Autumn 2023 - ready - seed - grow!
It's been all go here on the farm ever since the flooding and cyclone storms. What does 'all go' look like?
READY ... our in-ground summer crops such as tomatoes, zucchini and beans were destroyed in the storm, so our first job was to remove the plant remains and cover over the beds with tarpaulins.
The tarpaulins cover the beds, creating a warm damp environment. The worms and tiny beneficial bugs that live in the soil love this kind of environment. The heat and darkness kills any weeds and weed seeds.
SEED ... we set to work seeding our in-ground winter crops of kale, silverbeet, mustard and pak choi, miner's lettuce and rocket. Some of the crops are seeded in trays, and some are direct seeded into the prepared beds.
For all our in-ground beds we use the no-dig method. To prepare the beds, we fork over and feed the soil with an organic food. Then we top up the beds with about 5cm of perfectly balanced new soil. The beds are then ready to be planted into.
GROW ... preparing the beds and planting out the seedlings is a big job. We've got 18 x 20 metre beds and paths, which seems like alot while we're topping them up! We've got most of the in-ground beds planted out now ... phew.
We lost many hydroponic crops due to the wind and the 6 day power cut produced by the storms. Worst hit were the more mature lettuces, coriander, basil and dill. Most of the younger plants survived luckily. We acknowledge that as a small grower, it's important not to have all our eggs in one basket (or crops in the paddock!). We were lucky to have at least some produce to sell after the storms.
Daryn is building more hydroponics - as demand is always growing for our bagged lettuce and herbs we need to increase our production!
Many of the 'old man' pines along our farm's roadsides tipped over in the storm. The tree guys delivered to us 4 big mountains of mulch ... so we haven't had to buy mulch to top up our in-ground bed paths. There was some good that came from the storms!