Author Archive

As easy as 1 2 3

March 22, 2010

This is the simplest way to create a functional, attractive food garden.

If I ever build myself a new garden, this is what I will use, these gorgeous crates from The Little Veggie Patch Co.

Within minutes you can turn an ugly corner into a productive garden. It just takes a few simple steps.

Step 1. Call the wonderful people at The Little Veggie Patch Co. and order your crates. They can deliver to the exact spot.

Step 2. Place an old piece of shade cloth, weed matting or similar on bottom of the crates, the sides are already lined for you.

Step 3. Add two whole bales of straw, add compost or soil, put in your plants, water. DONE!

How easy was that 🙂

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Spring Time

August 30, 2009

It’s that time of year, you start looking at the garden, tidying up and getting your seedlings ready for the season coming.

Yesterday I planted spinach, broccoli seedlings and transplanted some bok choy that had started flowering around Joy’s Peach Tree to attracted good bugs.

Last week I did a quick light mulch of sugar cane, I love standing back after mulching as the garden look tucked in, if you know what I mean.

Today I went for a drive and I wanted to share with you some of the places I visited.

First stop was BAAG, Bulleen Art and Garden, this garden centre always inspires me, they have a huge collection of food plants, wonderful inside and outside products and a great selection of books. They have multible working displays of food gardens, including bush foods and their chook set up is a must see for anyone thinking of keeping chooks or wants ideas to make their chook pens a more interesting place.

I couldn’t help myself, I picked out a punnet of rhubarb, chamomile and a sad and sorry Indian Guava from the specials table.

Next stop was the nursery across the road from BAAG, very conventional and apart from the pretty interior decorating displays I didn’t feel the need to get my purse or my camera out, still it was nice to walk around and they had a coffee stand out the front so I had a latte to warm my hands and get the energy levels up for the next part of my journey for the day.

On to Ceres, my camera didn’t stop clicking. My first encounter of Ceres was back in the early 90’s, my daughter and I helped to plant out trees on the neglected creek bank …… I visited Ceres many time in the 90’s, my little taste of what could be, something I could aspire too, one day when I could get a little place of my own.

My focus today was in looking at the nursery (a must see), checking out the worm farm setup WOW and looking at their chook set up.

Ceres market garden

Ceres market garden

A nursery food garden, note the upturned punnet trays to protect plants.

A nursery food garden, note the upturned punnet trays to protect plants.

worm farm bath tubs off in the distance

worm farm bath tubs off in the distance

Bath Worm Farms, all draining into a bath for storage.

Bath Worm Farms, all draining into a bath for storage.

all baths are plumbed to a main pipe that drains into a bath for storage

all baths are plumbed to a main pipe that drains into a bath for storage

I love this archway, concrete reinforcement mesh bent onto star pickets.

I love this archway, concrete reinforcement mesh bent onto star pickets.

and here is a few photo’s of the chooks at Ceres.

chooks at Ceres

chooks at Ceres

Auto watering system for the chooks

Auto watering system for the chooks

From Ceres I went hunting for some gluten free food, so I headed to Fitzroy, on the way I spotted a garden on a nature strip, did a U turn and found a perfect example of community and food production …….. LOVED IT!

A great use of a nature strip

A great use of a nature strip

every street needs one

every street needs one

An Oasis on a street corner

An Oasis on a street corner

To all those who say "I would love to grow food but my soils no good" ...... no more excuses, there is no difference between the closest nature strip to the camera and the food garden, except love and attention, oh and a bit of mulch and compost!

To all those who say "I would love to grow food but my soils no good" ...... no more excuses, there is no difference between the closest nature strip to the camera and the food garden, except love and attention, oh and a bit of mulch and compost!

Please take the time to visit Cultivating Community and start a community garden in your street …… I spoke with Pete and we have decided to turn our nature strip into a community help your self food garden, stay turned for updates.

Enjoy the abundance without the work.

April 1, 2009

Had to share this article with you from The New York Times.

A Locally Grown Diet With Fuss but No Muss

Eating locally raised food is a growing trend. But who has time to get to the farmer’s market, let alone plant a garden?

That is where Trevor Paque comes in. For a fee, Mr. Paque, who lives in San Francisco, will build an organic garden in your backyard, weed it weekly and even harvest the bounty, gently placing a box of vegetables on the back porch when he leaves.

Read the rest of the story here.

Would you like enjoy the abundance without the work?

We are only to glad to help …….. have a look at our previous post and let us know how we can help you have a yummy garden.


Our Garden in March 2009

March 9, 2009

When I go back through old photos of our place I am always amazed at what we have achieved in such a short time.

