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.

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in this issue

2 min
ed’s letter

With city populations booming across Australia and our patches of green space ever decreasing, there has never been a better time than right now to explore urban farming – growing food in whatever space you have available, be it a backyard, nature strip, rooftop, courtyard, balcony or up a wall. While for many the word ‘farming’ conjures up images of large-scale agriculture, it needn’t – you can farm (plant, nurture and harvest) your own food with a little bit of know-how. And that’s where the 13th Organic Gardener Essential Guide: Urban Farming comes in! It is brimming with hands-on information to get you growing your own food, sans chemicals, for maximum taste and nutrition, with the added benefit of being best practice for the planet. Broken into three easy-to-follow parts, it…

2 min

Penny Woodward Penny is a dedicated and committed organic gardener who lives near the coast in Victoria. With a degree in botany and zoology, her passionate commitment to the environment in all its forms has led to a lifetime of writing about and photographing organic gardens. She is horticultural editor for Organic Gardener magazine, most of the Essential Guides as well as the Organic Gardener diary and calendar. She also regularly contributes articles and photographs to these publications as well as the Organic Gardener website and has her own websites and Karen Sutherland Born in country Victoria to a family of farmers and gardeners, Karen Sutherland has a lifetime of experience in horticulture, with the last eight years focusing on edible and useful plants, with a special bent on bush foods…

3 min
urban farming

We’re in the middle of an extraordinarily beneficial and irreversible revolution, probably the most peaceful, life-changing movement in the history of the human race… and it’s worldwide. Everywhere, more and more people are not only starting to grow their own food, but doing so organically, without using toxic sprays or life-disrupting chemical fertilisers. The immediate rewards go to children, the most important people on earth, but as this movement spreads, it could be a significant counter to climate change and help ensure the survival of life on earth. In many ways this increasing demand for organic produce is a rebellion against the deteriorating qualities of the processed, chemical-treated and unlabelled, genetically modified food for sale. There is also the powerful human instinct for survival as people everywhere begin to sense a bleak future…

1 min
design principles

PERMACULTURE PRINCIPLES ARE DRAWN FROM A RANGE OF DISCIPLINES SUCH AS ECOLOGY, ENERGY CONSERVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, AND CAN BE ADAPTED TO DIFFERING CLIMATIC AND CULTURAL CONDITIONS. BELOW ARE THE MAIN PRINCIPLES SET OUT IN THE BOOK INTRODUCTION TO PERMACULTURE BY BILL MOLLISON. 1 Relative location: every element (such as house, pond, chook shed) is placed in relationship to another so that they assist each other. 2 Each element performs many functions. For example, a windbreak may be designed and located to also provide privacy, animal forage, wildlife habitat and more. 3 Each important function is supported by many elements (such as water harvesting with water tanks, dams and/ or ponds). 4 Efficient energy planning for house and settlement (use of zones and sectors). 5 Emphasis on the use of biological resources over fossil fuel…

2 min
urban abundance

Creating a garden that delights your soul, satisfies your taste buds, nourishes your health and helps to heal the earth might seem like an unobtainable paradise, but it’s entirely possible with some clever permaculture design work. When I moved to the country and bought a bit more than half a hectare (1.5 acres), I thought it would take most of that space to be self-sufficient in food. I soon realised that much less land – the equivalent of a typical suburban block – is more than adequate, provided you maximise your space and use permaculture ideas so you get many functions out of each element. Firstly, follow the permaculture ‘zone principles’ to save yourself time and energy in the garden. Using zones basically means locating those things you use most frequently, closest…

6 min
prepare, plant, produce

Idon’t know about you, but each time the weather cools in autumn, or when it begins to warm in spring its like welcoming a new year to me. Everything wants to grow and the soil is warm and primed for planting. These are also good times to sort out your garden and get some of those bigger jobs done that will set you in good stead for the future. So let’s get stuck into it… Starting out If you’re a first-time grower, keep in mind that vegies need plenty of sunshine, at least six hours a day, so seek out a sunny spot that’s close to the kitchen. Good drainage is important too, so avoid boggy areas. Mounding your soil or building raised beds are good ways to improve your drainage. You can…