ZINIO logo
ABC Organic Gardener Magazine Essential Guides

ABC Organic Gardener Magazine Essential Guides Organic Gardener Essential Guide 13

ABC ORGANIC GARDENER ESSENTIAL GUIDES: The popular Essential Guide series, brings together some of Australia’s best gardening writers in a series of guides. The guides are a comprehensive, must-have for every organic gardener. The 124-page, book-quality magazines will serve as a reference for years to come.

Read More
Nextmedia Pty Ltd
Back issues only
$8.24(Incl. tax)

in this issue

1 min
rules and regulations

THE MAIN THINGS THAT YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL WILL NEED TO APPROVE IF YOU’RE CONSIDERING A ROOFTOP GARDEN ARE: A ROOF LOADING REPORT – this must be supplied by an approved engineer, based on your rooftop. GARDEN DESIGN – to ensure you don’t build anything too heavy for the roof. This includes big garden beds that could potentially hold a lot of water, and therefore extra weight. WATERPROOFING PLAN – rooftop gardens mean big beds of wet soil, which can and will leak out onto the roof in times of heavy rain. DRAINAGE – where will all this water go? Make sure you’ve sorted out adequate drainage from your garden beds for possible 100-year storm surges, and that your design doesn’t block any previous drainage paths. Geotextile linings in garden beds ensure that water can…

2 min
laws of attraction

We can never impress enough how integral beneficial insects are to an organic garden. In a wild environment, predators and pests generally live in balance, and as long as the balance is maintained, not too much damage is done. This is what we try to replicate in our gardens by providing diverse foliage, places for birds to nest and water and food sources. Predators, parasites and pollinators Insects that benefit the garden generally fall into three categories: predators, parasites and pollinators. Some, such as the green lacewing, fall into more than one category (see right). It is important that you can recognise pests and predators so that, for example, if you decide to spray your aphids (organically), you are not also inadvertently killing ladybird or lacewing larvae that are feeding on them. Typical…

1 min
grow or no?

Before you start digging outside your property, you should take care of three important pieces of business: 1. Check with your local council regarding the regulation on whether and what you can plant and if you need a permit. 2. Contact Dial Before You Dig (1100.com.au) to check locations of underground services as it could be dangerous and/or expensive to damage these. 3. Check for soil contamination – The main issue being heavy metals, this is often quoted by councils as a reason not to use this land for growing food. However, when I tested my garden and the nature strip garden, I found the soil in the latter to be cleaner than other parts of my garden in which I had been growing for years! For more see ‘What lies beneath’, page…

1 min
green lacewing

These wonderful insects are both predator and pollinator. The adult is about 2cm long with four delicate wings. They feed on pollen and nectar, and lay their eggs on slender silken stalks on leaves and small branches. Four days later the larvae hatch out. These ferocious little beasts grow to only 1cm long just before they pupate, but have large-toothed, forward-protruding jaws for catching prey, and spikes on their backs on which they impale dead prey and other bits of rubbish. This acts as camouflage so that they resemble tiny, walking rubbish piles. The lacewing life cycle is only about 50 days. The eggs hatch after four days, the larvae go through thee moults over 12 days before pupating, which lasts about nine days. Once the adults appear, they live for only…

1 min
bins and vermin

Compost bins typically have no bottom, which means that rats and mice can easily tunnel underneath to get access to food scraps. Don’t add bread, rice, meat scraps or scrape plates into the compost – these are powerfully attractive to vermin. To further deter them, dig a 10cm depression into the soil to match the size and shape of the base of the bin. Line this depression with fine mesh wire, small enough to stop a mouse from squeezing through. Place the bin on top of the wire and mound the excess soil around the sides. Waste in a compost bin often needs to be left to mature for anywhere between 3–6 months in order to break down completely, so consider investing in multiple bins. Once the first is full, leave…

1 min
potting mix essentials

PENNY WOODWARD EXPLAINS THE FOUR MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTERISTICS OF POTTING MIXES. 1. POROSITY: So that water will flow through easily, but not too easily. Some water needs to be held in the mix. Many non-organic mixes contain water-storage crystals made from polyacrylamides (a chemical). I will never use these mixes, and they seem pretty pointless when coir (coconut fibre) is a really good, sustainable substitute. 2. FERTILITY: There needs to be the right mix of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, as well as calcium, magnesium, sulphur and trace elements. 3. pH: Most potting mixes are slightly acidic, with a pH between 5.9 and 6.5. 4. BIOLOGY: A good level of microbial activity and an absence of pathogens.…