Gaias Organic Gardens is a small and dedicated business focused on helping others grown their own food. They strongly believe if everyone just took a tiny step to recover the immediate environment in their backyards, the world would be a much more beautiful, healthy and sustainable place.
Soil is THE MOST important thing in any garden, and it is the most likely thing you will get wrong if you don’t have success.
SOIL MATTERS. In the vegetable gardens we do consultations on 9/10 times the issue is soil related: there is a good chance the problem you are having in your garden come back to the soil in one way or another.
Soil health is like gut health… the whole vegetable gardens well being depends on it. The plants get their nutrients from the soil, and you from the plants. So really the soil is the KEY to yours and your precious families health.
GET YOUR SOIL RIGHT.
In this workshop we will address the soil and how best to treat and tend to it, creating self-sustaining ecosystems and self-sustaining vegetable gardens. This is your key to success in your garden.
Workshop includes take-home notes and recipes for soil success.
TOPICS WE WILL COVER
Water and Nutrient Retention
Soil Teas- Comfrey
Composting / Worm Farm
To dig or not to dig
Mulches – And their vital role
Import or Buildup? Which is better for your garden
Mark Petruzio from Gaias Organic Gardens is a qualified and quirky teacher. With the insight on plants that will answer all your questions and his energetic personality will keep you feeling inspired and excited about your gardening journey.
Premaculture commUNITY Garden
This garden is a beautiful space for the community to UNITE and share and grow. With various volunteer programs going on we allow the space to open up a journey of learning, gaining skills and reconnecting with nature, Maybe even making a few friends.
The food that is grown is all donated back into the community to those in need, We even run the occasional soup kitchen with the produce!
Part of the proceeds of this workshop go to the cost of running the CommUNITY Garden
Please Note: Parking is very limited, The garden is just across the road from the Bayswater Train Station and it is recommended to please use public transport to the venue or to carpool where possible.
Sunday, 1 July 2018 from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm
Premaculture Community Garden | 70 Railway Parade | Bayswater | Perth, WA 6065 | Australia
Quite often I hear people say to me that there plants aren’t doing so well. They tell me, “I keep adding fertilizer but it just does’nt seem to be getting any better, in fact sometimes worse!” My reply usually comes with, “Have you checked your soil pH?” To which I often also hear, ”What’s pH?”
pH (or percentage of hydrogen) is a typographical scale that tells how acidic or alkaline your soil is. The pH scale range is 0 (which is acidic) to 14 (which is alkaline) with 7 being neutral.
If soil is too acidic it will be infertile and lock certain nutrients away from the plants thus making it become sick and stunted, if the soil is too alkaline, it becomes toxic and will poison plants too. Most vegetables grow best between 6 and 7, which is slightly acidic.
The importance of correct pH is so vital to the plants health, just as water, sun, love and fertilizers are. In fact without correct pH in the soil, the plants will surely suffer distress in some form or another.
Think of correct soil pH as a key for instance. If the wrong key is in the wrong lock it can’t open the door. But if the right key is in the right lock, the door opens. This is the same as incorrect pH.
To make things even more confusing, there are certain plants and vegetables, that require different pH levels, some like acidic and some like alkaline, while the most prefer neutral to slightly acidic (6-7).
There are many ways of adjusting the soil pH to suit the plants requirements. There are choices between artificial, Bio-organics ( half and half) and organic/natural. I prefer the latter as its the best and least harmful to the most important little dudes in the soil, the Microbes and beneficial organisms. Manures and mulches are the best way to get correct pH, as they break down slowly making the levels settle and rise accordingly to the soils needs.
When using artificial supplements, the soil changes rapidly and thus the plant and microbes have a harsh time adjusting to the new levels. This also doesn’t last as long as you may think, compared to manures there is about a ¼ life span. So basically, organic manure will last about 2-3 months whereas artificial will only last around 1 month respectivly.
So what is organic? Basically anything that has a carbon atom and once lived. When inorganic meets organic there is an uptake issue due to the lack of carbon atoms and sometimes the plants react both positively and negatively.
