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At Ligaya Garden, we’re often complimented on how well things grow. We’re usually asked our secrets and have decided to share a couple in upcoming posts like this one.
The first secret is a locally sourced compost that comes from a private property nearby. It is aged hay, animal manure (telling you the type of animal will give away the location) and pine needles. We are lucky enough to trade for this wonder stuff. That by itself is reason enough to go out and get to know your community!
This amazing material has formed over years as the Pine needles have fallen on a pile of hay and animals have foraged through it, breaking it down, mixing it and adding their special ‘additives’. Add to this that the area is a dump for old iron and steel which adds a boost of iron and you have the recipe for a powerhouse compost.
This well rotted, totally natural, compost is teeming with life. It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that you can feel it pulsing in your hand. Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch but the myriad of creatures that thrive within it and the extensive fungal mycorrhizae that you can find by gently disturbing it would probably argue in its favour.
There’s not a lot of this magic mix, so it has specific uses in our garden. It is ever so slightly acidic, so it gets used to feed our Blueberries and, this year, Coffee plants. We just spread it around where it is needed, not too much, as not much is needed and last year’s yields were the best yet
I’ll be experimenting further this year and have added some to each of the areas where I have previously, unsuccessfully, put mushroom spawn as there is still a little mycelia in those places. Whether that growth is from what I planted or whether it is just natural fungal growth remains to be seen. Whatever the origin, it is a good thing as we are striving for a fungal dominance in the soil of the front garden this year.
A fungally dominated soil benefits perennial plants, which are mostly what are growing at the front now. There will be a few self sown annuals popping up but, the intention has always been to grow perennials in that area. The mycorrhizal associations that form in the soil prefer a little acidity and even create it themselves eventually and the huge benefits that they give to plant growth by extending the range of the roots and the amount of nutrients that they can uptake are well worth any effort to get them established.