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Corn Debris

Photo: Corn Debris

Autumn is a great time to prepare your winter garden. In this article I will take you through how to rebuild your garden’s soil after another successful growing season.

Building upon your success

Many gardeners always have a large amount of crop debris lying on the soil’s surface after the summer harvest. This debris is ideal for turning back into the soil because it helps rebuild your soil with carbon for next season.

The nitty gritty

Begin by digging a trench and place the debris in there. You can place any garden debris including weeds, cabbage stalks and pumpkin haulms into this. To enhance the breakdown, I cut any larger pieces using a Niwashi knife. Then I cover the trench over again for the winter.

Now apply a soil beneficial microbial inoculant such as Earth Zing. This helps the breakdown process of the material and adds/replaces some valuable soil nutrients. The picture shows how I have disposed of old corn stalks and leaves by placing them back into the ground.

To complete the process, you can cover the bare soil with mulch material. This serves to protect the soil surface from winter rains and helps suppress weeds.

Stepping into Spring

By spring, there should be very little of the added material remaining. Also, rather than dig up the area, it is best practice to plant the area with seedling transplants.

Any other bare soil remaining is best protected by sowing a cover crop. Some great options include mustard, oats and lupins.

But my favourite is rye corn as this plant grows quickly and has a large bulky root system. When dug back in, the rye corn provides a lot of root mass which provides plenty of goodness to the soil once it breaks down.

The value of rock dust

Finally, before sowing the rye corn, give the soil a good dressing of basalt rock dust. Rock dust contains a huge variety of micro – nutrients and has many positive effects on the soil such as:

  • Promoting the enrichment of nutrients in the soil.
  • Encouraging tilth formation and thereby a stable balance of nutrients and water.
  • Inhibiting the rot processes and assisting in the decomposition of organic matter.
  • Supplying the soil with minerals and trace elements to preserve an active soil life.

Gardens that utilise rock dust (whether in compost or on the surface) are distinguished by healthy, flavoursome and long-lasting harvest products. This is why Earth Zing contains basalt rock dust and humates. Order your EarthZing today and enjoy getting out in the garden this autumn.