Things such as yellowing and chlorosis around the leaves, stunted growth habits and general poor health are signs that there may be a pH issue and to check it out is wise.
Let’s have a squizzy at how we can do this.
There are two main ways to check the soil pH. Theses being either a probe type instrument or a powder/dye chemical set. The latter is by far the best as it demonstrates a larger, more accurate reading as opposed to the probes. But then again, it depends on the amount you spend on both tools. I myself use a combination of both. The probe is simple to use, stick it in the ground around the root zone and depth, wait a few minutes and read the dial. The other, is a lot more involved with adding soil, powders and dyes together can seem overwhelming to some so the probes would suit better in that case. For the initiated, doing both allows a better, average reading.
So what do we do if we find that our soil is, too acidic or too alkaline?
If you have acidic soil – A quick way to get the soil to adjust and go towards neutral/alkaline is to use garden or better dolomite Lime. It is used to increase the pH. There are two basic types of lime – agricultural lime which only contains calcium and the preferred choice dolomite lime which contains both calcium and magnesium.
How much do you add in? These are approximate amounts to raise the pH by 1 point.
Sandy soil add 5 pounds per 100 square feet
Loam soil add 6 pounds per 100 square feet
Silt or Clay soil add 8 pounds per 100 square feet
If you have alkaline soil pH:
To correct soil that is too alkaline you will need to add powdered sulfur.
How much do you add in? These are approximate amounts to lower the pH by 1 point.
Sandy soil add 1 pound per 100 square feet
Loam soil add 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet
Silt or clay soil add 2 pounds per 100 square feet
Both lime and sulfur are considered soil conditioners. It is important to add either separately from soil fertilizers; a few weeks to a month before is best but always make sure you follow the manufacturers instructions ok guys!
When adding lime and sulfur to your garden beds make sure you rake it evenly into the soil. If your soil is extremely acidic or alkaline make an application in the SPRING TIME and another one in AUTUMN so as not to give the soil too much all at once. It can take a few seasons to get to the optimum number you want.
But in my opinion, organic manures are the best way to raise and lower the pH. Manures such as Sheep poo and Cow poo are the best. Slowest brakedown points and allows the soil to react accordingly to the breakdown of the manure and the most important, the Microbes movements.
I add a 30-40L bag of manure to 1m2 and rake it in just before winter and just after summer myself. No need for any other additions if you keep your soil health checks up and maintenance.
I hope this help explain a little bit about pH and its ever important role within gardening and successful gardening!
What Do I plant and When? I hear you ask oh green thumbed friend, Well we have heard your requests and we now are happy to present to you:
The complete and concise planting calendar!
For year round gardening advise, just look up your location and desired vegetable to grow on the chart and Voila: Planting success (ok there are a few more key elements, but you get the jist!)
Need Help getting it right the first time? Get in touch with us today, We can help you get the set up set for success. Time poor or Not Sure? Our maintenance service can work with you to ensure you have bountiful abundant harvests.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a fragrant, perennial woody evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean region, is one of the most aromatic and pungent herbs around. It is one of the most commonly found herbs in a spice rack. With such an incredible fragrance and flavor, it’s easy to see why so many people cultivate rosemary in their homes and gardens.
This herb is considered to be sacred by ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, as well as Hebrews and is particularly prevalent in Italian cultural cuisine. It is also called as ‘Dew of the Sea’ or ‘Old man’.
Here’s all you need to know about harvesting and using rosemary for culinary and medicinal purposes.
One teaspoon of fresh rosemary has a reserve of vitamins such as 17.9 IU of vitamin A, 0.1mg of vitamin C, and 0.1mg of folate, as well as minerals like calcium (1.8mg), magnesium (0.5mg), phosphorus (0.4mg), potassium (3.8mg), and sodium (0.1mg). It also has 0.1g of carbohydrates, 0.1g of dietary fiber and has no cholesterol.
