Category: gardening

Soooooo, what should I be planting in Summer?

I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a quick story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week I shared about the trend of “The Organic Home Garden” You read about that here.

Q:What are some great summer veggies?

For the beginner gardener spring is the perfect time to start experimenting. It is the season of abundance.

Easy summer veggies include

  • Lettuce of all kinds
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Corn
  • All kinds of your favourite herbs
  • Pumpkin if you have the space
  • Spinach
  • Zucchini
  • Silver beet

All these plants are great for beginners. You start to sow your summer vegetables in spring after the last frost.

 

Soooooo, what should I be planting in Winter??

I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a quick story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week we sowed seeds for the Summer garden.. You read about that here. Today it’s time to plant some seeds for the Winter garden.! 

Q:What are some great Winter veggies?

For the beginner gardener, winter can be a daunting season, but it is actually a really easy season to grow food. You don’t have the issue of hot and dry days, where the sun is roasting your pumpkins. You also do not need to worry about watering as much as there is no heat to cause major evaporation. I love winter!

Easy winter veggies include:

  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Peas
  • Cabbage
  • Radish
  • Beetroot

All these plants are great for beginners and you can start sowing seeds in January/February. That way you will get a head start and have food all winter.

My top tips for a healthy and happy veggie patch.

 vegepatch
I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a short story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week I shared about the benefits gardening has on the mind, body and soul. You can read about that here. Today I am giving you a couple more handy hints and tips on how to get a healthy start in your veggie patch.
 

Q: What are some tips you can give us to build a healthy veggie patch?

A: There are many things to consider and location and position is a topic we covered a few weeks ago. Here are 6 more tips to get you off to a good start:

  1. Always plan ahead.

    Your summer garden is planned in winter. Seeds can be sown in the green house from August. This gives you a nice head start. Your winter garden is planned in summer. Seeds for the Winter garden are sown in February

  2. Use Heirloom seeds and seedlings where possible.

    These seeds can be saved, are not sprayed with pesticides and are not hybridised. Heirloom seeds are true to type, which means, when sown again, you get exactly what you got the season before.

  3. Use only organic fertilizers for your garden.

    They are available online or in your hardware store. Healthy soil teems with organisms needed to metabolise the minerals your plants need to grow healthy and strong. Synthetic fertilisers kill these organisms. Nothing grows well in dead soil. You can also make worm juice onsite, if you have a worm farm. Worm juice is not a fertiliser but a tonic full of healthy bacteria needed for your soil. I liken it to a probiotic. Seaweed emulsion is a mineral supplement helpful in growing strong and healthy plants.

  4. Don’t use pesticides.

    Healthy soil creates healthy plants. Healthy plants are resistant to pests.

  5. ALWAYS mulch, mulch, mulch!

    It protects your soil, protects those organisms needed to grow your healthy plants and the mulch also nourishes your soil with the nutrients it needs as the mulch breaks down.

  6. Use drip irrigation on a timer.

    It allows you to take a holiday, which we all need to do from time to time 🙂

Only plant food you are going to eat and share surplus with your neighbours.

The many benefits of the art of gardening

I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a short story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week I shared about the importance of location and position. You can read about that here. Today I talk about the many benefits gardening has on the mind, body and soul.

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Q:What are the key benefits of an edible garden?

 

Other than the obvious,  being fresh food at your fingertips at low cost, I really believe a garden can be healing on a mind, body and soul level.

It brings such rest in your life because you connect to creation.

We live in a fast paced world where most of us experience a fair amount of stress. This is quite damaging for your body and your mind, when the stress is long term.

For me, my garden gave me quietness in my mind and rest from my busy schedule. I was able to relax and observe patterns in nature. Everything in life and nature consists out of patterns that one cannot always control, they simply happen. My garden invited me to become one with those patterns, work with them and let them do what they were supposed to do.

Seasons

You have the seasons, which taught me that tomatoes don’t grow all year round. That is because we are not supposed to eat tomatoes all year round in our climate. Our bodies are designed to eat for the seasons.

Moon cycle

Then there is the cycle of the moon. Just as the moon influences the rise and fall of the tides, so it is that plants with a high water content are also influenced by the moon phases. Some plants grow stronger roots when planted in a particular phase of the moon.

Plant cycle

Then there is the plant cycle itself. It all starts with a seed that sprouts at the right time, it grows into a stem, then leaves, flowers, fruit and back to the beginning of the seed again.

A garden cannot be rushed, which is what makes it such a beautiful experience. You are never really in control even though you think you might be.

A garden also builds community. I know my neighbours. In fact, I almost know my entire street. My garden is a talking point. And as I am often out the front picking herbs and fruit I get to greet everyone that walks by. My neighbours are very lucky, because any surplus is always shared.

