I have been having some problems in the vegetable patch. The garden in Durban, where I used to live, has a sandy soil that I had built up over the years to a good loamy sandy soil with lots of vegetable matter. Now I have dense clay and I find myself at sea.
My cucumbers started off well and then just fizzled out. My peppers grew and then just dropped their leaves and produced small hard fruit.
And then I remebered Toni's book. I bought it a while ago at the House and Garden Show in Pietermaritzburg. With the move here to Hluhluwe it got packed away in a box marked "Books to Keep" and I forgot about it. As I had recently bought a wonderful old bookshelf I started unpacking my "Books to Keep" Boxes. And the first one I unpack has "Cultivating Flavour" by Toni B. Walters in it. I promply suspended my unpacking, made a good cup of coffee and sat down to figure out what the problem is.
When I built the raised beds I placed thin layers of clay, then compost and organic fertiliser and then another thin layer of clay. I think the layers of clay are a little too heavy and the rich nitrogen from the decomposing compost is just a little too much so I am going to dig in a little more compost and then follow that with strict crop rotation.
Bed 1 will get Cabbages, onions, bok-choi, spring onions, interspersed with marigolds. These veges love the nitrogen from the decomposing compost.
The other beds will just have to lie fallow until they have had their turn with the above veg.
So hopefully, problem solved.
And Toni, thanks...from a kindred spirit.
PS The reason this book is my favourite is because it deals with local condition and seasons.