We’re currently running two experimental sites within the bushland around our house to find out the most effective way to regenerate the understorey. Earlier this winter, one site was direct seeded and one was planted with seedlings – for more information on these check out my earlier blog post “Understorey Regeneration” (6 Oct 2016).
The second phase of the project was to apply ‘soil water’ to half of each site. The principle is to take soil from healthy bushland, wash the fantastic fungi, microbes etc from it, then apply to my degraded sites, hopefully transferring healthy soil biota to assist the regeneration effort.
So, I off-loaded the children, loaded up the ute with buckets and a shovel and headed up to the ridge line immediately north of our house. This area has some fabulous woodland areas, fenced off from sheep with a gorgeous array of understorey species. I filled up four buckets with topsoil from three sites and headed back down to my bushland.
Then realised I needed a water supply. So back to the house to fill up a range of vessels with water from our rainwater tank first!
At the seedling site, I mixed the soil and water into a watering can, and spread it over the northern half of the site encompassing half of the tree-guarded seedlings and half of the un-guarded seedlings. (Just a side note, I think the guarded seedlings are faring a little better so far, based on their colour and new growth. They were all planted 7 weeks ago).
It soon became apparent that a watering can wasn’t an effective method, as the spout kept blocking up! So I switched to a bucket instead.
After two buckets worth of soil (from the Scout Block site and the sheoak site) were dispensed, I refilled my water supply and headed for the direct seeded site.
Here (using buckets to mix the soil water), I again applied it to the northern half of the site. And a whole chunk of it to my boots and the bottom half of my pants… Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of this muddy mess!
Soil for the direct seeding site came from the Scout Block and the ridgeline sites.
So now we sit back and watch to see what happens. My bets are on the seedling site working best, as the direct seeded site seems to have attracted the unwanted attention of 28 Parrots and Pink & Grey Galahs. I’m hoping that the soil water has helped the northern half of each site too – I guess time will tell!
And on another note – I’ve found some more wildflowers re-appearing in our bush too. Aren’t they gorgeous!?