November 3 - 9, 2013: Issue 135

 Late Spring Chores for your Garden – and Building Your Own Backyard Cricket Pitch

Now is the time to turn to other late Spring garden tasks and with a big variety of Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 specials currently running you will be inspired to feed your plants, put in some tomato seedlings for growing your own garden's veggies or beans, beetroot and cucumbers to harvest in January for the best home grown salads ever. Or create a cricket pitch for all the long cool dusks and BBQ’s of backyard cricket comps! See the JBH DIY Page on Lawn Care HERE

Spring is also the best time to conduct a soil test to find out if your soil needs any amendments. You can apply lime to acidic soil (pH below 6) anytime during the growing season, as long as grass isn’t wilted or covered with frost. Early spring can be a great time to apply lime if you’ll be planting new grass that year.

Don’t apply lime within 3 weeks of fertilizing, as the ingredients can react and become less effective. Follow the recommendations of your soil test kit and your purchased amendments for proper dosage. Always stick to the directions on packaging for all garden fertilizers and ensure you wear garden gloves when handling.

A few other tips for feeing your plants and vegetable beds:

Coffee grounds are great for boosting acid loving vegetables such as tomatoes. Simply soak 2-3cups of coffee grounds in five litres of water for 2-3 days and then saturate the soil around your plants. Egg shells when rinsed and ground also make a great fertiliser and will boost the calcium content of your soil alike lime. 

Finally, most keen gardeners will advise you never spray anything on your plants during the hottest part of the day. Even water left on leaves can burn your plants on a hot, bright afternoon. Water and treat your plants either in the evening, or better yet, in the early morning.

How to Construct Your own Backyard Cricket Pitch

Choose the area your pitch will be in. It must be capable of being rolled almost rock-hard and still let grass grow. If you don’t have 66 feet (20 metres) allocated to standard pitches simply adjust to 33 feet for a half sized pitch (10 metres). It will be the sportsmanship and fun you’ll remember.

Sow the grass seed into any patches in your proposed pitch area for this year’s Backyard Tests series. Ask the friendly staff at Johnson Brothers at either Mona Vale or Avalon for the best seed to use for your lawn.

Water and roll with a light roller for next month or so. Most Cricket Pitch advisers will tell you to progress to a heavy roller in late November to create the compactness you need for a pitch. If you don’t have one of these handy, and not many of us do, you can still pick up old fashioned lawn rollers on places like ebay for as little as $25.00. Use a garden fork to aerate the wicket but just small holes – you don’t want to create divots the ball may bounce off but you do want a strip of lawn that will last more then one match. Increase rolling and watering as summer approaches, condensing the soil and encouraging grass growth. Later, when the grass is cut close, the wicket will need a good root system to keep it intact for the length of the game. Even so, cracks will appear about four days into a five-day test (international) because the wickets are not be watered once the game begins.

Cover the wicket, also known as the pitch, about two weeks before any scheduled match. Uncover it only to roll and water daily. Batsmen need the surface to be as flat as possible, to keep the bounce even and predictable.

Mow the grass, shaving it as close to the ground as possible, on the morning of the match. A well-grassed pitch may be moist; this will help a bowler move the ball sideways off the pitch. Early in a game, when the ball is hard and shiny and the wicket full of movement, batsmen are very vulnerable. 

Complete preparations by marking out the wicket with white lines. Two bowling creases are 8 feet, 8 inches wide, with a mark for the middle stump in the center of both. The batting, or "popping" creases are four feet inside the bowling creases and mark the batsman's safe ground.

Did you know that early cricket was at some time or another described as "a club striking a ball (like) the ancient games of club-ball, stool-ball, trap-ball, stob-ball". Cricket can definitely be traced back to Tudor times in early 16th-century England. Written evidence exists of a game known as creag being played by Prince Edward, the son of Edward I (Longshanks), at Newenden, Kent in 1301 and there has been speculation, but no evidence, that this was a form of cricket.


Parts of ‘Make your own Cricket Pitch extract from By Geoffrey Darling, eHow Contributor . Read more:

Top cricket Pitches:

Great ‘What to Plant Now’ website:

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