I also feel reassured that we could reproduce a functional garden anywhere and in a much shorter time frame.

Just remind us (and you) of where we started.

March 2007

March 2007

March 2009

March 2009

hidden behind the fence

hidden behind the fence

The Good Bug Garden 2009

The Good Bug Garden 2009

March 2007 there was no food, herbs in our front garden, in fact there was no life, even the ants had vacated.

What can you find in our garden now?

This isn’t a complete list but it is the best I can do on a Monday afternoon when I should be studying 🙂

As of March 2009 we  have;

Fruit Trees/Vines 26

A Tangelo Tree

A Drawf Peach

A Tahitian Lime

An Australian Lemon

Eureka Lemon

Kaffi Lime

2 Mandarin trees

A lemonade tree

2 standard Peach Trees

A Nectarine Tree

An Apricot Tree

A plum tree

A Tree Tomoto

A White Sapote

A Pineapple Guava

A Avacado – Hass

A Avocado – Bacon

A Navel orange

A Blood Orange

A Valentino orange

A red Passionfruit

A Banana Passionfriut

Goji Berries

Boysonberries

Grape

Pomegranate

Veggies/Annuals 23 this season

Zuccini, a number of varities

Okra

Pumpkin, a number of varities

Vlita (Leafy Amaranth )

Silverbeat

Beetroot

Carrots

Corn

Sunflowers

Onions

Garlic

Lettuce

Rocket

Eggplant

Rainbow Chard

Warrigal Greens (Native Spinach)

Taro

Rhubarb

Beans – too many types to mention.

Chickpeas

Potatoes

Hops – two types

Tomatoes

Herbs and others 20+

Chives – Onion and Garlic

Oregano

Sage

Basil

Thyme

Parsley – Italian and triple

Celeric

Mint – many different types

Chamomile

Rosemary

Feverfew

Scented  germanium

Corn Flower

Comfrey

Brahmi

Dill

Fennel

Self Heal

Tansey

Lucerne

Livestock

4 High Line Brown Hens

2 Indian Runner Ducks

millions of composting worms


Duck Update

March 9, 2009

It has been a very busy year and I haven’t the time to do a word blog but we would love to share some photos our newest arrivals to our urban farms.

Our newest arrivals

Day old babies

Day old babies

Saving Water

Saving Water

Nona's bath

Nona's bath

Two momth old indian runner ducks

Two month old indian runner ducks

Volunteering at our Urbanfarm

January 4, 2009

Are you interested in volunteering at our Urban Farm?

We invite people genuinely interested in learning about sustainable living and organic farming through the Wwoof program or HelpX

If you would like to apply please use the contact details via these programs.

Please provide us with,

  • you full name,
  • why you want to visit at our home,
  • your hobbies/special interests,
  • when and how long you would like to stay,
  • previous experience,
  • your contact details,
  • your program ID number,

Please remember to put volunteer in the subject heading so your email does not end up in spam.

We will let you know via email or phone if we have a vacancy.

Wwoofa Work is 6 hour each day.

If you are visiting for a week, please plan to have two days off at the end of your stay.

Type of work can include,

  • gardening
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • cleaning/feeding pets
  • home-repairs
  • volunteering at schools and community gardens

Joining in with all household and outside chores is expected.

We have a variety of different animals. We practice natural animal training, management and diet methods.

Finding Us

We are ½ an hour by car from the Melbourne CBD.

Tram from the city will take about 45 minutes, with a five minute walk from the tram stop to our home.

Accommodation

A double futon in our spare room. We provide all bedding and meals.

IMPORTANT PLEASE READ

  • We can not accept Working Visa.. We are not in the right postcode area of Australia.
  • No smoking on our property or within view of our child.
  • No perfumes, sprays, chemical based products, we consider them dangerous to the environment and our health, we do not want them used or disposed of in our. Natural personal products only I.E. Biodegradable shampoo, soaps etc ..
  • We eat meat, are gluten free and we are on an limited income, we can not cater for special diets or fussy eaters.
  • You MUST have a sun hat, clothing and outdoor footwear suitable for dirty outside work.
  • We only accept visitors with Photo ID and with active membership to Wwoof or HelpX.
  • All visitors will need a police check from their country of origin. Australian visitors have an option of obtaining A Working with Children check, which is available for free for volunteers from Australia.

Tessa and Justin Wwoofing adventure

January 1, 2009

Hello everyone! We would like to tell you a little bit about our adventures while staying at Pete and Deb’s.  First off our names are Justin and Tessa and we are a Canadian couple here in Australia to experience and learn about Australian daily life.

