ABC Organic Gardener Magazine Essential Guides Garden to Table

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.

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

in this issue

1 min
organic vs conventional

Non-organic farmers routinely spray carrots with a range of toxic chemicals. Entire fields are sometimes fumigated with products such as 1,3-dichloropropene, 1,3-dichloropropene + chloropicrin, fenamiphos or metam sodium to control soil nematodes. Fungicides such as mancozeb and zineb are used to control leaf blights and pre-emergent herbicides such as pendamethalin are used to control weeds. Some of these chemicals are acutely toxic organophosphates that act as nerve agents and some are highly toxic to fish. Carrots have a tendency to accumulate chemicals in their taproots. Organic farmers control nematodes using techniques such as soil solarisation and green manures. Pyrethrum is sometimes used to control insects, and weeds are controlled using flame weeders and hoes.…

3 min
fragrant freesias

What could herald the start of spring better than a mass of fragrant freesias? One of the easiest cut flowers to grow, the scent of the old-fashioned freesia is one you can almost drink. Freesia flowers are wonderful ‘garden aromatherapy’ for noses jaded by a winter of stuffy, heated houses. But if you want those spring blooms, now is the time to plant them. These small-growing bulbs (actually bulb-like corms) originated in South Africa, where there are more than a dozen species recorded. In Australia we buy either the creamy flowered freesias (Freesia refracta ‘Alba’) or one of several hybrids with larger flowers, double petals and stronger colours such as blue, purple, pink, yellow, red or vivid white. Generally, softer coloured freesias are more likely to be heavily perfumed, however there are…

5 min
finding fungi

“Like all plant-based organisms, there is an associated seasonality and these guys appear when the soil has been warmed by summer and the first rains arrive in autumn.” Before you think of how lovely it would be to prance around in nature, filling a basket with wild mushrooms, pan-frying them in butter and sage over a campfire, allow me to remind you of the dangers of picking wild mushrooms. Some mushrooms are toxic enough to kill a human; some will leave your kidneys so damaged you will need permanent dialysis. So as much as I’m not a fan of rules, I do stick to this one: when foraging for mushrooms, if you’re unsure of the type, even just the slightest bit, do not pick it. There are many workshops on safe mushroom…

2 min
neighbourhood gleaning

Our suburbs are filled with free bounty: with fruit trees and edible weeds growing along streets, hanging over fences and along railway lines. Unfortunately, this culinary abundance is often wasted, when it is there for the foraging if we only had the know-how or took time to ask permission. However, there are some canny parents who are turning this free bounty into a way to make money for their children’s school. Trudy Tandberg is one of the parents involved in running the Jammy Ladies and Chutney Chaps group at Westgarth Primary School in Melbourne. The “Jammies” collect fruit and veg growing wild around the suburb of Westgarth and turn them into jams, marmalades, pickles, cordials and sauces to sell at the annual school fete. The Jammies started off small, but this year…

1 min
wine picks

Altitude plays a big role in shaping wine flavours and characteristics. These two chardonnays (both delicious with the crushed herb chicken) come from vineyards just a few kilometres apart, but one’s close to the sea and one’s up in the hills so the wines are quite different. 2015 Angove Wild Olive Organic Chardonnay. McLaren Vale, South Australia ($20) The Angove wine family is making a big commitment to organics, converting much of its vineyard area and developing a number of organic brands. This is a generous, ripe, nectarine-flavoured chardonnay from Angove’s warm, low-lying vineyards. 2013 Ngeringa Biodynamic Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia ($40) The Klein family of Ngeringa winery at Mount Barker in the cool Adelaide Hills is one of Australia’s leading proponents of biodynamic grape growing. This is a fabulously complex, fragrant, elegant…

4 min
full steam ahead

Autumn can be an uncertain time in the garden with ongoing hot and dry weather in southern states, so it’s important to keep watering, but at the same time be prepared for the potential damage of first frosts. In tropical and subtropical regions, summer rainfall will be coming to an end, heralding the perfect time to prepare the ground for crops such as tomatoes, which are best grown in lower humidity. Countrywide, summer crops are ending, which signals the time to get cool season crops on the go. Let’s get started! tropical Must Do After wet-season leaching, soils and microbes are hungry, so give them a boost with rock minerals, trace elements, compost, aged farm animal manures and worm castings, then lightly fork over. Water soil with diluted molasses and seaweed mix, then…