Garden Guardians of the Bay

Protect our Bay, Garden this way!

  • Grow Australian native plants. 
  • Add clay to improve sandy soils. 
  • Apply soil wetter twice a year.
  • Use coarse chunky mulch. 
  • Use composted manures at Bay OK rates
  • Use slow release fertiliser instead of general fertiliser
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Garden Guardians of the Bay will save the day – protecting Geographe Bay for all of us, by keeping nutrients where they belong. 

The fertilisers that we put on our gardens can run off into waterways and groundwater. The health of Geographe Bay  and local wildlife is at risk if this nutrient runoff increases. 

Use coarse chunky mulch.

A layer of mulch spread on your gardens maintains soil moisture, protects plant roots and microbes from heat stress, prevents weeds, and feeds the soil as it slowly decomposes.

There are plenty of mulches to choose from. Select a coarse chunky mulch that will let water run through into the soil. Maintain a 7.5 cm thick cover throughout the year. 

Apply soil wetter twice a year.

Soil wetter improves the absorption of water into the soil, reducing the surface tension of water and helping it to spread more evenly through the soil.

Soil wetter comes in both liquid and granular forms and is easy to apply. Activate it by watering in. Lawns and gardens will benefit from two or more applications of soil wetter during late spring and summer. 

Grow Australian native plants.

Choose native plants which are suited to the local soil and climate. They use less water and nutrients, and if you choose the right plant for the right spot, are easy to grow and maintain.

Native plants will attract wildlife into your garden and provide valuable habitat. Try to select a range of species that will ensure year-long flowering to feed wildlife. 

Add clay to improve sandy soils.

Clay modifies the soil structure so that it will hold moisture. You only need to add it once to improve sandy soil.

It’s simple to do but always follow the recommended rates. Clay can be added into new gardens and lawns by digging in to 20cm depth. Sprinkle it onto established lawns and gardens before lightly watering and raking on. Prepare holes for new plants by combining clay into the existing soil. 

Use composted manures at Bay OK recommended rates.

Composted manures provide a slow release of nutrients to your garden, as well as improve soil structure and support soil biology.

Always use manures that have been composted. If you have fresh manure, pop it into your compost bin for 6-8 weeks. The Bay OK recommended rates for composted manures are: 1 kg per m2 for chicken manure; 2 kg per m2 for cow manure; and 2.5 kg per m2 for sheep and horse manure. Apply in spring and early autumn if required.  

Use slow release fertiliser instead of general fertiliser.

Slow release fertilisers release nutrients over time, so they are less likely to leach through the soil profile and end up in our waterways.

If your plants need a feed, look for prill product slow release fertiliser and apply according to the instructions on the packet. Slow release fertiliser can also be incorporated into the soil when planting new plants.  

Garden Guardians of the Bay is supported by the South West Catchments Council, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. It is also part of Royalties for Region’s Healthy Estuaries WA and Revitalising Geographe Waterways programs. These State Government initiatives aim to support the long-term health of our south-west estuaries.