Prep your garden for autumn and winter – four easy steps

This summer has been wild, wet and wonderful for the garden. Now it’s time to prep for an awesome autumn. Here’s how to do it.

The rain over the past few months, a lot of it quite heavy, has hardened the top layer of soil. This reduces the air in the soil which plants need for root development and growth.

Instead of the back-breaking work of digging and turning the soil, there is an easier way to loosen the soil, which doesn’t disturb or destroy the many micro-organisms in the soil that contribute to the health of the plants.

Step 1 Spike and wiggle

Water thoroughly to soften the soil. Spike the softened soil using a garden fork. Drive the fork as deeply into the ground as possible and wiggle it.

This is the same technique as spiking a lawn. The effect is to open up the soil for water, air and compost to penetrate deeply without disturbing its layers.

 Why you shouldn’t dig: Digging and turning the soil tends to bring the deeper soil life that doesn’t need oxygen to the surface, while those that do are buried at sub-soil level.. Neither can survive and it takes time for the balance to be restored, which affects soil fertility.

Step 2 spread and drench

After spiking, spread at thick layer of compost or an application of organic fertiliser over the surface. Compost is a source of carbon that is the basis of soil fertility. To ensure that sufficient carbon is added, supplement with a carbon-based soil conditioner, like EcoBuz HumiGro. HumiGro is a granular product that can be dissolved in a watering can and applied as a drench. This also helps to water in the compost.

Did you know? The underlying principle of the ‘no dig’ philosophy is that the soil is an ecosystem that needs as much attention as the plants in it.

Step 3 take a break

Water well after amending the beds and leave for about a week, keeping it moist.

It may seem as though nothing is happening, but underneath the surface, the soil is teeming with life. Healthy soil includes fungi and bacteria (billions in a single teaspoon!)), protozoa, arthropods and more, which are a food source for insects and earthworms. From these come soil nutrients for take-up  by the plants.

Step 4 ready, steady, plant …

The soil is ready for planting winter and spring flowers, veggies and herbs. All you need to do is make a small hole for the plants and firm down the soil around the plant.

Give plants a good start by watering them with a combo of EcoBuz StartGro, a micro-nutrient blend for healthy development, and Root Pro, which protects the roots from soil borne disease. Root Pro contains a natural, beneficial fungus which grows symbiotically with plant roots, thereby ‘inoculating’ the plant against disease.

Mix up RootPro as a paste before diluting it  with water. It can then be mixed with StartGro in a watering can and applied as a drench.

Two weeks later apply another drench of StartGro and thereafter use MultiGro once a month as a maintenance tonic to keep the plants strong and healthy.


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