Monday, November 28, 2011

Skeletal Australian soils: fertility & moisture

Australia has what are described as very old soils, with little fertility being added to them in any recent history. I am discovering the extremity of this at present with my new garden and the biggest challenge I am facing is keeping the moisture in. Without this essential ingredient I can't plant or plan any new plantings, as there won't be enough water to allow the plants to grow and take up the necessary nutrients that might be lurking in the soil.

I have planted one hybrid, showy eucalypt at the front gate and have found this plant is almost daily suffering from water stress despite now having been in the ground for nearly five weeks. The main stem isn't coping without support, the leaves have once started to die off and approximately three-quarters of the flower buds that I bought it with are starting to shrivel and die. Boo hoo hoo!

I have never had to deal with such poor soils. And it seems not only is it likely that my soils are particularly clayey but also they are extremely thin. In the future I will have to ensure that all dirt is mulched thoroughly to ensure they don't wash down the hill to the neighbour's yard and just leave me with rock, only open dirt up when I intend to plant things and ensure plants are well watered for a longer period than I am use to (potentially an irrigation system will need to be constructed to cope with water demands). And given that we are on rain water only this is a little daunting.

In regards to nutrients, I fear that my soils are particularly lacking and I will have to invest in some supplements. For the short term, a healthy dose of native plant fertiliser when establishing plants may do the trick, but I will have to look into a long-term solution. I also have to figure out if the soils you can build for things such as veggie patches are useful or toxic to native plants (which is what I plan on planting mostly).

So many more questions raised and certainly not enough answered! But the journey continues

Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment