22 Aug 2013

Giving Back to your Garden

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Like it or not we have passed the summer solstice, leaving use fewer daylight hours.  Mornings and evenings are getting cooler, and the summer is reaching its final chapter.  How was it for you?;  Did you make the most of it?;  Did you harvest the delights from your spring garden?;  Are you still reaping the benefits from the fruit of your early labour?  More importantly, what did you give back?  These questions may seem a little petty, but the point I am trying to make is: after all of the toil and the rewards that you have gleaned from the garden it’s already time to begin replenishing in order to fully benefit from the garden space that you have so lovingly created.

Like all of us, the garden is a living breathing entity that uses energy in order to live fully and productively.  You may have given it food and water, even, apportioning according to weather and seasonal changes, such activity is good stewardship.  Nonetheless, our environment is changing daily, and watering/feeding should also change as the season winds down.  If you are using fertilizers, it is time to stop and let the garden do its own thing, without a false sense of plenty, by lowering if not halting the application rate.  This will give the plants in your garden time to feed themselves from their own resources and die back naturally.  If you have been watering in the evening it is time to change that practice because mould will begin to arrive with the onset of cooler nights.

Most of all, it’s a good idea to add mulch too the topsoil in the form of organic matter, maybe digging it in to bare soil here and there.  This will ensure moisture retention for next summer whist feeding the soil.  Second, remember not to dig in wood bark unless it has been composted, as this can rob the soil of its nitrogen in order to fully break down.  Third, compost is a great mulch and will incorporate naturally as the winter breaks it down, further releasing its goodness back into dormant soil. Finally, composting is really only emulating and accelerating what already happens in the natural order of things, breaking down and returning to the earth what has grown from it.

There are lots more delights and surprises left in your late summer and fall garden, if you treat it right. You and your garden have a lasting relationship, if you give and take equally.  So enjoy each other!





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