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Yay!  It's officially Autumn!  Sure, some hot days still to come no doubt, but overall the nights are cooler and we are in for some FANTASTIC gardening weather over the next couple of months.  

We have some very exciting news for you if you're wanting to get your garden beds ready for planting.  Our VIP customers will know that in February (during that ridiculous heatwave we had) we offered for the first time ever FREE delivery on bulk loads.  It was a popular promotion and sure helped the phones ring when we were so deathly quiet; so it got us thinking.  We know delivery costs are a dis-incentive for some of you to order from us; so we asked ourselves - "How can we make deliveries cheaper?"  Of course there is a very real cost to transport and logistics; so it is not something we can simply write off. However we have worked hard to crunch some numbers & we're going to trial a NEW pricing structure in March.  (Click here for full details.)

Also - our workshop schedule is up & running - we have got some great sessions planned this year; keep an eye on our brand new Events page (click here) which will be updated regularly as details are locked in.  (Below is a photo taken at one of our recent Propagation workshops, which participants really enjoyed!)

So it's time to get busy - learning, growing and gardening!  Let's get to it!

Linda & The Team @ GLSC

In This Newsletter:

Jobs to do in the Garden NOW
What to Plant Now
Workshops Coming Up!
Delivery Pricing Deal
No Dig Gardens - Pro's & Con's
VIP Discount Deal & other GLSC news

Jobs to do in the Garden Now

  • Get Planting!  Time to sow seeds of most of your winter vegies,  Make sure you record the date/s you plant.  We have a large Autumn Eden Seed order on its way - keep an eye on our Facebook page for the announcement (and competition) when it arrives.
  • Spent summer crops?  Remove plants and compost healthy material (bin anything that is diseased).
  • Prepare the soil in your garden beds ready to take transplanted seedlings.  Now is the time to top up with our Concentrate product, or manure/compost if you make your own.  Don't forget to add some rock dust/trace elements; and keep soil moist before planting.
  • Prune back your lavender plants & deadhead summer flowering perennial plants.
  • Keep up the water; although as temperatures cool, you may be able to reduce the watering time and frequency.  Check your soil moisture levels before watering and if things are damp; give it a miss for a day!
  • Visit your local nursery and stock up on Autumn flowering annuals; pot some up to get some lovely winter colour in your garden.

What to Plant Now

See our FREE 'When to Sow' guides for Vegetables and Herbs.
Some ideas for planting now include:

Globe artichokes, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Celeriac, Garlic, Kale, Kohl rabi, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Peas, Radish, Silverbeet, Spinach, Spring onion, Swede, Turnip.

New to gardening?   Click here for our BRAND NEW, FREE Growing Guide - Top 12 Autumn/Winter Edible Plants in Perth

Workshops @ The Green Life Soil Co

We are thrilled to announce a whole schedule of workshops @ GLSC, including:

5 March - Square Foot Gardening/Growing in Small Spaces - Nick Bell
12 March - Propagation 1 - for beginners - Leesa Caldwell
19 March - Grow Your Own Superfoods - Sparkles Murphy
2 April - Soil Essentials - Paul Mitchener
9 April - Introduction to Permaculture - Sparkles Murphy
16 April - Grow Nutritious & Delicious Food - Steve Wood
7 May - Lawn & Vegetable Growing in Perth - Nick Bell
14 May - Soil Essentials - Paul Mitchener
21 May - Propagation 2 - Leesa Caldwell
4 June - Eat Your Weeds - Sparkles Murphy
11 June - Herb Teas - Leesa Caldwell
19 June - Natural Pest Management in the Garden - Ross Mars
9 July - Fermented Foods - Ross Mars
16 July - Bio-intensive Growing - Harry Wykman
23 July - Bokashi & Composting for Suburbia - Jo Bussell/Urban Revolution
24 September - Grafting Techniques - Joe Tassone/Tass 1 Trees

Click here to see our new 'EVENTS' page for full details.  More workshops will be added when details fall into place - we have LOTS more ideas for workshops going into Spring...  Anything else?  Please LET US KNOW what you'd like to see us cover.  

Delivery Pricing Deal

We know that some of you find the price of our bulk deliveries an issue.  It's been something we've struggled with for some time - obviously, we'd love your business, but delivery is a real cost, so we have battled to find a compromise between affordability (for you) and profitability (for us).  Times are a little tough out there, but we still believe our products represent great quality & value, and that you'll continue to support us if we can cut our Green Lifers a great deal... So...

We have decided to take a leap of faith that you'll LOVE our new arrangement, and refer us to all your friends - and we are trialling the following NEW delivery structure:

  • FREE bulk delivery for orders over $300, within our inner/metro zone.  
  • Deliveries in this area under $300 will have a flat $50 delivery fee.

  • Orders over $300 delivered in our outer/metro zone will have a $30 delivery charge.  
  • Deliveries in this area under $300 will have a flat $80 delivery fee.
    perth delivery map

If you are outside of our metro zone - please call us to discuss delivery charges.

This is a BRAND NEW INITIATIVE - here's a map which we've quickly put together to indicate our new bulk delivery areas; We will refine this and add full details to our website very soon for easy confirmation of pricing.  In the meantime - please contact us if you have any questions.

To Dig or Not to Dig - That is The Question

People get excited about the prospect of having an 'easy' garden that doesn't require digging - and I can't say I blame them.  However, there are some important things to consider before deciding if a No dig garden is the best for you.  (Photocredit:  Milkwood Permaculture)

What is a 'No-Dig Garden'?

Basically, a no-dig garden can be plonked ANYWHERE - on paving; on lawn - so it's an option if you decide that the best spot to grow vegies (based on sunlight) is somewhere you don't already have a garden.  Ideally, build your garden on a level area - it is easier to retain moisture here than on a slope.