Moreover, a teaspoon of dried rosemary, has iron (3.4mcg), vitamin A (34.4 IU), vitamin C (0.7mg) and vitamin E (0.2mg). It also has calcium (14.1mg), iron (0.3mg), magnesium (2.4mg), phosphorus (0.8mg), potassium (10.5mg), selenium (0.1mcg), and sodium (0.5mg). It also has saturated fats (0.1g) and protein (0.1g).
You can harvest your rosemary plant at ANY TIME –in fact, pruning it daily or weekly will help the plant’s growth and health. Simply snip the top two or three inches off each sprig and use as you desire.
If you want to harvest more of rosemary, you can wait until the plant has begun to bloom, and then remove the top few off each sprig – just be careful not to cut it too close.
If you want to preserve your rosemary for future usage, you can bundle the clippings and hang them upside down to dry in a warm place. Once dry, just strip the stems and store the leaves in an air-tight container.
The Many Benefits of Rosemary
Studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals, boost the immune system, and improve blood circulation.
Scientific studies have found Rosemary to contain an ingredient called carnosic acid, which can fight off damage by free radicals in the brain. Rosemary seems to protect the brain against brain damage and might improve recovery from stroke. Also, rosemary may significantly help prevent brain aging based on some studies and its therapeutic ability to prevent Alzheimer’s shows promise, but more studies are needed.
A research published in Oncology Reports found that “crude ethanolic rosemary extract (RO)” slowed the spread of human leukemia and breast carcinoma cells.”
Furthermore, a report published in the Journal of Food Science showed the addition of rosemary extract to ground beef reduces the formation of cancer-causing agents that can develop during cooking.
Promotes eye health
Carnosic acid, which is a major component of rosemary, can significantly promote eye health according to a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, led by Dr. Stuart A. Lipton, Ph.D. and colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. This finding clearly has clinical importance for diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
Other benefits of Rosemary: Can be used as a hair rinse for strong long hair, it reduces cellulite and smelling it can improve memory and retention of information – try sniffing some while studying for exams.
Comfrey (also comphrey) is native to Europe and Asia and have been cultivated by many cultures for over 2500 years. Comfrey are important herbs in organic gardening. It is used as herbal medicine and as a fertilizer.
Uses of Comfrey
Medicinal – Comfrey has been considered as a healing herb. It is commonly used to aid in the healing of wounds and broken bones. It has been reported to promote healthy skin with its mucilage content that moisturizes and soothes and promotes cell proliferation. It is also used treatment for respiratory ailments.
Comfrey can be ingested as tea for upset stomach, heavy menstrual periods, ulcers, and diarrhea. It can also used as a gargle for sore throat and gum disease.
Fertilizer – The leaves decompose into a liquid very quickly which makes it a great fertilizer. Because of it’s deep and large taproot, it pulls the nutrients deep down into the subsoil wherein other plants cannot reach. Comfrey is high in every nutrients a plant needs which includes Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus.
How to Use Comfrey as Fertilizer:
Compost – You can throw the excess leaves and plants into your compost to get the benefits from the released nutrients. It is best to use stalks which takes a bit longer to breakdown. It acts as an activator for faster composting process.
In the soil – Even the containers with a few leaves and line the bottom planting holes and plant as you would normally. The leaves will decompose and release the nutrients with no odor.
Liquid Fertilizer – To make this fertilizer, in a large container, squeeze and squish as many leaves as you can into the bucket. You can put a rock or brick to weight them down. It takes about 6 weeks for the leaves to break down into black, thick liquid. You can also use this as a spray, simply dilute. 1 part comfrey fertilizer in 15 parts water. Dilute it further if you are feeding young plants.
Comfrey oil – Take advantage of it’s benefits and make your own comfrey oil. Use the fresh dried herb, use both roots and leaves.
8 oz comfrey leaf
4 oz comfrey root
16 oz extra-virgin olive oil
Chop up the roots and break up the leaves. Place into a 16-ounce jar, glass is preferred and pour olive oil. Close the lid and shake. Steep it for 28 days. After the 28 day period, strain the oil by using a clean strainer and pour mix into a bowl. Squeeze the strained herbs into the bowl and that becomes your comfrey oil. Store in a dark-colored glass bottle.
