This is the time of year I like to slow down on the growing and try and put back some goodness into the soil. This I find challenging, because I’m always feeling the need to grow as much as I can for as long as I can. But I know that the benefits will be there as the weather cools and the vege garden is at it’s most productive time.
Here in this part of Australia, we can grow almost year round, the heat from December through to March can be at it’s hottest though. So in countries where they put their garden to bed over the Winter, I almost feel like this should be a time for us to do the same.
This garden is ready to mulch and left to break down. I have grown alot of green manure crops over the years in my garden, things like mustard, barley, broad beans, premix blends. When you have a large garden like mine it’s a good way to cover a large area with minimal cost.
Comfrey and Arrowroot are handy additions to the garden. The poultry love it too. I find the Arrowroot extremely hardy whereas the comfrey needs some shade and extra water. The other thing I absolutely love to grow in the cooler months and is very similar to comfrey is borage, the bees just love the flowers! And once you have grown it, it will keep coming back all on it’s own when the conditions are to it’s liking.
Another way that I feed my soil and have seen the benefits to my vegetable garden is keeping a big bucket in my kitchen (with a lid, it can get smelly) and place all of our scraps in there that the chooks are not given for example potato peelings, onion skins, banana skin, egg shells, tea leaves, all that sort of thing. And when the buckets full, dig a hole and throw it in! Easy and free. To me I think of my whole garden as a worm farm, I feed it, I mulch it and I keep away from chemicals.
Flowers and herbs are essential to a healthy chemical free garden. I have calendula, marigolds, salvias, clover, lucerne, zinnias, buckwheat, sunflowers, lemon verbena, basil, dahlias and many more popping up and being planted. This keeps the good/beneficial insects fighting the good fight in my garden and also brings me alot of joy and satisfaction. So many of my plants are left to go to seed and they come back all on their own year after year. Once again minimal cost or no cost really and huge benefits for myself and the garden. The plants get stronger as the seed is adjusting to my soil and conditions, this is why saving your seed verses always buying it in is so important. Each year you save your own seed, that seed amazingly becomes more and more resilient and adapted to your soil and your conditions. The miracle of the created world around us! And you are becoming more self-sufficient, not relying on other people in an ever changing world.
I have a simple Comfrey Ointment recipe to share, if you google the benefits of Comfrey there are many. It is so good for so many things. This is a cream I used to make frequently, to be honest I haven’t for some time, but have been thinking I should get into the habit again. It makes enough for yourself and to share.
- 80 Grams Comfrey Leaves Finely Chopped
- 50 Grams Beeswax
- 270ml Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
- Place oil in a pot and add comfrey leaves
- Bring to the boil then simmer for about and hour ( I usually turn it off after about 15mins and let it sit in the hot oil, then heat it up again for a bit)
- While the comfrey is simmering grate your beeswax then tip into a bowl
- Pour your comfrey/oil through a strainer into the beeswax and stir until wax melts
- Mixture should start to thicken as it cools, place bowl into a bowl or sink of cold water
- Once mixture is nice and thick put into jars and store in fridge