Bare Earth… No way! 

I’ve been sharing this pic around because it’s an unusual event in the garden. When we bought the block, the first thing we did was cover the whole front yard with layers of newspaper and about 10cm (that’s 4″ in the old measurement) of compost and mulch. After a frustrating wait of a few days, we started to plant heavily and have never stopped. The perennials cover most of the ground and there are some seasonal annual treats that we weave into the tapestry. Along with perennial, edible ground covers such as Warrigal Greens and Sweet Potato, we have an underlayer of perennial tubers and root veggies that pop up when they’re ready. In short, nothing is left uncovered. There are four reasons we created the garden in this way:  water retention (it gets hot and dry here) cooling (the air in the garden is always cooler than the surrounding area in the hot Aussie Summers) reduced maintenance (no lawn

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Azolla (Azolla filiculoides and others)

Azolla is a genus of aquatic ferns that can have an important role in a garden. Azolla filiculoides or ‘Red Azolla’ is the most common species around here, but the rest are pretty similar. What makes it good for gardens? Azolla is simple to grow – just water and sunlight is enough, though it does like a few nutrients too. Azolla can double its mass in 3 days! Wow! that’s really important because it can easily supply us with a lot of organic material. Of course, conditions apply…in non-perfect conditions, it can take longer, maybe up to two weeks. This means you have to buy less mulch or compost for your garden. Azolla ferns also plays symbiotic host to a species of bacteria that fixes nitrogen from the atmosphere (and I suppose the water too). Fixing nitrogen into the biomass means a more nutritious addition to your garden mulch. Prolific and fast growing Azolla is rich in protein (25 –

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Funny fungi.

An amazing pillow of fungus. I don’t know what it is.

It looked so delicate growing from the straw mulch that I had to touch it. The last pic shows some on my finger. It is slimy when touched and squishes easily.

I was tempted to taste it. A tiny dab on my tongue let me know it had no taste and I’m still alive after an hour.

So much amazing life is coming from this bag of chopped pea straw. I shall have to buy more!