I’m loving this Winter at the moment. Crisp, fresh morning dog walks, with crimson and gold falling leaves. I can smell the mushrooms growing in the softened earth. Early rays of light tip the forested ridge lines.
These are the signs that it is time to replenish the veggie garden with some home made TLC.
Gardens are still looking plump and lush in some areas – very tempting to over harvest. Take what you need for now and allow the gentler weather to prolong your harvest.
Leaving fruit on the vine/branches gives nature a chance to sweeten the fruit and even more nutrients to pack into your crop.
The types of nutrients that plants need at this time are ones to strengthen cell walls and finish the ripening process. Tis means balance.
The last thing a laden pumpkin vine needs is a major boost to grow new leaves and shoots. The fruit will surely suffer.
Most shop bought fertilisers will have their N.P.K. ratio written on the packet. A high Nitrogen count compared to the P. & K. will give you this unwanted boost. If you are buying fertiliser, and I do sometimes, first look for the ones that say ‘Organic’ or ‘Organically Based”. It is very likely the N.P.K. ratio will be more balanced and not nearly as high – perfect for Autumn.
If the fertiliser packet does not have the ratio on there, that means there isn’t enough nutrients to have a recognisable number.
So, even though it is not as high in nutrients, that doesn’t mean it is not any good. There will be plenty of awesome goodies in it that your plants will love and help them to grow strong and healthy. The types of fertilisers that are like this are e.g. ‘seaweed’ based ones. Sometimes marketing changes the packaging and the type of promotional jargon written on it. Read WELL!
These are usually less expensive than the high nutrient ones – yeh! All the full organic fertilisers are suitable for all plants, they are also great for the soil. Soil microorganisms will love them as they make a happy place for roots to grow because they are laden with natural goodies not harsh chemicals. Organics in the soil allow the nutrients to be more available. What plant wouldn’t want to be fed with these.
Feeding with natural organic fertilisers will mean that all the nutrients will be able to be used. They won’t be lost down through the soil into the water table.
High nutrient fertilisers are easy to use badly and are therefore very unsustainable for the planet.
The most fabulous way to fertilise your plants now is to make the fertiliser yourself. You know exactly what is going into it, it will be organic, and it will be increasing your ability to be self sufficient – which is great for the planet!
They are soooo easy to make. You just need a largish vessel or two and away you go.
Ideally this vessel will have a tap at the bottom. You can put one in yourself by using a standard irrigation piece. Make sure you put some sort of filtering gauze over the inside of the hole so the veggie matter does not block up the hole.
Now we just need to start pruning and weeding your garden. Comfrey tea is an easy one to start with. Comfrey responds very well to a hard prune. Chop a big bunch of leaves and pop into your vessel. You don’t need to chop up the large leaves as these will soften up and break down in no time. Fill up with water.
This is a quick one and can start to be used in a few days. I also sneak in a handful or 2 of chook or cow manure – stir very well.
Take out about 1 – 2lts in a bucket tor watering can. Fill up the rest with more water so it is diluted to the strength of weak tea. Use on all your plants freely.
The finished sludge on the bottom is wonderful for the compost. Comfrey is a compost accelerator.
Other recipes are really what you have in your garden…
*any manures – well composted.
*weeds – preferably without seeds.
*compost – well brewed.
*worm tea – castings.
If you have a fisherman in the house, use the left overs after filleting. It’s just like making stock – ‘Garden Stock’. Ideally blitz or at least break the bones up, then they can go into the compost easily when the brew is done.
The weed teas should be left for 6-8 weeks to brew. In that time it will begin to smell. this is the anaerobic bacteria working hard. Don’t worry as this is normal. keep a good lid on to stop the smell getting out. To prevent a lot of the smell you can use an aerating pump, which pumps air through the water allowing aerobic bacteria to work.
The smell is only a problem for you, not the plants.
Have fun and experiment with all the vegetation and poo that you have in your garden/area. As long as the tea is diluted you will never have an issue. These teas can and should be used at least every fortnight in Autumn and Winter.
Fertilising for the vigorous growing times are a matter for another day, but getting a handle on the home made teas over the cooler times will have your garden well prepared for the spring onslaught.
Happy Bee Gardening