Archive of: Sand and Soil
A Guide for Gardeners – Soil and Nutrient Management
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In the same way that we test the soil before we lay the foundations of a house, the preparation that you put into your garden lays the foundation for the quality and quantity of your yield. This depends largely on the health of the soil in which you plant your garden, so getting the soil right is the most important step to having plenty of healthy vegetables, herbs and other plants.
One easy assessment that will provide you with some important information about the health of your soil can be done simply by viewing the colour of the soil. Dark brown or black soil indicates the presence of decaying organic matter, which means that the soil is likely to be quite fertile. Pale-coloured or yellow soil shows that there is a lack of organic matter and nutrients so the soil will need organic matter added to bring it up to where it needs to be for growing healthy plants. Red soil indicates the oxidising of iron compounds and although this soil will have good drainage, it will need the addition of organic matter and nutrients before planting.
Healthy soil is alive with vitality and provides food for the plants to ‘eat’ while they are growing. Organic matter is responsible for this life and vitality and this is where the nutrients for the soil live. It also holds moisture and attracts microorganisms and earthworms, which assist the fertility and structure of the soil. Organic matter consists of anything that was once alive such as compost, manure, mulch, lawn clippings and leaf matter.
Testing your soil for nutrients is a good way of working out what it needs and how you can provide it. Different fertilisers have various chemical compounds so testing the soil will give you an idea about which one is needed for the different plants you are growing.
Another way that you can provide nutrients for your soil, apart from organic matter, is through adding water soluble fertilisers. Nitrogen fertilisers need to be added frequently in small doses, so that the plants have time to use them without the fertilisers making the soil too acidic, which will burn the roots of the plant. Organic fertilisers such as manure will release nutrients slowly, and give the plant time to use them.
For more information about getting your soil as healthy as it can be, come in and talk to one of our experts at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre today.
Urban Gardening: How to Begin Composting
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Living on a farm makes it a lot easier to grow your own food and compost your scraps to produce more food – thereby continuing the cycle of growth and renewal. But often it is the case that for those living in urban areas, it is a lot more challenging to have the motivation and know-how of doing these things. The restrictions of space and time often prevent urban dwellers from knowing where to start with composting. However, achieving the dream of being as self-sufficient as possible, no matter where you live, is an attainable lifestyle choice.
Don’t Waste Anything
When someone dies and you attend a funeral, often somewhere during the proceedings you will hear the line “ashes to ashes, dust to dust”. This could refer to the idea that organic matter comes from the earth and returns to the earth. In the funeral context we remember that humans are made of organic matter – we are raised from the earth, and return to it once we are finished with our physical bodies.
Every organic item (and some non-organic items) that you come into contact with, have the ability to go back into the cycle and become something else. So start thinking outside the box. Look at things from the perspective of ‘how can this be used’ before throwing it in the bin.
Save Your Scraps
Preparing a healthy meal usually produces a bunch of vegetable scraps that are often thrown away into the bin where they go to landfill, and rot away next to a plastic bag or a disposable nappy. In this scenario, their use is limited and the cycle ends when they rot and become nothing. However, saving your vegetable scraps and composting them allows you to produce something from what would normally be discarded. Compost scraps can become food for your plants, so you can eat again, and again and again, from the same organic matter.
Compost does not need to be something that takes up a lot of space in your garden, especially if you have a limited area to use for what you want to do. Having a compost bin in the corner of your garden provides somewhere for you to throw your scraps, where they can become of use. Composting assists you in turning your vegetable scraps into fertiliser for your plants.
Did you know that worms love to eat your scraps? Worms will eat breads and grains, vegetables and fruits, as well as tea bags and coffee grounds. They turn this organic waste into rich soil that can be used for growing fresh food. You can easily create a worm farm with a little know how, and they do not take up much space, making them the ideal compost buddies for those living in urban areas.
What Is the Ideal Soil for Gardening All Year Around?
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Knowing your soil is an important part of getting your garden right, from the word go. There are many different types of soil, each with their own qualities and attributes that make them perfect for some things but not others. Depending on where you live, and the climate that you experience during the changing seasons, the various soils can have a different affect on how plants grow. Some soils are smaller in particle size, which helps them to hold water, while others are larger and the water drains straight through. The best soil to use for gardening all around is a combination of soils.
Different Soil Types
Sandy soil drains rapidly because of its large particles so it cannot hold water very well, which means that your young seedlings would not get enough water. Silty soil holds water very well, which would be great for your plants but it does not drain well so using this for gardening could cause problems with too much moisture.
