Backyard farming: small spaces and bumper crops

When you live in a city like me and have access to a backyard farm of just 10m2 (just over 100ft2), optimizing the space is vital. Choosing the right plants will make a significant impact on the success or failure of the plot. Small spaces are fun and can be just as rewarding as a more extensive garden. If planned correctly, urban gardens can produce an abundant amount of food on just 100ft2. The yields can further be boosted by potting up plants in other areas in the house, even indoor windowsills. 

 Top 5 crops for maximizing our yield in an urban backyard farm; 

  • Tomatoes 

Tomatoes are a culinary staple in all of our kitchens, top tip someone gave me when I first started growing food; grow stuff you like to eat. It’s no good growing the world’s greatest melons if you or your family don’t like them. 

Tomatoes are great because they are easy to grow, incredibly productive, and can produce fruit within 60 days. They can be encouraged to grow upwards, which saves on space. Pound for pound tomatoes should be in every beginner’s garden.

  • Pole Beans: peas and black beans 

Beans are also highly nutritious and go great in many dishes such as burritos and black bean soups. On average, they take 100-110 days to fully mature, so a little longer than other foods in the garden but well worth the wait. You can grow beans in the ground or containers – both work great. 

Once your bean plants start to grow, put a pole or trellis next to each plant, again saving space by growing them upwards and focusing on creating different layers. 

Black beans have delicate root systems and do not take well to being transplanted. Instead of starting your seedlings indoors, sow the seeds directly in your garden—best planted in late spring (May) to take advantage of the summer sun. Don’t plant them until the soil temp is 60 °F (16 °C) or above. 

  • Zucchini

Zucchini is like the thug of the gardening world; it just takes over! However, they have a ridiculously good yield, so they made it onto the shortlist. For example, one zucchini plant produces 6 to 10 pounds of fruit in a growing season! Great varieties to grow are the sunburst and Bennings Green Tint. As a bonus Zucchini are monoecious plants, meaning each plant has both male and female flowers. This means you only need to plant one plant, and as long as the bees visit, we will have pollination. 

  • Herbs 

With the space saved by growing the tomatoes and peas straight up on trellising, we will have more space around the base for other plants. It’s a good idea to fill these spaces with herbs. Basil, parsley, and thyme are easy to grow and taste great in many dishes. Herbs look and smell great, and they give our garden a more balanced feel. They literally can grow anywhere rocky slopes, coastal gardens, and, of course, space-saving containers.

  • Salad Greens

No backyard garden would be complete without the superstars of gardening, the salad greens. The most popular are spinach, lettuce, and arugula. They like the small places and can fill the corners between the pole bean teepee or A-frame trellis, or as a living mulch between slower growing crops. 

Salads are one of the productive crops, and they need just 3-5 hours of sunlight a day and can grow in shallow soils of only 10cm deep. They have a harvest time of just 4-6 weeks so you can plant multiple crops in a growing season, especially if you have seedlings ready to transplant when you harvest the mature salad greens. 

permaculture the 12 principles explained: Beginners guide

It is critical that if humans are going to survive as a race, we need to make some changes as to how we interact with the earth. The seas are full of microplastics and the precious farmland drowning chemicals, if we continue down this path, all of our chances of survival are finished. Poorly managed resources coupled with a capitalist society that places more value on money that it does the planet have led us to a breaking point. In this seemingly bleak existence, permaculture offers a ray of hope. It guides us, showing how we can co-exist with our surroundings and make a sustainable, ethical future. 

So what is permaculture?

Permaculture is defined as a hybrid of the words’ permanent + culture.’ 

Permanent means to last forever or for a very long time, being able to resist change.

Culture means the beliefs and practices of a group of people. 

The three primary assumptions make up the core of permaculture;

  • care for the earth
  •  care for people
  • only take our fair portion (return the excess to the system)

Permaculture was first proposed as a method for developing agricultural ecosystems that are sustainable and self-sufficient. Ideally, they would be systems that, once set up, needed little or no human management. The system would have the relationships in place between the plants and the environment so that generations could thrive from the symbiotic biodiversity. Permaculture often seems like a modern buzz word thrown about on Instagram and Pinterest. However, on closer inspection, it’s a concept that has a deep connection with the land and provides a solid foundation of principles for designing any project. It provides a blueprint of 12 principles for how we can live our lives beyond merely just a philosophical system. 

So What are the 12 principles of permaculture? 

David Holmgren explains excellently, the principles in his book: Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability. 

1.Observe and interact. 

