Ewen's garden

A collection of columns, paintings and photographs about gardening on an offshore island in New Zealand.

Monday, September 05, 2005

MUCKING IN



It would seem winter is now behind us, following what everyone thought a fabulous summer, I cast a nervous eye toward the water tank. Already I have had to start watering the vegetable garden. One space beneath the pohutukawa, the soil was almost dust like. So I am now contemplating water conservation in the home and garden so we might survive without needing to buy water this summer and if rain does start to come, no problem and mulch is good for the soil structure.

On Sunday, enjoying this early spring, I joined a group of people in a new community garden. The same group of people have been running a stall at the Ostend market where people bring their excess vegetables and other produce from their gardens exchange for something they may not have. Others make a donation for the items they want. Any proceeds go towards the likes of compost and potting mix for the new garden. This group has coined the name Grow, (GRown On Waiheke). Last Sunday, tasks involved clearing the new vegetable beds, sewing seeds in the wee glasshouse, re-establishing the compost heaps and cleaning out a small tool shed. I think it was a few hours well spent with people able to work together and not only try something new, but also learn from each other. If you are interesting in being involved pop along to the market on Saturday and look out for the stall.

Other tasks under way in my garden included the cleaning the pond, no small task. To my delight I discovered I had two gold fish in the bottom! They had almost quadrupled in size in the short twelve months since I last saw them, (and that was when I introduced them to their new home!) so now I am giving them a bit of food daily in honour of their tenacity and in lieu of my neglect! Whilst here I also divided up the water plants and repotted them. All done and the extra divisions planted out in the new bog garden, I felt quite pleased with myself, I even remembered to put gravel on the top of the pots to stop the soil floating out. What I had forgotten to do, was to use garden soil instead of potting mix. Urgh! Still at least I hadn’t at this point changed the water in the pond. It is better to use garden soil as there are generally less soluble nutrients in it and therefore less to leach out into the water and turn it green. Potting mix has fertiliser in it that freely leaches out into the water; in particular nitrogen which algae particularly like. Having said all that, my pond still turns green! Even with my fountain and added plants, I suspect the pond being small and rather shallow, heats too much. This season hopefully with the addition of watercress and the water lily becoming bigger the problem will be less.

1 Comments:

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