Clay soil drains well and is rich in plant food but it becomes too dry during the warmer months of the year. Peaty soil has high water content and is rich in organic matter, but again, it can become too dry during the warmer weather. Saline soil has a high salt content which can stop the plants from being able to take in water, and can cause leaf burn, especially on the younger leaves.
The Winner Is…
Loam soil is the ideal soil for gardening all year around because of its high nutrient content and its ability to drain easily. Gardeners love this soil because it has just the right combinations of elements to be perfect for growing plants. Loam soil is made up of a balance of silty soil, sandy soil and clay soil. It is high in calcium and pH, and holds water but also drains well.
Loam soil is of a darker colour and has a crumbly consistency. If you don’t have loam soil in your garden, you can condition the soil that you do have by adding nutrients, layering compost over the top or spraying the plants’ leaves with a compost spray. For more information about the ideal soil for your garden talk to us at Bacchus Marsh and Redgum Garden Centre next time you stop by.
Tips To Get Your Plants To Grow Fast
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There are few things in life that are as rewarding as planting a garden, watching it grow and enjoying the fruits of your labour. The joy of watching something that you have planted come to life right before your eyes is a joyous experience. As each new shoot opens itself to the morning sun and gradually stretches and grows, you will be able to watch its progress and delight in its journey. Like any new birth, there are many different ways of going about the process, but a few helpful tips can assist you in getting the most out of your plants.
Prepare the Ground
In pretty much anything that you undertake, there usually always needs to be the foundational preparations that create the space for the evolution of new growth. You would not place a newborn baby into a dirty cot, with harsh scratchy blankets, and the same goes with newborn plants. If the ground is dull or lifeless, or has had chemicals used around it previously, it will not produce the best yield that it can. So the first step to growing healthy, fast growing plants is to prepare the ground.
Fertilise the Soil
One way to prepare the ground is to have a look at the soil and ascertaining what it might need, to prepare it for growing plants. If the soil is too dry or too wet, it will not be a good place for the plants to flourish in. Prepare the ground by aerating the soil regularly for a few days and adding some organic matter into the soil. This could be done by mixing in vegetable scraps, mushroom or any other compost, or buying specific fertilisers such as dynamic lifter. Keep turning the ground over and water it regularly until it starts to show signs of life. Once the soil is looking healthy, it will be ready for you to plant.
Grow Your Own Seedlings
Another way of helping your plants to grow fast is to grow your own seedlings. Placing seeds directly into the soil can take a lot longer than if you germinate them inside the house, or in a green area where conditions are monitored closely. Plants that have had this start in life will be strong when they meet the harsh elements of being outside and they will have more chance of flourishing.
For more tips on how to get your plants growing fast or to pick up some healthy seedlings to get your garden started, come and see us at the Bacchus Marsh and Redgum Garden Centre.
Sandy Loam Soil – What are the Alternatives?
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You may have read our article about the uses and benefits of sandy loam soil to the garden.
This article outlines what sandy loam soil is and what you need to do to help get your own garden soil to this condition, which is the most popular growing medium.
If you want to grow plants that thrive in this particular soil then by all means, come visit us here at Bacchus Marsh Redgum & Garden Centre. Our staff members have the know-how to create any blend you need to get your garden blooming.
Today, however, we want to share with you the alternatives that can be equally satisfying.
Sandy or Clay Soil
There are many beautiful plants that you can grow in these soil mediums.
In a clay soil, you can grow asters, goldenrod, daylily, yarrow, canna or black-eyed Susan with ease.
In a sandy soil broccoli, asparagus, crape myrtle, lavender, gazania, and cleome will thrive.
If you do not have a set idea of how you want your garden to look or what you want to grow then you will be safe to select plants that grow in the type of soil you are blessed with. By doing this, you may also be contributing to your community as these plants have a good chance of being native to the area.
Freeing You Up For Other Projects!
Choosing to work with what you have will free up your time to move on to other projects such as creating rock or paved pathways, garden edging and retaining walls. Maybe even that Balinese hut or outdoor spa you have been dreaming of.
Bacchus Marsh Redgum & Garden Centre stocks a complete range of drainage and decorative rocks ranging from the 20mm Tuscan pebble or rainbow rock all the way through to large 120mm granite.
The sand also comes in a variety of grades to suit any job.
Our Adbri masonry range of pavers comes in an assortment of styles and colours.
