Gardening in Perth means you are going to get acquainted with a quartz sand that repels water and is low in the good stuff most plants love.
You can add wetting agents and fertiliser as a short term fix for the water issue but without adding organic matter and some clay your vegetable beds won’t retain nutrients and water for long.
I have to admit that my normal soil improvement routine is sub par. I normally add a bit of compost, worm castings and manure to the very top of my beds and just under the roots of transplanted seedlings.
This is a step in the right direction but for new beds or tired old ones we want to get organic matter to more than just the top lens. I wanted to do better but didn’t want to have to dig the whole bed out and start again.
So I bought a garden auger drill bit (from Bunnings and made by Sutton Tools) for my cordless drill to get down to the bottom of the bed and break up compacted soil and old roots.
See the before and after:
The process is uncomplicated and surprisingly fun:
- Attach the bit
- Drill into the sand as far as the auger will go
- Pull the auger up and out
- Fill the resulting hole with organics (compost, manure etc), minerals ,(rock dust, egg shell, blood and bone etc) and a little bentonite clay
- Cover over with soil/sand
- Mix in compost and manure into the top layer
- Water the whole bed thoroughly to level it out
- Let the bed rest for a week or so.
Look at the sand (light grey color) that came up from the bottom of an established bed:
Neat little holes you can use to get nutrients down deep:
The holes are about 800 nn deeo and 50mm wide:
Mix in some more goodness to the top layer the deeper the better, with your pitchfork:
Now the soil is light and fluffy to a deep level and ready for planting:
Here are some more of my reviews: