Greetings from Alkimos


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Hello everyone,

I just found this forum and look forward to reading through it while I establish my own organic garden. I hail from the small coastal suburb of Alkimos Beach - approx 45km from Perth.

I'm currently building a home in the Alkimos Beach estate and gradually making plans for an organic garden that supplies our herb, vege and egg needs.

Some of the challenges I'll immediately face include improving the soil (mostly sand), adding height and depth to the garden spaces I have, and preventing wind erosion at the front of my block. The developers include all front retic and landscaping in order to revegetate the area with the coastal natives that were originally here and prevent erosion, but sand drift is still an issue while organic matter builds to a good enough depth to not budge on a windy day.

The dune plants thrive in a very short period of time, so getting hold of lots of tubestock and/or cuttings will be a priority early on. I've been reading about the benefits of using seaweed in layered beds and molasses to improve the soil, so I'm looking forward to experimenting soon.

I've never grown veges so close to the coast before, so I'd welcome any tips. I'm looking into strategies like keyhole gardens and hugelkultur methods to enrich the soil, but with a Corolla hatch I'm going to have to get creative in terms of gathering and transporting the logs, etc., I'll need for that!!

Any tips on gardening in coastal environments would be warmly welcomed, esp re: placement of fruit trees and tips for planting them here.

Happy gardening :)
 
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Welcome to the forums @rhizome86! It doesn't sound like you are going to be bored any time soon.:) I am also tropical Pacific Ocean coastal but up a hill with no sand to speak of. Still salt sea breezes and hearty winds are something new to me as far as gardening goes. A member here is container gardening with much success, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, etc. and i am inspired to follow her lead. Happy to have you here(y)
 
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Hi there @rhizome86 welcome to the forum.:)
You've certainly got your fair share of challenges to overcome!!
Love to see some pics!!:)
 
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Hi @Beverly and @Upsy Daisy ! Thank you for the warm welcome :) I'll look forward to reading your posts and seeing how you approach gardening organically on your own blocks. It certainly will be busy while we set everything up, but I'm happy to have the opportunity to build something from scratch -- a labour of love I'm thrilled about after 15 years of renting!

I'll attach some pics of the front garden, which is essentially a massive rockery. I'm going to cram this and the verges with herbs and native shrubs. The developers have already planted it out with a range of local plants like pig face, what looks like a creeping grevillea, and lots of coastal shrubs I've seen out on the dunes. Keeping the mulch on has been a challenge. Heavier wood chips are necessary, and I then had to spray them with PVA glue to hold them down. Sounds odd but after a lot of research it seems to be the main fixative used by councils on slopes near waterways and drains. It proved to be quite effective but I'll need to gather some bigger logs from the roadside or tip, to use as boundaries, to prevent wash outs from heavy rainfall.

The final pic is of our largest side yard, to the south of the house. This will be our main outdoor area and will be fenced in once the build is done. I'm thinking that this yard might be the best place to grow fruit trees, as they'll get sun if planted up against the fence, as well as a nice wind break. I'm thinking a citrus grove might do well there. I currently have a potted kafir lime tree, Tahitian lime tree and lemon tree, so I'm tempted to plant them all out in the southwest corner of this yard area. They've been potted for so many years though that I'm a little scared of putting them in the ground when it's so sandy. Any advice on transferring them into the ground and the soil improvements required would be appreciated!!

Happy gardening :)

P.S. The final pic is an aspirational one, and similar to the design I think we might go for in the side yard (with the path weaving around to the citrus grove in the southwest corner).
 

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Oh wow!!! Must be like living on a beach!!:)

I bow to you......you're doing a brilliant job, well done!(y)(y)
 
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Welcome rhizome86. :) It looks like you're gardening on pure sand and certainly a challenge. What you've achieved so far looks great! (y)

Regarding planting the trees you have. I would suggest digging out as large a hole as possible for each tree and fill it with soil, horse manure if possible and/or compost. I've gardened on sandy soil and now sandy loam and both devour mulch very quickly. These types of soil also need plenty of water which in turn flushes nutrients away as it's free draining.
 
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Thanks for the welcome :)

Yes @Sheal, it's going to need lots of manure and compost. Interestingly enough though, the gardens that have been established in the area are absolutely thriving and have become established very quickly. Sticking to plants that are indigenous to the area seems to be the most successful strategy as they grow well with a bit of topsoil and help to add structure underground.

The citrus that I have seen planted out are quite yellow on the leaves and seem to take a while to get going, so I'll definitely try that strategy you've suggested. Starting with raised beds will also be the most effective strategy for vege gardening I think, and more efficient than trying to improve the base soil straight away.

One strategy I have read about is adding clay to the sand. Apparently the local oval and surrounding landscaping was established by tilling in a mix containing clay, mushroom compost and, for memory, peat. I was considering getting a trailer of this delivered to till into the ground to start with, but I'm not sure if it will be cost effective or if just starting in raised straw beds and getting chooks, and gradually tilling in all of that, will be better. I guess ideally a mix of both wouldn't hurt?

Today our gas boosted solar hot water system will be installed. Exciting!!
 
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