We also supply a large range of reinforced mesh, a variety of cement and mortars, and many tradesman’s tools to suit just about any DIY or commercial job.
Come in and visit our friendly and knowledgeable team. Their wide knowledge base will not only get you on the road to creating your own pathways, walls, and edging but can also save you time and effort as we share some tips of the trade, so to speak.
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Sandy Loam Soil: Use and Benefits to the Garden
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In gardening, one big challenge is obtaining the right soil to make the plants grow and to make them grow healthy. The type of soil to use will depend on the type of plants being cultivated. Some plants need clay types while others thrive with sandy types. In between, there is sandy loam. This type of soil provides just the right balance perfect for many kinds of vegetation.
What is Sandy Loam?
Sandy loam is made up of a good amount of sand, silt and clay. The composition makes it an ideal soil type for many plant types because of the balance it gives. Sand gives the soil better drainage capability, something that clay is not very good at. Clayey soil tends to absorb water, so if the composition is not balanced with sand particles, the soil becomes oversaturated.
Most of the existing garden soil types are already sandy loam such that most of the time, there really is no need to add extra top soil. But in some cases, the soil is not balanced with the right amount of silt, clay and sand.
One of the best ways to ensure that the garden soil is just right is by testing it for acidity levels. Sand is acidic, so too much of it will make the soil too acidic. The gardener can use a pH tester to determine the acidity of the soil. If the plants that will be used require slightly acidic soil, then all that is needed is to add a bit of sand to the soil.
Improving Top Soil
Even with the right mixture of sand, silt and clay, sandy loam is not necessarily the perfect soil for cultivating plants. This type of soil often requires regular irrigation because water tends to seep through the soil during irrigation. It may be necessary to treat the soil to make it amenable to some plant types. For instance, adding compost or peat moss will greatly improve the topsoil’s ability to retain water to minimise the need for watering. Treating sandy loam will also help the topsoil to retain nutrients needed by the plants.
To get just the right soil for the garden, it will be good for the gardener or garden DIY enthusiast to consult with a trusted landscape supplier such as Bacchus Marsh Redgum & Garden Centre. The landscape supplier provides quality soil to grow healthy plants. Bacchus Marsh Redgum & Garden Centre can also provide landscape supplies that will greatly improve the quality of the topsoil.
What Makes a Good Garden Soil?
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When planning to set up a garden in your front yard or backyard, we tend to focus on picking which pants, trees or shrubs to plant. We imagine how the greenery and those blooming flowers will make our yard pleasing to the eyes. However, in order to have happy, healthy plants, the garden soil must be the correct texture and contain full nutrients.
Before starting a new garden, know the quality of soil in your yard, including the pH level, which fertiliser the soil will require, as well as what additives and organic matter will be effective to help you achieve a robust, vibrant garden.
Plants need three major nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Nitrogen plays a major role in making leaves healthy and growing stems. Phosphorus is responsible for root growth. This nutrient is very vital in flowering bulbs and root crops. Potassium is used for overall plant health. Plants grow and develop stronger immune systems with potassium. Aside from the three major nutrients, plants need a number of trace elements to be healthy. These include calcium, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum and more.
Soil acidity or alkalinity is measured by pH level. Soil pH is important because nutrients in the soil can only be used by plants if the soil pH is within a certain range. Various plants require different pH levels. The only method to know the pH level of your soil is to have it tested. Changing soil pH will take a while and your soil will tend to return to its old pH level over time, requiring frequent treatment.
Compared to soil fertility, it is more complicated to alter soil texture. Texture means the size of the soil particles. Sandy soils have very big particles, whereas clay has small particles. A simple test to determine soil texture is by making a ball of moist garden soil. Sandy soil breaks apart when you tap it. The soil is clay if you can press it between your thumb and finger and fashion a ribbon.
An ideal garden soil is what is called a sandy loam. It is light and permits air and water to move freely. The soil should also have some tilth, which has a fine, breadcrumb-like texture. This texture is created by adding sufficient organic matter to the soil.
Organic matter refers to decaying plant or animal matter. Soil contains some organic matter, but it is not adequate to meet a plant’s needs. Your soil can achieve tilth by adding decaying organic matter, or humus. Organic matter helps sandy soil keep water and makes clay soil looser to allow for water, air and root movement. The primarily role of organic matter is that it promotes the growth of beneficial microbes and supplies some nutritional benefits.
Sand for your Building Supply Needs
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Sand is a vital material for various construction jobs. You have to find a trusted supplier that can recommend and offer you the right type of sand for the job. Construction work follows a strict schedule. When your supplier fails to deliver on time, the construction phase could be jeopardised.