The land that you plan developing on needs to be studied intensely for this first principle. This takes place before any planting. It’s vital to complete this step thoroughly as its challenging to make changes later. 

You will need to study the path the sun takes, wherein your garden do you have a shadow? And where do you have full sun? Is there any part of your land that is dry or waterlogged? What about the soil drainage? Soil pH? The contours of the land, etc. 

Once you have all of this information, draw a plan of the land; from this plan, you can designate plants and animals to different areas depending on their needs. 

The biological world moves in predictable patterns. Once we understand these patterns, we can take advantage of them. For example, we were planting flowers around fruit trees to attract bees so they can cross-pollinate. Simbiotic relationships, the bees are happy because they have access to pollen, we are pleased as we can get the bounty from the fruit.

2.Catch and store energy.

In Naturally successful areas, the ecosystems have developed mechanisms to trap and store energy and nutrients in different forms. Plants capture energy in the form of sunlight, and the ground absorbs reserves of water in deep groundwater aquifers beyond the recycling mechanisms of plants or landscapes. Finally, nutrients and carbon are trapped in the soil to create a sink of reserves when needed. In balanced ecosystems, nature always has energy stores. 

Natures energy storage is what we need to replicate. If we manipulate our landscapes by observing how nature captures and stores energy, we can mimic this sustainable system. Permaculture strategies for capturing and storing energy in the landscape can be grouped under four broad headings: water, living soil, trees, and seed.

A basic permaculture strategy for catching and storing energy in the landscape could be;

Water; can be stored by building reservoirs, dams, swales, tanks, cisterns, and other structures, even by capturing and reusing rainwater in your houses. I have just created a raised bed that connects to a roof rainwater system.  

Living Soil; Living soil has a fantastic structure brimming with humus, with the ability to store water, minerals, and carbon. 

Recently we have depleted the soils. We can rebuild them by continuously adding humus and organic matter, returning all-natural waste to the land either directly or via animals. This ensures the soil stays in the same conditions as found in nature. Earth should never be bare, its always covered by some type of mulch. 

Trees; Trees were originally thought of as a problem for farming, but now studies are showing that they efficiently absorb and store water and nutrients that might other­ wise be lost by plants. Permaculture systems are now including strategically placed trees to take advantage of these benefits. 

Seeds; Vegetables and crops are at the center of sustainable culture. These crops produce an incredible amount of seed. Maintaining this seed line is crucial for growers. To keep the cycle, allow a limited variety of locally hardy crops, only letting some self-sow each year is all that is needed.

3.Obtain a yield

Because quite literally, you can’t work on an empty stomach, growing a garden full of inedibles would defeat the purpose. 

The original Permaculture vision promoted by Bill Mollison (David Holmgren’s teacher) concentrated on growing gardens full of food rather than useless ornamentals. Going even deeper into the principles, we want to obtain the maximum yield while still maintaining the gentle balance found in nature. Just because we have good results with a particular apple tree doesn’t mean we should cut down everything else and plant the whole plot out with this one tree. This concept has been seen in mass agriculture and isn’t sustainable. In permaculture, everything needs to be in balance. The good results from the apple tree could be because the bean plant next to it is providing nitrogen for the soil, or the flowers are attracting birds and bees to help pollination. 

4.Apply self-regulation and accept feedback.

Obtaining a yield is an example of a positive feedback system. If you get healthy fruit, the system works and should continue. 

There is also a negative feedback mechanism, acting as a buffer to protect the delicate ecosystems from predators, pests, and diseases. The negative feedback system regulates this by controlling the species populations. 

With a proper understanding of positive and negative feedback, we can design self-regulating systems reducing the number of corrective measures taken to manage the land. Self-maintaining systems are the pinnacle of permaculture and its something so finely balanced that it might never be achieved. 

5.Use and value renewable resources and services.

Renewable resources can be replenished via natural mechanisms without the need for any other input. e.g., pruning branches from a tree for firewood. Eventually, the tree will grow back. 

Renewable services are passive and are benefits we gain from plants, animals, and living soil and water without them being consumed. Such as shade from a tree, plants reducing CO2, or animals fertilizing the land. 

Overall, permaculture design should limit the consumption of unrenewable sources and focus on renewable. By using sources such as the sun, wind, or water, we can power our homes, farm, and even regenerate fragile ecosystems. So a simple way to implement this principle would be to stop using fossil fuels and switch to generating solar energy as a way of living more sustainably. 

6.Produce no waste.