Warning: Comfrey is safe for most people in small amounts. It is important to know that it contains chemicals that can be absorb by the skin if applied directly to open wound and if large amounts are applied.
My grandmother grew her own vegetables. When I was little, we would pick the tomatoes from garden and it add it to our salads. I didn’t appreciate the benefits of growing your food back then but now that I think of it, I LOVE IT! The smell, the texture, and the taste was always so fresh and clean and juicy. Now that I’m older, I’m growing my own vegetable garden too! I’m sharing with you why you need a vegetable garden today.
It tastes so GOOD!
There’s nothing quite like a fresh tomato from the vine. It tastes better than the one from the store, trust me. The vegetable is picked fresh when you’re ready, there’s no transportation involved, it’s not sitting on the shelves for days. So you get to taste that wonderful freshness and juiciness.
Saves you money
Growing your own food can save you anywhere from $300 to $1000 a year! Buying organic at the store can be very expensive. By spending a few dollars on seeds you’ll produce vegetables that will yield pounds of produce.
It is CLEAN
By choosing organic gardening, you ensure that your crops are safe for you and your family. Plus, organic vegetables have more nutrients than commercially grown foods because the soil is nourished with sustainably. And of course, it taste better!
It’s GOOD for the planet
Having your own vegetable garden helps the environment in so many ways. If you grow your food without pesticides and chemicals, you don’t contribute to the unnecessary water and air pollution. You’ll also reduce the use of fossil fuels that results in pollution due to the transport of produce from and to the supermarket. It may seem like a small thing but no effort is too small.
It’s good for the economy
When you buy seeds from local garden centers, you’re supporting your local economy. And, by choosing to buy locally, you’ll most likely find a variety of plants suited in your area.
It’s good for the kids
Exposing your kids to gardening can help them connect with nature while bonding with them.
Teaching your children about gardening can change their relationship with food. Learning where their food came from, how to grow and care for it, how to harvest it will teach them how to be more responsible when it comes to food.
You get to share it
Owning a garden means that most likely, you’ll always have more than enough for yourself leaving plenty to share with friends and neighbors even with the community.
It’s a good exercise
When you garden, you are breaking a sweat. Whether you’re digging, lifting or weeding, these activities involve using different muscle groups. Plus, you get to enjoy the sun.
It’s a stress reliever
We know that it’s healthy to take a break from all the stress that life throws us and gardening is a good outlet for a lot of people. By focusing your attention to planting, you are taking the time to shift away from your day to day for a little while.
It’s good for you health
Vegetables keep your body running efficiently protecting you from chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. When you’re growing your own vegetables, you’ll most likely eat them.
Earn by selling your produce
If it is legal in your community to set up a roadside stand and sell your extra fruits or vegetables, go ahead and earn extra money. You can even sell your produce to your local restaurant.
For long time gardeners, tending a garden provides enjoyment. Watching your garden bloom to a beautiful produce provides a sense of satisfaction. You can even make it a social interaction by inviting your neighbor who also garden.
Growing your own produce is easy, satisfying, fun and healthy.
The Green Dream Team will be down at Evirofest 2018!!
Come on down to our interactive stall for Kids activities and gardening fun! We will have heaps of specials and discounts as well as giveaways. We will also have some gardening supplies for you to get those gardens growing.
We will be holding FREE events and demonstrations in the main stage area; (times to be confirmed)
How to set up an Organic Vegetable Garden Workshop:
Have you ever thought about starting your own vegetable garden? Or perhaps your first attempt was not so successful? If you answered yes to either of these questions then come on down to our workshop. We will walk you through soil, seed and sun basics to help you get it right!
Gardening Q & A:
The Dream Green Team from Gaias Organic garden will be there to assist you and to answer any gardening questions you may have.
Feel free to bring some samples or pictures down and we can offer you organic solutions to your pest and disease issues.