August means preparing for the summer for me

Two years ago I took the plunge to attend a fantastic, intense 3 days of learning all about Market Gardening. Milkwood Permaculture co-ordinated the workshop and the generous, accumulated knowledge and expertise of Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane of Allsun Farm was nothing sort of inspiring for me.  There were so many take home messages from those 3 days that have shaped a lot of approaches I now take with our home garden.  I do still dream of the CSA –  like business …maybe in the future?

So why do I think August means preparing for summer? I am not necessarily frantically working outside just yet but I have already planned what vegetables I will grow over the summer, where I will grow, how many I plan to grow and the varieties. I have also got as much hot compost brewing as possible to feed these new plants. Importantly I have also begun sowing seeds of plants for this summer. This preparation I use to do a bit vaguely – now I plan it like a professional and also grow like the market gardeners that have inspired me. This change has been very influenced by my experience from the workshop and has resulted in greater food production from our garden.

To begin with I use soil blocks for growing seedlings in

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soil blocks ready to sow seed into

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beetroot seedlings jumping out of the soil blocks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soils blocks require the right mix of ingredients, just enough water to hold together and of course the right bit of equipment to form the blocks with.  It took a few goes to get the mix proportions right – however it was a more forgiving process than baking a cake!  There are a few mix options by different soil block makers or users. The mix I used here was:

2 parts compost (sieve your finished hot compost)

1 part worm castings (again sieved..the odd worm will sacrifice themselves though)

2 parts cocopeat or coconut coir (ensure it has been rehydrated well in advance and if you can rinse a couple of times before using)

1 part fine sand

So August is still cold, the promise of the change to come will leap in before we know and I am prepared!

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ingredients ready to mix

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water to add and soil blocker ready to use