainable and a net contributor to my garden ecosystem.  The only additive this lawn requires is a little homemade compost each year (about 20 litres sieved as a top dressing in September, and 15 litres of aerated compost tea each month applied as a drench using a watering can).  Irrigation is provided when needed using a sub-turf drip line system.

Because I keep the grass thick, evaporation is not a major problem even in very hot dry weather.  The lawn manages very well with a weekly 2 hour soak in extreme conditions, and 1 hour in more moderate summer conditions.  In the cooler months it usually copes well with just rainwater.

When mowed, it's a very useful source of green (high nitrogen) organic waste for the hot composting system.   I think I get about 400 litres of clippings a year off this lawn.
Rugged red Canna Lillies, blue Agapanthus and Euphorbias look good in the hottest weather, and provide a pleasant setting for the lawn.
These Coleus love the shade provided by my Apricot tree.  I propagate them from cuttings every year in late summer, and keep them under glass all winter before planting them out in spring.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

October 2016.

These Spanish Bluebells look good under the canopy of the Silver Birch tree.
The Seaside Daisies have lived in this protected sunny spot for well over 20 years.  They always look good at this time of year and continue to flower throughout the rest of the year with very little attention.
My Californian Lilac is getting a bit big for my small garden, but it is magnificent with its small shiny dark green leaves and striking fragrance.  I will cut it back hard after it has finished flowering to control its size.