Tessa and Justin Christmas Eve

Tessa and Justin Christmas Eve

We found Pete and Deb’s description in the wwoof book very unique in the sence that it is a residential property transformed into an organic farm.  We arrived here on December 20th with the intention of only staying a week but we were having so much fun we decided to stay for another week.

Pete providing the entertainment

Pete providing the entertainment

It was a busy time with preparing for Christmas and the New Year.  Christmas prep included a backyard makeover, to setting up a huge tent in the driveway,  to the crazyness of midnight shopping.  What we learned most during our stay at Pete and Debs was how much fun it can be to have a front yard transformed into an organic haven.

Chook House

Chook House

It is very easy to maintain and you produce very little rubbish because virtually everything can be reused or composted in some way.  One big project included setting up an old steal frame carport by the kitchen window to grow grapes up and help shade the house.

Justin cutting pieces for shade frame

Justin cutting pieces for shade frame

Tessa putting up the shade frame

Tessa putting up the shade frame

We also had lots of fun looking after Sophia and her friends that came around.   Justin really enjoyed learning how to home brew beer with Pete

Justin making beer

Justin making beer

Tessa making pumkin pie

Tessa making pumkin pie

and Tessa enjoyed doing lots of baking and cooking with Deb.  We will always remember out stay at Deb and Pete’s it was a great 2 weeks.  Thank you Deb and Pete for your awesome hospitality and friendly family environment you provided us with.

Deb and Pete Christmas Day

Deb and Pete Christmas Day

Oh yeah! When we get home we are definitly building a chook coop to provide ourselves with our own eggs as well as setting up a home brew system. Thanks again!!

Justin and Tessa

Late December 2008

December 30, 2008

Too tired to type …… we have been lucky enough to have a number of wwoofas over the last month. Lots of work done, so I thought it was a good time for show and tell, well the telling past might need to wait to the next post, when I have the energy to put thought to keyboard. I have some interesting garden makeover photos to post,  so check back soon.

our garden coming to life

our garden coming to life

a happy wormwood plant for the chicken to help themselves too.

a happy wormwood plant for the chicken to help themselves too.

South Side Makeover Step 2

South Side Makeover Step 2

sunsetting in our garden

sunsetting in our garden

Maya, the urban farm cat.

Maya, the urban farm cat.

Lasagne Gardening

December 8, 2008

I avoid digging at all cost.

Takes too much energy and time, not to mention it breaks up healthy soil, exposing the animal and plant life, upsetting the delicate balance.

I have found the easiest way to garden using the lasagne method.

You can use anything that has once lived, straw, manure, cardboard, paper, lawn clippings, chip bark, even clothes made of natural fibres, autumn leaves, fresh garden prunings.

If you are building a garden on top of invasive grass then you will need to create a deep mulch layer and I would be suggesting also using clothes, cardboard or thick paper.

Here is lasagne gardening in action:

This is the creation of our very first garden bed.

We started by thickly mulching the whole yard with chip bark.

Then we edged the area with logs we found on the side of the road.

Step 1

Step 1

Next we put a layer of cardboard, then horse manure, then more cardboard.

our-1st-nodig3

On top of this we put straw, more manure, another layer of cardboard, then finished it off with some old carpet.

completednodig

Oh, and we put a handful of composting worms in to help along the process. A few months later in early spring the first plants went in . For each seedling I dug down through the layers until I reach the original soil. We backfilled with compost and good quality soil. We had a wonderful crop of zuccini and herbs throughout spring and summer.

the-nodig-spring

Ladybug Ladybug

December 3, 2008

Every urban farmer needs good bugs and Labybugs are some of the best bugs to have around.

When we moved into our home there were no bugs – nothing, not even an ant. One of the first things I did was order packets of Good Bug Mix from Green Harvest in Queensland.

The Good Bug Mix contains a wonderful selection of seeds, all of which are plants that encourage good bugs to come and get rid of the bad bugs.

When we planned the layout of our garden we decided to set the second hand picket fence (thank you Trading Post) back from the foot path. I like to create as many rooms as possible in a garden. By setting the fence back we created an east facing garden bed, a climbing frame and an west facing garden bed – so one space became three.

The area set back from the front foot path was allocated as the good bug garden – for a few reasons, firstly it was right next to the pathway and dogs, so I needed non ediable plants to form a barrier.  Secondly, I like the idea of having a good bug garden in clear view (and reach) of the neighbours as I was hoping to use it to educate then in th importance of attracting good bugs to their gardens but also hope that some would help themselves to seeds – or at least I could easily give seeds away to passer bys.

One of our little friends

One of our little friends

A few pictures of our good bugs!

)

busy bugs 🙂

getting the bad guys!

getting the bad guys!

the good bug garden late winter

the good bug garden late winter