Earth care, people care and fair share are the ethics of permaculture (the art of organic gardening), I try to live by as it spreads some love into this sometimes cold and wretched world.

So, you want an edible garden? Let’s find out how to get started.

I was recently interviewed about my edible garden. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a quick story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101. Last week I shared about the trend of “The Organic Home Garden” You read about that here.

Q:What do you need to consider when building your edible garden?

A: Simply put, position and location are key. Let’s break that down into 4 important areas:

 

  • In permaculture we work in zones, with zone 1 being closest to the kitchen. We often refer to that as the kitchen garden. It is the area you most frequently visit. You use your herbs and veggies daily, so I advise to keep them close to the kitchen.
  • Of course a sunny location is important for your plants to grow and thrive. Especially fruiting plants need at least 4-6 hours of sun to give you a decent harvest. When your plant requires full sun as per the instruction on the ticket, be aware that this is referring to the European sun. In Australia our sun is fierce and 4-6 hours is sufficient. If your garden does get full sun daily in summer, it might be a good idea to provide your patch with some shade. The rate of photosynthesis levels off at around 36 degrees celcius.
  • A wind protected area is equally important for the protection of your plants. I have seen plants ripped out of my garden during a common summer storm. It is devastating after all the work you have put in to see your silverbeet scattered across your yard.
  • Is there a water source nearby? Don’t forget to make sure you are able to bring the water to your patch. Best way is to make use of drip irrigation with a timer. You can go away for a holiday knowing your plants are taken care of.

Now go out and get your hands dirty and enjoy the fruit of your labour!

 

The trend of the “Organic Home Garden”.

There is a rise in the trend of “The Organic Home Garden” and what a wonderful trend this is! Why is this becoming so popular, though? This is one of the questions I was asked recently for a popular home blog. As parts of the interview were edited to fit it into a quick story, I have decided to publish the whole interview on my blog. Over the next view weeks I will take you through a quick gardening 101.

Q: Why is edible gardening becoming so popular?

A: There is a movement on the rise of a generation of people who believe in organic living and health & wellness. With the internet and social media it is so easy to share information with each other and help each other getting well.

We haven’t done the planet a favour over the decades and we know it. We are all getting sicker and this generation is the first where parents might outlive their children! I am sure you have heard that said before.

We need a more sustainable way of living, as we are realising that our health is our responsibility and not that of the government, food manufacturers or food marketers
We all know that the way of modern agriculture has brought us, together with some solutions, also many problems.

CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), GMO corn, soy, cotton, imported contaminated fruits from countries using pesticides banned in Australia or worse still using human poop as a fertiliser, nutritionally depleted fruits and vegetables due to mineral depleted soils, caused by synthetically manufactured chemicals, cancerous pesticides and fertilisers just to name a few. It is not sustainable to continue to live like this and expect us to thrive. It is important to work with nature rather than trying to artificially control it. I think there needs to be more balance. This is why we start to see a shift as people are starting to realise that organic farming is a better way of farming for our health and the health of this planet.

If all of us had a small edible garden it would really help to take some pressure of this agricultural monster.
Growing your own food brings such an awareness of life and creation as it really connects you to nature, yourself and each other. You can change the world one garden at the time.






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Produce No Waste

waste

By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.

I love the principle of “produce no waste” simply because it sets a challenge, but also because in a permaculture setting it is a classic example of closing a loop. Instead of stealing resources from another ecosystem and depleting that system you use everything you have on site to its fullest capacity.

From food crop, to kitchen scraps, into the compost bin, then back out into the garden as compost to feed your crops.

Another way of reusing kitchen scraps is feeding it to the chickens, who produce poop, which can be made into a compost tea to go onto the garden beds.

Do you compost or have a worm farm? In what ways can you be more mindful of your waste?

Apply Self Regulation & Accept Feedback

earth

Apply self regulation & accept feedback: We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well.

A self regulating system has the ability to look after itself and is the ideal in permaculture design. This design is seen in forest gardens, in which work is minimised by planting ground covers to reduce weeds, nitrogen fixers to replace fertilisers and perennial and self-seeding plants to reduce annual plantings.

Planting and designing your garden in this manner mimics nature. You are creating an eco-system in your own back yard. When you work WITH nature and not AGAINST it, all of a sudden gardening becomes so much easier and instead of seeing problems, you start seeing healthy, natural solutions.

I have applied this principle in my garden underneath my apple trees. I have planted several herbacaous ground covers to minize weeds from popping up. I have also planted Nasturtiums to keep the moisture in the soil and the weeds out. They also function as a pest deterrent. They happen to be a great companion plant for apple trees. And they are delicious in a salad!

What can you plant in your garden that has more than 1 function?