There’s a new scent wafting through the neighborhood. Is it the smell of success, or is it… my garden? I’m a committed mulch gardener, and in past seasons, I’ve managed to keep my garden thriving with materials from my own backyard, whether it be fermented or fresh grass clippings. But this year, the garden has grown larger (hooray!) and it’s been an unusually dry spring, leaving me with no grass to cut. So, I decided to try something new: ensilage.
Now, if you’re familiar with my previous posts about pyralid in hobby gardens, you might be surprised by how recklessly I seem to be pouring on this untested ensilage. But fear not! I’ve taken precautions. I haven’t applied any of it to my greenhouse yet, where my tomatoes are growing. Tomatoes are particularly susceptible to pyralid, and I wouldn’t want to put them at risk.
So before i consider adding this ensilage to the greenhouse, I’m conducting an experiment with a test plant of both beans and tomatoes, nourished with nutrients from this ensilage. I want to observe whether these plants display the classic signs of pyralid damage before I add it in the greenhouse. For other, less pyralide sensitive plants it’s at this point a risk I’m willing to take, as with the extremely dry spring we’re experiencing, it’s critical to retain moisture in the soil to keep the plants green and growing.
So, while it may be a bit stinky, and perhaps a little risky, bringing ensilage into my garden for the first time is an experiment I’m excited about. Fingers crossed that the ensilage doesn’t harbor any unwelcome surprises! In the meantime, it’s certainly added a new aesthetic appeal to my garden!
Some reasons why mulching gardens with ensilage can be beneficial:
- Moisture Retention: Ensilage can help to retain moisture in the soil, especially useful during dry seasons. This can help to reduce the need for frequent watering and thus conserve water.
- Nutrient Enrichment: As it decomposes, ensilage can enrich the soil with nutrients that are essential for plant growth. This can potentially reduce the need for additional fertilizers.
- Soil Structure Improvement: The addition of organic matter such as ensilage can help improve soil structure, making it more friable and enhancing its capacity to retain nutrients and water.
- Weed Suppression: When used as a mulch, ensilage can help suppress weed growth by blocking sunlight, thus reducing the need for manual weeding or the use of herbicides.
- Temperature Regulation: Ensilage can help regulate soil temperature by insulating the ground. This is beneficial for root development and overall plant health.
- Improved Plant Health: With better moisture retention, nutrient availability, soil structure, and temperature regulation, plants are likely to be healthier and more productive.
It will be interesting to evaluate this in the Autumn! Best thing or biggest mistake? We will find out during the session!
Here’s to exploring new possibilities in the garden, and to a season full of growth. Stay tuned for updates on my ensilage adventure! Happy gardening, everyone.