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Garden beds for the tropical wet season

The best practice for high rainfall areas is to plant in raised beds or containers. This holds the soil structure together and gives the roots a chance to dry out when large volumes of surface water are present from a recent deluge of rain.  Permanent beds with a rock border work very well and gives a home to all the creatures that aid in a healthy garden. We found rocks as best borders as the worms seem to love living under them, much more than any other borders we have tried. Timber borders will entice white ants and treated timber will leach poison into your soils. If your garden is on a slope, place larger rocks on the back or downhill side, in a crescent shape with the front open, this will catch the nutrient washing downhill throughout the wet season. Old baths, tanks cut in half or just about any large size container will do if you want a more convenient and structured garden. this also gives better protection from white ants that will eat everything from tomatoes to cabbage's.

This idea can be utilized for the larger scale farm, constructing bed mounds across the flow of ground water during heavy rains. The idea is to catch the nutrient from the water running over the ground, and directing it into other beds before they are covered with water. We have our beds at least 30cm high.

Remember soil structure and nutrient washes out horizontally and downhill in the wet season with very little leaching into the sub soils. Direct this nutrient, to be caught in another area for your use.

Organic mater and manures are a must, ensuring bed have time to mature before planting. Keep beds mulched with good quality hay or use cover crops, planted before the monsoon. They are a great way to keep weeds down and will hold soils. Nitrogen giving plants like mung beans, soy beans are a great living cover which can be plowed in to improve soils.

Learning to work with nature will reduce manual working times spent in the garden. Have nature work for your garden. In the Northern Territory we have the best place in Australia to grow gardens, with our guaranteed rains in the wet season where we can expect violent and windy storms, therefore preparing ways protect our garden. And an abundance of ground water in the dry with predictable cooler and sunny days, with best growing conditions for best results. Can a commercial market garden be grown during the wet season? with a lot of planning and care yes, but best returns for commercial is in the dry where conditions are perfect. Can a wet season kitchen vegetable garden be grown with great results and returns for the table, of course, again with the correct planning and protection from storms, heavy rains and humid working conditions. Growing a vegetable garden is not a one size fits all approach, work with what you have, start small and learn the cycles of our wonderful seasons, moon cycles, and pests....there is no fail in gardening, just learning what works best with what we have.

Germination testing of 'Golden Bantam Sweet Corn, Before thinning out at 3 weeks.

Living mulch 'Mung Bean' on one of our trellis's and raised beds. Nitrogen fixing, holds and improves soils. Competes, dominates and eliminates weeds.

Quick results after adding our bio dynamic mulch, organic poo teas. Picture at top of the page is of the virgin soil, mounded into beds. Taken 8 months prior.

Note: We have more pest problems in the dry season than the wet, why???? well in the wet season there is an abundance of food around for all, life is easy in the word of a bug or wallaby. But in the dry you have just planted an oasis in the desert, with very little to eat anywhere else except in your beautiful garden.

Happy gardening,

Dundee Organix



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