Garden Beds and Flooding

A wet start to 2022

May 2022

Once the waters receded after the massive rainfall and flooding event that hit Brisbane in February and March 2022, we turned our minds to how we would tackle preparing our garden beds for replanting.

We were mindful that the soil had been inundated with contaminants, including sewerage. However, gardens are so resilient to whatever Mother Nature throws their way, including floods.

Soil solarisation

To begin the process of preparing the beds, we started with a soil solarisation process for the garden beds.

Soil solarisation is the process of utilising heat energy from the sun, to heat up the soil (to 49C and higher) to levels that will reduce the effects of soil borne diseases and naturally eliminate pest, weeds, and pathogens.

To do this, we covered the beds in black plastic (recycling existing rolls we had) to increase the temperature of the soil.

Cover cropping

Once the soil had been solarised, we forked through the soil, adding plenty of compost.

We thought it best to start with a non-edible crop in the garden beds for a start, and decided to use the beds as a demonstration of cropping techniques - giving others plenty to learn and see in the mean time.

We seeded the beds with wheat, clover, stylo, chicory and sorghum. In particular we gave intercropping a go with beans and wheat planted together in beds.

Beans provide a valuable source of nitrogen for the wheat crop, and reduces the need to fertilise. The intercropping of cereal and legume crops is quite common in farming settings, and we are giving it a go in the garden.

To add colour and interest we also added potted colour around the beds, so it wasn't long until we had greenery in the garden once more!

Following this, we will start planning our next round of edible crops.