Organic Soil Management – Water Repellence

Guest post by Alisa Bryce

Water repellence is when water can’t filter into a soil. Instead it pools on top and often runs off, sometimes causing erosion.

Water repellent soil (or hydrophobic soil) develops for two main reasons.

  1. When the soil has remained dry for a prolonged period
  2. The soil particles become covered with a waxy coating

Fresh compost and mulches are a frequent source of waxy coatings. This is why it’s important to use aged compost and mulch.

In Australia, overhanging eucalyptus trees are another common culprit of water repellence. As the leaves decompose, the eucalyptus oil inside is released and coats soil particles. Continue reading Organic Soil Management – Water Repellence

Top 10 Organic Gardening Terms Every Gardener Should Know

organic gardening terms
Planet – Jones Valley Urban Farm by Southernpixel

Whether you are switching from conventional gardening, or (like me) just jumping into organic gardening direct, it can be confusing to navigate the new and unfamiliar vocabulary. Knowing your organic gardening terms will help you feel confident when selecting your seeds, planning the garden or reading gardening magazines.

It seems only appropriate to address the meaning of the term ‘organic’ first. What does ‘organic gardening’ really mean? Continue reading Top 10 Organic Gardening Terms Every Gardener Should Know

The Missing Link: 15 Multifunctional Plants Missing From Conventional Gardens

When we think of food gardens, we often envision neat rows of tomato and cucumber plants waiting to be harvested. While those plants are definitely rightful citizens of kitchen gardens, growing food plants in isolation from other natural inhabitants is inefficient. When we plant a single kind of crop over large areas (called monoculture), we make the plants and soil vulnerable to pest invasions, drought and depletion. Instead, the goal is to create eco-systems in which each plant fulfils multiple functions and supports the other plants. These functions include attracting beneficial insects, deterring pests, enriching the soils and keeping moisture in.

Many of the plants below are found in the wild and are even considered to be “weeds”! Actually, weeds are really just plants that are “unwanted” in a particular area, rather than placed there by design. The key is to learn the different functions of plants and to create synergistic relationships between them. Whatever needs are fulfilled by the plants themselves, that’s the work that the gardener does not have to do. Continue reading The Missing Link: 15 Multifunctional Plants Missing From Conventional Gardens