Building healthy soil and establishing avocados

As always, it’s been very busy in the horticulture department this season at the Ecovillage. With the vineyard planted out, we turned our attention to the avocado orchard.

First up, we sowed a protective summer cover crop of sunflowers, sorghum and cowpeas on the side of the mounds just in time to catch the last decent rain. Then we marked out the planting spots, dug the holes, set up the reticulation and put out compost for every tree. The planting was done with a team over a couple of days, each tree receiving special treatment and a dip in vermi liquid and mycorrhizal spores before going into the holes with compost. They were then mulched, staked and watered in. All up, there are around 720 trees in the ground and we have repotted another couple of hundred to be used as landscape trees down the track. Glad to have that job done!

This season is proving to be particularly hot, dry and windy, and it’s quite a job keeping the expansive areas under horticulture hydrated. It’s great to have plenty of water at our disposal in the dams. Also important is getting our soil organic matter, structure and cover healthy so we can catch and make the most of what water falls in situ. The extensive cover cropping we did in all areas this winter really helped to smother weeds, stabilise the soil and improve the carbon content. The remaining mulch, stubble and decaying roots have vastly improved infiltration. I hope you enjoy this little video taken in the demonstration market garden at the Ecovillage, which illustrates my point.