I still keep coming across well meaning people who want to grow vegetables but are doing things that make it very hard for them to have decent long term results. While there ARE exceptions to these simple rules -we want to maximise the growth and production of your plants and hard work. This list might be a check for all of us and perhaps you can add some more to this list -or exceptions - or you can disagree -above all have fun!
1. You need some sort of medium to grow your plants in -soft soil, sand with organic matter and others
2. Maxiumum full sunlight all day if you can
- you are missing out on maximum growth if your plants are missing out on full sunshine all day (for most vegetables)
-under trees has sunlight and root problems
3. No competition from other plants or tree roots
One of my first gardens was just a flop and I couldnt work out why!-the roots from a neighbours tree had found my garden and just sucked all the water and nutrients from it. I find many people labouring in their new garden only to find they are just feeding a big tree with their precious resouces -remember some tree roots can travel many metres. Dig down and check that you are free from tree roots.
While it can be done - having fruit trees too close to your veggies can mean that roots take up many of the nutrients.
Its good to grow speading vegetables in your orchard but try to use some sort of barrier (weed mat or cardboard etc to keep the fruit tree roots out of your vegetables. Growing lurcern and beans or peas can add nitrogen to your orchard soil. Some fruit growers use ground cover nitrogen fixing plants to help.
4. A good source of water. Most Aussie gardeners still run what I called a "controlled desert". Its an old general rule with fruit trees that you need 1000 litres of water for each kilogram of fruit produced. Dont underestimate what your trees need if you want abundant healthy fruit. Use hand or micro irrigation to put the water exactly where you want it -but remember soil microbes die when you leave the ground hot dry and uncovered. I like to keep ground at least mulched and moist even if Im not growing something in it.
5. A source of food for your veggies. Compost, manure, leaf litter, worm castings, manure or herb leaf teas, charcoal or ash are just some. Only time and experimenting can tell you how much to use. Especially if the manure is fresh -use little and not touching plant stems.
6. Mulching with leaves or hay or compost -is great to conserve moisture, keep the soil cooler and give material that worms canpull down into the soil.
7. Patience and persevereance when things dont seem right -use this web site to show your failures and successes. Never arrive or stop learning and always be willing to try new or crazy things!
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