Bill Mollison defines pollutants as “output of any system component that is not being used productively by any other component of the system.” We need to look at the waste that comes out of our system and design solutions to reduce or minimize them. For example, a slug outbreak in a garden can be controlled by ducks. 

Producing zero waste is possible, and many people have managed this feat. We can start by trying to recycle everything that goes into our household rubbish bin. A lot of waste can simply be composted, old items donated, and a successful strategy can even be to focus on consuming less. In 2020 the real enemy is single-use plastics, knowing this can allow us to develop solutions, such as using flasks filled with water form my home instead of buying bottled water. 

7.Design from patterns to details.

Bill Mollison’s introduction to patterns in nature offers many applications in permaculture design and shows the potential of this principle. He searched for patterns in nature that took us beyond the current way of thinking. 

The Permaculture design strategy of building self-sufficient food forests focused on species diversity is the best design application we have seen for this principle. These systems work well, especially in subtropical and tropical areas, where they have been very productive. 

To simplify things, Bill broke down permaculture sites into design zones. His model emphasizes a central point on the plot, which is generally a dwelling or other building. This is zone 0, the homestead. The areas immediately surrounding the building are zones 1 and 2, these zones are used for the fully irrigated garden (zone 1) and fully irrigated orchards (zone 2) that includes any livestock in this zone. Zone 3 is commercial crops and larger livestock, and zone 4 is the forests and wetlands. 

Basically, 1&2 are the most labor-intensive areas, so they are located close to the homestead. It would be inefficient for them to be elsewhere on the plot as the gardener/farmer would lose too much time walking and carrying between tasks. It’s all about functionality. The further away you get from the homestead, the less work is needed in that area. e.g., a forest in zone 4 might just be left wild. Zone 1 and 2 are limited in space as its labor is intense. Zone 3 and 4 could be 1,000’s of acres. 

8. Integrate rather than segregate.

Plants produce food for the animals, which then provide the fertilizer for the plants. This is a basic example of a closed cycle of flowing material through a system. Animals eat more plants and they then produce more fertilizer, which results in more plant growth, and so on. The material flows are cyclical rather than linear. Linear flows of material are examples of non-renewable systems, e.g. consumerism. In contrast cyclical energy is renewable, its the latter that we should be aiming for. 

Planting polycultures (guilds of plants that work together) is a perfect example of integration, such as the three sisters (corn, beans, and squash). The Native Americans discovered that these plants live in a symbiotic relationship embodying the permaculture principles;

  • The corn offers the beans the support they need.
  • The beans, pull nitrogen from the air and bring it to the soil for the benefit of all three plants. 
  • As the beans grow through the tangle of squash vines and wind their way up the cornstalks into the sunlight, they hold the plants close together.
  • The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating a living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it fresh and moist and preventing weeds.
  • The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons and other pests, which don’t like to step on them.

9. Use small and slow solutions.

Start small and slow is advice worth listening too; so many people, when they get a piece of land, want to do everything at the same time and often feel overwhelmed. Food gardens are the best example of a small scale agricultural operation—many plants clustered into a small space with a high yield per square meter. 

Small and slow solutions optimize the use of energy, some other examples from Holmgren’s book are;

  • Stacking plants on different growing layers to make maximum use of resources. e.g., the three sisters growing method. 
  • Multi-purpose buildings and lands to allow more functions in less space. 
  • Growing backyard crops.
  • traveling by bicycle

10. Use and value diversity. 

After years of farming the same crops in the same fields, it’s now universally accepted that monoculture makes the crops vulnerable to pests and disease. Farmers were forced to use toxic pesticides to control these outbreaks creating a vicious circle of pesticide use. Once way permaculture combats this problem is by using diversity. Diverse systems are more resistant to disease and should be one of the most replicated principles of permaculture. It could be implemented simply by planting different varieties of tomatoes. Not only would the garden be resistant to pests but also would be better suited to temperature changes, frost, soil pH variations, and drought. 

Holmgren said, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” as this provides insurance against the unpredictable nature of everyday life.

11. Use edges and value the marginal.

Using the edges of a plot can give us access to more space. A lot of permaculture farmers use the edges for food trees as they offer windbreaks and provide a source of food. 

From the 15th century until the modern-day in Madeira, Portugal, they have been farming on rocky mountain faces making use of the edges and thinking outside the box. On paper, this land looks like it would be impossible to farm; it’s on steep mountain cliff faces with little or no soil. They packed the land with soil and used wood to make terraces— significantly increasing agricultural productivity on the island.  

