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Rain Rain Go Away, Come Again Another Day

I awoke earlier this week to news that there is a better than a 50% chance La Niña will continue until at least October.

Springfield is saturated, our four dams are overflowing and we have 500,000 litres of beautiful drinking water in our 6 rainwater tanks.

Luckily all our veggie gardens are above ground no dig gardens, chock-a- block full of organic material, so drainage has been good. It’s been the lack of sun and the long wet overcast days that has meant low soil temperatures and lower than usual vegetable yield.

Our pumpkin patch this year produced about 100 pumpkins, well down on the 200 plus last year. Nevertheless the kids still loved the Easter tradition of the Pumpkin hunt and collection.

I have been curious to see what impact all the water has had on the microbe and fungal count in the soil and compost.

Excess water displaces oxygen in the soil and impacts the number and type of bacteria present. To test my beds and compost I used my Microbiometre, this is a low cost (about $10 a test) 20 minute on site soil test for microbial biomass and fungal to bacteria ratio, this allows me to quickly determine the health of my soil.

All was well in both the bays (with tons of compost that was covered during the heaviest rains), and in the raised beds.

You may remember 10 months ago we built and filled a Johnson-Su Bioreactor designed to produce a biologically diverse fungal dominant compost.

I lifted the frame off to expose the finished product, it was a beautiful rich compost about 40% of the volume we started with.

Did it work, was it fungal dominant ?

The answer was YES and I have the test results to prove it.

As of end of April all the raised beds have been cleaned up, a new layer of fresh compost has been layered on and all the winter veg is in: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, all-season carrots, peas, kale, silverbeet, beetroot and garlic.

They are all doing well in spite of the weather and with a little luck all our winter retreats will be well served with fresh organic vegetables.

Farmer Pete

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