Bacchus Marsh Redgum and Garden Centre has been in the building and garden supplies business for decades. You can trust them to meet any of your construction material needs with their wide range of products, ranging from builders’ hardware to rocks and sand. The following commercial sand products are available: White Brick Sand, Orange Brick Sand, Concrete Sand, Packing Sand and Triple Washed Sand. For more information about sand products, visit http://bacchusmarshredgumgardencentre.com.au/.
Customers can expect friendly service and advice from staff. Bacchus Marsh Redgum and Garden Centre also owns a fleet of trucks, allowing for prompt deliveries and even same day deliveries if you are near the shop’s location. If the product you want is in stock, the company will deliver it promptly.
White Brick Sand
White Brick Sand is light grey to white in colour. It is the common mortar mix or brick, block or stone laying. It is ideal for underneath your pool as it is soft and fine in texture. It is also perfect for brick bagging as it can produce a range of colours when mixed with cement and oxides.
Orange Brick Sand
This sand is mainly used for mortaring brickwork and stonework when the requirement is to achieve a dark coloured mortar. Orange Brick Sand is also a perfect base when building a pond liner or above ground pool.
Concrete sand is the coarsest of all types of sand. It is washed and screened to a bigger grit than masonry sand. Concrete sand is ideal for mixing with cement and aggregate to produce concrete.
Like concrete sand, packing sand is also coarse. Produced from the wash of aggregate gravels, packing sand is used by paving contractors as a base to lay their pavers. It is also suitable as a fill material for underneath concrete slabs.
Triple Washed Sand
Also known as white washed sand or sand pit sand, Triple Washed Sand is high quality sand that is perfect for children’s sand pits. It is also the perfect base when laying paving and installing retaining wall systems and joining between pavers. Triple Washed Sand may also be used in concreting, fine rendering and plastering projects.
Looking For Landscape, Garden, Building and Concrete Supplies?
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Bacchus Marsh Redgum and Garden Centre P/L is a locally owned and operated business supplying building and garden supplies to the trade and the local domestic market.
With over 50 years experience combined in the industry, we are sure we can help you with whatever you may need.
We offer prompt, same day delivery and a friendly service that you just can’t beat including:
- A wide range of garden, building and concrete products.
- Friendly service and advice with same day delivery service.
- A large fleet of trucks, so we are able to provide clients with prompt deliveries.
- Seasonal firewood.
- Wood chips
Firewood Needed to Keep Winter Chills at Bay
If you are looking for warmth and comfort in the cold winter months, look no further than the Bacchus Marsh Redgum and Garden Centre where supplies of split redgum are ample and readily available. Our customers want reliable supplies of firewood, especially for those early mornings when the frost crackles underfoot and the chill winds find their way through the tiniest crevice and into their homes.
Keeping the inside of the home warm on such days requires a handy supply of dry wood. To get the most effective heating capabilities, wood should be dried to 10% to 20% moisture content. While green wood will certainly burn, a large part of the energy generated from burning green wood is consumed in evaporating the moisture held in the wood. The best quality firewood is cut, split and stacked in a dry, well ventilated area for a few months before it is used.
Minimise Negative Environmental Effects
Does your conventional wood heater comply with Australian Standard AS4013? If it does, you can freely burn timber without feeling guilty about the environment. Dry wood is low in sulphur emissions and leaves little ash residue when burnt in a compliant wood heater. Dry wood is also easier to split and easier to ignite.
As a renewable energy source, plantation firewood is excellent because it re-grows readily with many species shooting quickly from the cut stumps. There is an argument to be made that burning plantation firewood is carbon neutral provided the timber is regrown, as the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from burning the timber is neutralised by the same amount of CO2 being absorbed by the next growth of trees.
Plantation Timber a Renewable Resource
This is good news for anyone worried about the effect their wood heater is having on the environment. Everyone wants to be warm and comfortable during winter, and relaxing at home around a wood fire is one of the best ways to do that. It is not relaxing if you feel guilty every time you stoke it, so knowing that using plantation timber is environmentally responsible should see you well stocked with split redgum for the long winter ahead.
A hardwood like split redgum is much denser than soft wood and gives off more energy. The Bacchus Marsh and Redgum Garden Centre prefer split redgum for its desirable properties, and are waiting to take your order for your winter supply.
Our Address: 182 Gisborne Road, Bacchus Marsh, Vic 3340
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