12. Creatively use and respond to change.

Being a permaculturist or even just using the design principles means we always need to be ready for change—events such as changing seasons, changing climates, and even changing attitudes. Stability is an essential aspect of Perma­nent-culture, but when necessary, ecosystems change to adapt and survive, and so should we. 

Evolution in a permaculture context goes much further than just the potential to adapting to a new species. We must apply the concept of creativity and change to other areas of life, such as businesses, organizations, communities, and cultures. This gives a broader view of Darwinian evolution, which permaculturists believe can be applied to anything in life, not just to nature. 

These 12 principles are a fantastic starting point for any budding permaculturist and for anyone who wants to make changes in their lives. I have tried to put examples when I can to show how thought can translate into action—ultimately leading to a more ethical – and holistically sustainable – way of life.

Why we should all become urban farmers

Growing fruit and veg has never been so popular, though getting starting can often seem overwhelming. You will be happy to know its more straightforward than it sounds. Many of us don’t have access to large plots of land, especially when living within the urban city limits. Even if you don’t have a large plot available, don’t despair; consider starting on a patio or even indoors. You’ll be amazed at how many tomatoes or peppers you can grow out of one pot. So get filling all those nooks and crannies! 

reusing old crates to create an urban farm on a rooftop

Still, need some convincing? 

Here are some of the top reasons why we should all unleash the urban farmer in us. 

Saving money 

It’s going in at number 1; under the current climate getting anything cheaper is a huge bonus. With the costs of vegetables going up daily, its no wonder many of us are contemplating developing a green thumb. 

Fresh produce 

Supermarkets sell the same low-quality produce, barely worthy of making it onto our plates. There’s nothing quite like eating straight from the plant. Have you ever compared a store-bought tomato to a homegrown one? The difference is like night and day, with homegrown winning every time. 

Variety 

Weirdly supermarkets only sell one, at best, two types of a possible abundance of fruit and veg; the selection is dismal. At a glance, there are more than 500 varieties of avocado, but we have so little choice when we make a purchase. Mass growers just chose the most drought and disease resistant, not necessarily the best tasting. Many of them are even tastier than the ones we can buy in the stores, and if you search correctly, you can also find seeds and species suited to your climate and region—double bonus. 

Infection

If you pick, produce fresh from the plants in your garden, the risk of a bacterial infection reduces. Stomach bugs are on the rise, and nothing protects us more than growing at home. 

Reducing the carbon footprint 

Growing locally significantly reduces traveling miles from the farm to the customer. Let’s stop out of season vegetables going halfway around the world, at great expense to the planet. Astonishingly it’s estimated that the average American meal travels about 1500 miles to get from the farm to plate. Gobsmacked. 

Satisfaction 

nothing is more sacred than our primal connection with the land. This underlying need is met when we grow seeds using our own hands, and participate in the cycle of life. 

Exercise

Keeping fit is not just for the gym. Gardening burns 400-600 calories per hour doing heavy work and even 250-350 calories just Mowing the lawn! The latest fitness research is showing that frequent low-level movement is just as effective as a grueling one-hour workout at keeping us fit. That’s good news for gardeners.  

Stress and anxiety relief 

Gardening is great for anyone feeling stressed out. Merely looking at the color green in nature has a soothing psychological effect. Coupled with the calming effect being around plants has on us; it is enough to relax even the most stressed person. 

Community

Gardening is an activity for all the family, its something you could even get your local neighbors can get involved. Communities and families are becoming so distant with all the internet and modern technology. Gardening gives us something in common that’s real, and that can benefit everyone. 

Increasing Biodiversity

With many green spaces disappearing in our local cities, increasing biodiversity has never been more critical. Anything we can plant in our gardens is a step in the right direction. Bees and other insects are on the decline due to loss of habitat. So why are they so important? A recent global study showed that a whopping one-third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees, insects, birds, and bats. 

Organic

knowing exactly where your food came from and precisely what went into producing it can never be underestimated. So many chemicals and pesticides are used to grow crops, and its slowly poisoning us. Organic produce costs the earth in the local store, but gardening gives us the freedom to grow our own. 

Aesthetics

Because its pleasing on the eyes, aesthetics can go along way. A quote in a top home design magazine said that having a well-planted garden could add up to 13,000 USD on the value of your home. Not bad for a little bit of urban farming. 

