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Granite Belt Gardening

Our beautiful region here on the plateau is unique in both climate and soil types. It is important to understand a little about each of these so that you can select plants that will thrive in this area. Below is a broad introduction to what makes the region unique.

The Granite Belt region has two broad soil types; granite and traprock.

Granite soils are derived from decomposed granite rock. These soils vary depending on topography. In the higher, hilly areas soils are generally very coarse, well-drained and infertile (predominantly sand) whereas in in the valleys and lower lying areas soils are more loamy with some clay and greater amounts of organic matter.

Traprock soils are sedimentary and the line between traprock and granite soils is usually abrupt. Natural vegetation types are quite different. Traprock is more suited to open woodlands and grass. It has a high clay content, is difficult to cultivate and water has difficulty penetrating into the soil. A plus of this is that when water does manage to penetrate, it is retained for longer periods than in granite soils.

With either type of soil, the more organic matter, manure and mulch that you mix in with the natural soil, the more fertile it will become.

Our soils have a pH of between 4 and 6.5, making it quite acidic. Acidic soils are great for growing certain plants, as seen in the picture below. Apples, grapes, camellias, azaleas and roses all like acidic soils and are therefore a good choice for growing in our area. Adding lime, mushroom compost and fowl manure are easy ways of raising pH should you wish to do so.

The Granite Belt is generally considered to fit the category of a cool or mountain climate zone (Australian Zone 2), however there are pockets that are significantly warmer, particularly if your garden is in the shelter of a hill or on a northern facing slope. In this case your climate zone is more temperate (Australian Zone 3).

A great site for detailed planting tips on what to plant in your veggie garden is http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/vegieguide/


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