To start, you lay down a THICK layer of newspaper (about 1.5cms thick) or cardboard, overlapping well to ensure no gaps.  If placing on grass, it's not a bad idea to sprinkle a handful of blood & bone underneath the newspaper and water in.  Pre-soak the paper in a wheelbarrow of water first - that way you don't end up with a moisture barrier (of dry paper which soaks up the water rather than allowing it to remain in the soil); and the blood and bone below (when activated with moisture) will help rot down the grass.

On top of the paper, lay a good layer (about 20cms thick) of ideally pea or lucerne hay/straw - which is a little higher in nitrogen than plain mulching straw (although this can be used too), then sprinkle again with a good layer of pelletised poultry manure and/or blood & bone and/or good compost and water in well.  You can choose to layer straw & manure in a lasagna effect if desired.

Seedlings or seeds should be planted into generous pockets (10cm deep x 30cms across) of quality potting mix or soil, so that plant roots get well established; and in time they will grow into the decomposing straw which will continue to break down and become friable soil.  Esther Deans (the originator of No-Dig Gardening in the 1970's) suggested that large-leafed, spring crops like pumpkins were often the best to get a No-dig garden started with - as their large leaves would shade and protect the decomposing straw below, helping to keep in moisture.

No-Dig Gardens are a little different to Lasagne Gardens and Sheet Mulching - although the terms are quite often used interchangeably and many people make hybrid systems anyway.

Sheet mulching and lasagne gardening often involve slashing or laying material onto thick weeds - and thus saving yourself the onerous task of weeding before planting out a garden.  Often, other layers of material/s eg; lawn clippings, vegetable waste, soft green waste, leaf litter, animal manures, etc. are used in the system, and then topped with a more cosmetic mulch layer (like woodchips).  Planting holes are then dug down through all of this into the ground below, and if necessary, a handful of good fertile soil or compost is added where planting occurs, to raise the soil level.  Thus, weeds are smothered and plants get a good start in life as they are fed by the decomposing material.

Both these methods need good moisture levels to ensure the bulk material continues to break down and feed your plants.  It is also a good idea to use some kind of edging/barrier to prevent materials & nutrients washing away.  This can be rocks, bricks, suitable timber - whatever suits your purpose.

So the advantages of no-dig or lasagne gardens are, they:

  • can be built anywhere, quickly
  • can make good use of recycled or waste products without the need & time taken for intensive composting
  • can create soil from 'nothing' over a season or two
  • can be built to any size and shape you like - you're not restricted by prefabricated garden beds

But there are some drawbacks/considerations to keep in mind:

  • Availability of materials.  If you are having to buy in straw, and manure, etc - you may find a no-dig garden is a false economy; often you can dig a garden bed, improve existing soil, and even possibly bring in completely fresh soil for LESS than all the combined materials if you have to buy them - and then you still have to assemble it.  A lasagne garden is a great option providing you have access to free materials - but you need a reasonable amount; often more than you can obtain from the usual household/domestic sources.  Maybe contact some horse stables & collect free manure; or grab some large bins of green waste from your local green grocer.   If you are creative, and prepared to do some legwork - you can find what you need.

  • Watch out for root invasion.  Sure, this isn't only relevant to no-dig gardens; but if you are creating a garden on top of lawn, surrounded by lawn, or trees & shrubs - unless you use a good root barrier, within a season or two the newspaper and cardboard underneath your garden bed will have rotted away; leaving your fertile vegie garden a prime target for invasive roots to penetrate & steal all your soil nutrients.  Consider using a couple of layers of geotextile or an impervious layer (like pond liner or black plastic) if you want something more long lasting - this will often buy you several years. Competition from invasive roots is a big problem that is often overlooked by gardeners.  (We carry geotextile and builders plastic @ GLSC.)

  • No dig gardening is NOT a no work garden!  Popularity of No dig gardening stems from areas with heavy clay soils; where digging can be nigh-on impossible in summer.  Keep in mind any garden - particularly one with seasonal, edible crops; will need regular tending, weeding, and replenishing every season or two to make sure soil fertility is optimised.  The volume of a No dig/lasagne garden will drop fairly quickly, as the material decomposes.  The idea is to top this up every season with more straw/compost.  In time, you won't need to add as much as you build humus in the soil, but for a good few seasons the volume will need to be significantly added to.

So there you have it - things to consider if you want to give No Dig gardening a go! Remember there are no "rules"-  a layer thicker or thinner than I have mentioned, or using one ingredient over another isn't really going to be an issue.  Don't get hung up over minute details - the principle is to use a good range of organic waste products layered with a source of nutrients to build soil where previously there was none.

The main thing is to use what you can get your hands on - SUSTAINABLY - and get started.  We can help you with the individual input materials you may need, or we can quote you on a soil product if you wish to make a comparison.  Feel free to ask for advice, or attend one of our gardening workshops.

VIP Discount Deal - Free Rock Dust for your garden.

With Autumn finally here, it's the PERFECT time to get gardening...   We'd like to give our VIP's something to help get their gardens ready for a bumper growing season; so with any purchase over $100, VIP's can pick up a FREE 5kg Rock Dust (value $19.50).

Please ask for the deal in store* & on-line customers - please add the request to the delivery instructions/comments box in your order.

* If you're coming in to see us, if you have a container at home feel free to bring it to reduce our packaging costs & future rubbish for landfill!  Thanks!


Other news!

Now that school's back, if you are involved with fund raising and looking for something different, contact us about organising our bagged products (potting mix, soil improvers, compost & manure etc) that can help raise $$$ for your school's projects in 2016.

Until next time - Happy Gardening from The Team @ The Green Life Soil Co

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