Have you had success with urban farming? Comment below or share your photos by tagging @the.pitted.avocado or using #the.pitted.avocado

Raised beds: 10 reasons why they are a gardeners best friend

Raised beds are coming back with a bang! Soil quality used to be sooo good that where ever you threw a seed into the ground, something grew. In comparison, modern-day gardens are baron places filled with thinning shallow topsoil. Years of bad farming and gardening practices have robbed the soil of the few nutrients they contained. For years we have never thought about soil quality, but it turns out soil quality is one of the essential ingredients in growing plants. Hence the return of the mighty raised bed. 

So what is a raised garden bed?

A raised garden bed is simply a large container of soil with no bottom that sits above the ground. More accurately, it is any raised mound of earth; it doesn’t even need to have a beautiful wooden structure surrounding it, although that does look good on Pinterest. 

How big should your raised base be?

While it could potentially be any size you wanted, as you can’t step on the soil logistically, your limited to how far you can reach. The standard reach is about 4ft (just over a meter) wide. 

It needs to be a sunny level space, which will also narrow down the options further. Wood usually is cut into 4ft and 8ft long pieces. So while you could make it as long as you wanted, it’s quickest to use the pre-cut measurement making the average raised beds 8ft by 4ft. 

Minimum depth can vary, but due to the more extensive root systems of some vegetables, 12-18 inches deep is recommended. 

Why are they so popular then? 

No tilling; 

Traditional farming taught that before the planting season, it’s a better practice to till the topsoil and mix it with the lower layers of soil. It’s also a practice used in gardening only on a smaller scale. Tilling causes soil to lose nutrients, such as nitrogen and fertilizer and makes it more difficult for the ground to store water. No tilling is a more modern agricultural technique that doesn’t disturb the soil. The new mulch or compost is placed on top of the topsoil, directly building up the organic matter and giving us a much better quality soil.

Increased productivity;

Raised beds offer More output in less space. Because the beds are higher, the plants have more space for the root systems, and the roots grow down instead of across. Plants can be tightly packed in a space 8ft by 4ft raised bed and would be surprised how much produce you can produce in a growing season in a relatively small space.

better drainage;

Drainage is one of the significant advantages raised beds to have over standard garden beds. Drainage is an essential feature of any garden, to have good drainage, good soil is needed. The soil in the raised beds is not compressed because its loose and is not compacted. So the soil contains enough pores, the gaps between soil particles, to allow air and water to flow freely.

The most common outcome of inadequate drainage is root rot and runoff. Root rot is waterlogged soil, and runoff is when soil becomes compacted, not allowing the water to penetrate, and the topsoil washes away. 

fewer weeds;

Tilling on the farm and in the garden creates more weeds. The weed seeds that were on the surface get tilled underground, where they can now germinate. Raised beds are so successful in having fewer weeds for two reasons 1. as they grow the plants closer together, there’s no space for the weeds 2. they cover the raised beds in mulch to stifle the growth of any other plants such as weeds. 

Fewer chemicals

With fewer weeds, there’s no need for those harsh chemical herbicides. We are making our raised bed more organic. Organic is the pinnacle of life and basically what we should all be striving for when we garden. Herbicides can also be expensive and add to the overall cost of gardening and food production. 

Your back will like the raised the garden

Raised beds can be as high as 36 inches, gardening at waist height is much easier on the neck and back that continually bending over. Over an extended period, this can take its toll on the body. Having higher beds takes care of that problem, leaving you free to focus on other tasks. 

Install them straight onto your lawns

Yes, that’s right! raised beds can be built straight onto the existing grass without digging it up. Just line the bottom with cardboard and mulch, such as grass cuttings or leaves, and put the soil straight on top. This gardening stuff is getting easier by the day. 

Acid and Alkaline soils

Soils around the garden are not the same, and plants have different pH ranges that they prefer when talking about giving us the highest yield of even flowering. Most veggies like a lower pH of 5.5-7.5, but plants such as tomatoes and broccoli love that slightly sweeter soil. Raised beds let you have different pH in different beds, making it much easier to control the growing conditions. 

Profitability;

Raised beds offer the option of portablitliy with little extra work. You can even install a wire mesh at the bottom of the raised bed to help with portability. If the conditions become less than ideal where your raised bed is currently situated e.g., no sunlight. You can pick it up or unscrew it and move it to a new location. They could even be pushed into a garage to avoid an early frost, for example. 

Extending the growing season

Raised beds thaw much faster than standard ground-level beds. Frost occurs at ground level, so being raised, they offer more protection when jack frost comes to visit. Extending the gardening window makes a big difference over a growing season. Its a significant advantage getting those seedlings planted in early in the season when they can benefit from the cooler temperatures. 

