Gardening more than just a job for Adam

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

We were thrilled to recently receive an update from one of our former job seekers, Adam Lopez. EPIC helped Adam secure work as a gardener for UKI Public School in Murwillumbah back in February 2018. Since then, Adam has excelled in his role. The school is incredibly proud of all the hard work Adam does to keep the gardens vibrant.

For Adam, gardening is more than just a job – it has helped him in many aspects of his life.

“Gardening has been really helpful for my mental health over the years and I strongly recommend gardening for people of all ages”, says Adam.

“It helps me feel complete and one with nature. The rewards are huge when you can see what has been achieved and see your hard work. It’s also a great time to just zone out and put your mind to the task at hand.”

EPIC asked Adam to write a blog on his best tips for gardening in spring. Adam’s gardening talents will surely help everyone to make their garden look fresh and rejuvenated.

Green gardens with wooden school sign
The gardens that Adam cares for at UKI Public School

Adam’s Spring Gardening Tips

Spring is here and Summer is coming fast. This is a great time to get a few things done in the garden before summer hits us.

Before you begin, it’s a great time to get out all your gardening tools and sharpen them and make sure they are ready for work. I use linseed oil on wooden handles to restore them. Now you are ready to go!

First, you need to clean out all the debris and weeds by digging them out or just pulling them out by hand. Make sure you get them by the roots.

Bring that soil back to life as it will most likely be dried out and depleted of nutrients.

Now water water water water!

I like to add a bit of fertiliser to boost up the nitrogen content in the garden. I just use a bit of Rooster Booster or any type of pellet form chicken manure. Add some organic material like mushroom compost or cow manure as well. It’s a good idea to check your soil PH – you may have to sweeten up the mix with a bit of garden lime to raise the PH of acidic soils. There are plenty of additives to choose from like blood and bone or even a slow-release fertiliser.

Pruning will be your next step, make sure you prune after flowering so as you don’t cut off future flower buds.

Remember the 3 Ds: damaged, dead or diseased.

Wall of hanging plants in milk containers
Adam’s hanging garden using milk bottles

If your plants and shrubs show signs of the 3 Ds, cut them back!

In addition to adding composts and fertilisers, add mulch to your new or revived garden. Usually

3-4 inches thick will do the job and will suppress weeds and diseases. It will hold moisture and keep the temperature in the soil from rising too high in the summer heat. It’s a good practice to keep the mulch a few inches away from the stem of plants to prevent them from root rot.

Once you have sorted out the garden, it’s time to add some new plants and flowering shrubs as desired. Check with your local gardening store as to what is in season. Try planting perennials rather than annuals as they last 2 to 3 years and you won’t have to replace them every year.

Now all that is needed is water. Try and limit watering to mornings and evenings to prevent plants from burning in the heat of the day.

Most importantly, get your hands dirty, clear your mind and have fun!

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