The saying goes ‘many hands make light work’ and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to growing food. The last few weeks we’ve been blessed to have a couple of lovely volunteers, Kym and Nicole, helping us out for a few hours a week at the patch. This has been one of the lovely and unforeseen flow-on effects of our crowd funding campaign. More people have come to know about Gung Hoe Growers and what we’re up to here in the granitic hills of Harcourt and very generous offers of time and skills have been popping up in our inbox!
The two lovely volunteers couldn’t have come on board at a better time. As we launch headlong into spring, we’re madly trying to get all our beds ready for the next crop rotations that will fill the rows with a rainbow of spring and summer delights. This means weeding, composting, reforming beds, pulling out spent crops, Gundaroo tilling to loosen the soil deeply without turning it over, digging in the green manures and spraying compost teas. Oh, and don’t forget about all the offsite action in the Hot House sowing the seeds that will fill those rows, Phew!
It’s hard work digging green manures in, but such rewarding work knowing that we are resting our beds and feeding the soil which will be feeding us in turn. As tempting as it is to let the broad beans in the Green Manure rows fruit so that we can pick more glorious beans, the best time to dig the Green Manures in is when about 10% of the plants are flowering. You’ve got to try and catch them before they go to seed because seed production takes up a lot of the plant’s energy and the wonderful nutrients that were stored in their cells goes into the seeds (rather than back into the soil in a form that the next crop can take up). Clever aren’t they? Another great thing about using green manures is that because you plant them so densely the weeds don’t get a look in so it helps break one weedy life cycle!
With the few warmer days that we’ve started to have, some of our winter crops like kale and salads are starting to freak out and go to seed. A little earlier than we would have liked, but really, there’s no telling them! Winter has been a welcomed slowing of pace from summer’s fruity madness, and it has gone so quickly. Now we’re starting to rev up our cold little engines to get going for the beginning of the spring and summer abundance. Tally Hoe and onwards, broom broom, toot toot….
Sas and Mel