Have you had success with urban farming? Comment below or share your photos by tagging @the.pitted.avocado or using #the.pitted.avocado

Free the seed: Growing tomatoes from seed with incredible results

I love gardening, and I love free stuff. One of the most exciting discoveries I made in my life was realizing I could get many of the seeds for growing plants for free, and so can you. The ‘Free the seed’ series is all about how to get free seeds and how to get them germinated. Comprehensive ‘how-to guides’ will also be available on how to care for each seed after they have sprouted. 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

In today’s free the seed, we will see how to get free tomato plants from the very same tomatoes we have in our fridge. 

Difficulty level: 1 Basic. 

What you will need;

a knife, a teaspoon, a paper towel, a small pot with drainage holes, some stones, 

Step by step instructions;

  1. Cut a tomato in half (kids get your parents to do this step)
  2. Scrap out the seeds with a teaspoon.
  3. Place the seeds onto a dry paper towel. 
  4. Use another sheet of paper towel to dry the seeds further. 
  5. Wrap the seeds in the paper towel for 24 hours.
  6. Put the paper towel with the seeds in a dry, sunny place. 
  7. Prepare the small pot by placing some small stones at the bottom,
  8. fill the pot with soil
  9. after 24 hours the seeds are dry, and now ready for planting. 
  10. Make a small hole in the soil about 0.5cm deep.
  11. Place 3-4 seeds in each hole.
  12. Water thoroughly after planting.

You will note that the seeds in tomatoes come inside small liquid sacks. It Protects them from germinating within the tomato. Only when the tomato falls from the plant, do the sacs dry out, allowing the new seeds to germinate. Break open or dry the sack with the seed inside using a paper towel to prepare for planting. 

Please note; I use a small amount of organic potting mix for this stage and never use garden soil. The reason i don’t use garden soil for seedlings is that it often drains poorly and may harbor disease organisms. 

I have read from a few sources that it’s always better to grow direct from new packets of seeds. I am going to do another blog post about growing plants with store-bought seeds vs. homegrown seeds from a tomato in my fridge. We can then compare the yields. I will post a photo here of the seeds I have just germinated once the plant reaches full maturity so we can see how they got on.

Good luck and get in touch in you need any help!

Mulch; every gardeners secret weapon

Using the mighty mulch to protect top soil and produce even better results in the garden has never been more popular. For those new to gardening ‘mulch’ is a layer of material that lies on top of the surface soil. Mulch is commonly associated with bieng made from wood chipping or organic matter. However i have seen the use of permanent plastic sheeting being used by many upcomming market gardeners. Plastic sheeting would be great for reducing weeding but for me mulch needs to be providing organic matter for the garden. I would go as far as saying its one of the most impotant factors in gardening for long term health.

I use mulch at the start of every growing season before planting anything. Then I will mulch again after the plants reach at least 4 inches in height. The layers of mulch are normally 2 inches (5 cm) or more deep when applied. I find this protects the plants more and prevents them from drying out.

Where there’s a market for gardening supplies, big businesses are not far behind. Mulch prices have gone through the roof. Luckily we have a mulch mixture to get you started for free.

Free Mulch mixture; 

mix grass cuttings, leaves and twigs from the garden. 

Place this material around the bases of all your plants and on any exposed areas of soil in your garden including pathways. Also works well in pots.

The mulch will give you the following free benefits for your soil; 

  • Reduced top soil erosion 

Wind and water erosion takes vital nutrients away from our gardens, making mulch a simple solution to the problem.

  • Regulate soil temperatures

Mulch insulates the top soil creating a mini micro climate. Keeping it warmer in winter and cooler in summer. What roots wouldn’t like that deal.

  • Keeps valuable moisture locked in to the ground. 

Mulch greatly reduces the amount of soil evaporation. Meaning you have to water your plants less and your garden would be more resistant to any droughts.

  • Controls weeds

With no light getting directly to the soil, weeds are more controlled. You might get the odd one but just rip out, toss it on the compost heap and use if for more mulch. In the end just mulching the garden will lead to much less work.

  • Provides organic nutrients for your plants. 

I have seen people with baron plots of land completely convert landscapes just by using mulch. Thats a powerful statement! The mulch provided the organic matter and it also provided a unique micro habitat for insects and worms to live and contribute to soil health.

Have you had success with urban farming? Comment below or share your photos by tagging @the.pitted.avocado or using #the.pitted.avocado

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