Thursday, 21 August 2014

Blaugust 21, 2014 - Delusional Soils

I only know reality from my own perspective; from the perspective of another, might I be a delusional madman sitting in an asylum simply imagining all of this? Is each perception of reality a whole universe, in truth?

I'd call today the first day of Spring. Or rather, whatever better name you might give the season we in the Adelaide region get starting somewhere around August. I felt the season shift, and so did the birds. Today was warmer, and not only in the middle of the day. In the properly Wintry season, we might get a bit of sunshine, but the chill sets in again from about 3:30 in the afternoon. Today the sunshine warmed me to my bones, and there was no hint of chill until after the sun had gone down.

Unfortunately the Bureau are predicting a dry season. Double unfortunately, I've been seeing soil that should be nice and damp instead quite dry in the middle of Winter, and this does not bode well for plant establishment. Soil wetting agents should sell well this year.

I favour Saturaid as my wetting agent of choice. Simple granular product, easy to use by spreading handfuls about the place. Give the soil a dose around about now, while we still have some little bit of rain to fall, and then re-apply in November. The manufacturers, Debco, say apply in Spring and then reapply every six months, but honestly, the non-wetting soils in the AMLR region are properly non-wetting. In particular the soils in Belair, through Blackwood, Bellevue Heights, and the dreaded Eden Hills, have horrific soil hydrophobicity that just keeps coming back.

Once you have a wetting agent down, it is a good idea to get a decent layer of mulch going. To foster water retention, choose a mulch with a good percentage of large pieces. Compost fines, while beneficial to the soil, soak up moisture; and if they are on the surface, that moisture is easily lost. You want something the water will pass through, into the soil below. The Eco-Mulch product from SA Composters is tried and true. Though it has a fair amount of compost fines in it, these wash to the bottom where they are needed and the broader pieces stay up top to offer protection, before breaking down in their turn.

Personally I avoid using straw or hay unless you water via drip irrigation beneath it. Using a straw mulch and watering with a hose is a recipe for moisture loss.

I'm going to bounce a rubber ball against the wall of my padded cell, now. It will bounce because I believe it will.

No comments:

Post a Comment