Tuesday, June 3, 2008

...and then it started raining!

Well, our solar hot water system is working, but the weather isn't. We've had about 300mm of rain over the past couple of days - local flooding, roads cut etc. (By the way, we also had to put off the delivery and installation of a second rain water tank until the weather cleared up! Our timing is out of sync at the moment).

The garden coped pretty well with the heavy rain, with the excess water quickly evacuating off the land or into our dams.

These recent heavy rains demonstrated why (here in Queensland) we need to plan our gardens so that nutrients are stored in the bio mass of the plants, rather than the soil. Our soils suffer from leaching due to the huge amount of rain we get in short bursts and then we get the strong sunlight which causes oxidation! So mulching our soils and constantly adding organic matter (compost and worm castings) are vital.

We also have thick plantings of Queensland Arrowroot on the lowest points of our property, this means these plants can collect and store the nutrients that run down the hills and we can then harvest them and either; feed them to the chooks, feed them to the worms, use them in compost or as a mulch - returning those precious nutrients back into the soil. Permaculture in action! The lush thick leaves of the Qld arrowroot hold plenty of moisture and are one of those useful plants we all love.

Mulch also prevents splashback on the underside of the leaves of the plants, which could otherwise contribute to disease. Plus it eventually breaks down adding even more organic matter to our soil.

So, hopefully we'll have a couple of days of sun to get things washed and dried, to give the garden a rest and time to absorb all that rain (do you know that soil that is high in organic matter acts as a dam holding a huge amount of water?) , and generally recover before we get the next bout.

Just heard on the news that they are predicting June to be very wet. So hopefully that new tank will soon be full too!

A lovely gift from all that rain has been bountiful daily harvests of field mushrooms from our mushroom compost!

It does show us how we are so vulnerable to the weather when we grow our own food. Something lost on those who shop exclusively at supermarkets.

That's why this Thursday I'm voluteering to pack organic vegie boxes at a local food co-op - you never know when you might need them!

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