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Make your own compost!
The making of compost from your garden supply of leaves and cuttings is easy and one of the best ways to practice recycling in your garden. Compost is the only way to improve the condition of existing garden soil, it helps to bind loose soil and improves drainage in clay soils. One can never over do compost in the garden, compost is the foundation of any garden and the more you add the better your garden will grow.
How to get started:
Step 1: You don’t need a bin to make compost. A pile of leaves, grass clippings and other garden waste will do but a bin does keep the compost contained and looking neater. An easy alternative is a simple 1 meter square wire cage made from chicken wire. A three-cage system allows you to turn the compost from one cage to another and store finished compost in the third until you are ready to use it.
Step 2: The two basic elements that make up compost are green garden debris (grass clippings etc) and brown garden debris (dry leaves). Green ingredients are high in nitrogen and brown materials are high in carbon. Do not add animal waste, meats, oils, dairy, diseased plants or weeds that have gone to seed to your compost. Compost piles with a balance of one part green to two part brown materials break down fastest.
Compost Activator speeds up the process
The addition of Compost Activator will also increase the speed at which your compost is ready for use. The easiest way to achieve this balance is to add one part of green material to the pile, top it with two parts of brown material and mix them together. Add in a spade of garden soil to help kick start the microbial activity in your pile after every layer of about 30cm.
Step 3: Compost also needs the correct amount of moisture to breakdown. Compost with the right moisture level should feel like a damp, wrung-out sponge. Too
little moisture slows down the decomposition rate and keeps the pile from heating up. Check your compost pile’s moisture level once a week and adjust it if necessary by adding water to increase moisture.
Step 4: Turn the pile once a week to move material from the outside of the pile in. Turning also keeps the pile from compacting, which reduces airflow and slows down decomposition.
Step 5: You should have finished compost in about two months. You’ll know your compost is finished when it no longer heats up and you can’t identify any of the original materials. The compost should be dark brown, moist and earthy smelling. Dig finished compost into your garden or as a layer on the
surface as mulch
GP lawn seed sowing article
We instinctively know that the searing heat of summer is over when the night temperatures start to drop. Yes, this heralds the beginning of autumn, which is the true planting season. Besides the amazing seeds, bulbs and seedlings that can be planted for late winter and spring colour, it is also one of the best times to sow tuft-type lawn seed. There may be several reasons for planting lawn seed other than to establish a new lawn. For example, many gardeners plant shade lawn where their current lawn won’t want to grow under trees or in other very shady areas, while others like to thicken their current lawn’s winter coverage by “over-seeding” with a cool season lawn. Runner-type grasses like Kikuyu, Cynodon & LM are better sown in early spring. If you have ever wondered just how easy it is to grow plants from seed, then you just need to try your hand at sowing lawn seed. It will also make you realise how much fun it is to watch something that you planted grow. Because of this, it is a good idea to get the kids involved since they are likely to take great enjoyment out of seeing this miracle of germination and growth occur before their eyes.
Dig the soil over to at least a fork’s depth, breaking up any clods and removing the stones – add at least one bag of compost (30dm³), for every 2m x 2m area to be planted – double this if you have poor soil.
Add 50g of 2:3:4 planting fertilizer to the soil per square metre – rake or dig it in.
Rake the soil, levelling it and holding just a little soil to one side.
Sow the seed at the recommended sowing rate. If you sow too thinly when sowing tufted lawns you will end up with patches since they do not have runners to covers the bare patches. A good idea is to half the seed and sow in one direction first and then repeat with the remainder of the seed in the opposite direction in a crisscross fashion. This usually leads to better coverage.
Once the seed had been sown evenly either add thin layer of soil over the seed or lightly rake it into the soil. The reason is that if you leave it on the surface it may be eaten by birds and end up growing in patches.
Firm the soil down using a roller or by walking over it, try not to leave depressions that can cause puddles to form after watering. This will be harmful to the lawn germination and growth.
Gently soak the new sown area. Keep the soil moist by giving it a sprinkle at noon, for about 2 to 3 minutes every day (for the first month while the lawn is establishing). Deeper watering should be done every 3 -4 days for the first month.
The seed will germinate in about a week to two weeks.
Try to keep heavy traffic off the young lawn for the first month.
Once the lawn is established water once or twice a week – as necessary.
Mowing height of the lawn is an essential aspect to consider. If you have a shade lawn the recommended cutting height is 50 – 70mm high, a semi-shade area 40 – 50mm high a full sun lawn about 20 – 40 mm high. Lawn seed for sunny areas:
Kikuyu whittet (runner lawn – tough)
LM or Berea (runner-type, non-invasive)
All Seasons Evergreen
Play Mix (traffic tolerant)
Bermuda (drought tolerant)
Lawns seed for shady areas:
LM or Berea (runner-type, non-invasive)