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Usefull Websites

Seed Companies

  • Royston-Petrie Seeds P.O. Box 1152 Ph: (61) 2 6372 7800
  • Cornucopia Seed Cornucopia Seeds and Plants Ph (03) 5457 1230
  • Select Organic M.S 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 Organic Seeds
  • GreenHarvest 52 Crystal Waters, M.S. 16, MALENY 4552 Ph: (07) 5494 4676
  • Greenpatch PO Box 1285, TAREE, NSW 2430 (02) 6551 4240
  • The Italian Gardener Allsun Farm, PO Box 8050, Gundaroo, New South Wales, 2620 (02) 6236 8173 Italian vegetable seeds
  • Kings Seeds PO Box 2785, Bundaberg, QLD 4670, Australia Tel: 07 4159 4882
  • Phoenix Seeds PO Box 207 , Snug, TAS, Australia 03) 6267 9663 Only postal Very unusual seeds
  • Diggers Fantastic company become a member and help them in their work, they have two sites, St Erith (nr Daylesford) and Heronswood (Mornington Peninsula) and when you become a member you get sent out a free magazine / newsletter
  • Eden Seed M.S. 905, Lower Beechmont 4211 (07) 5533 1107 Lots of information botanical and taste
  • The Lost Seed The Lost Seed PO Box 321 SHEFFIELD TAS 7306 ph: 03 6491 1000 Has a selection of very rare vegetables, and a great free download of sow what when chart

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Esther Dean

Esther tells the story of the transformation of her backyard garden.
'You couldn't dig the ground - it was just clay. I suggested to Tom that we make a concrete edge and build a garden above the ground. On the first garden it was only lucerne hay and then compost. Then, after building a frame, I put a layer of paper, about 1/4 inch thick; on top of the paper, padded lucerne hay as it came from the bale and then on top of the lucerne hay a little fertiliser. That was chicken manure. On top of that, about 8 inches of loose straw, a little fertiliser again and on top of that about 4 inches of compost. I planted the seeds and it was just like something magic. The zucchini just grew and grew and the beans just grew - it was incredible what happened.'

The devil is in the detail-No Dig Beds

No Dig Beds
In the front of my garden and in the back I have improved the soil and created raised beds using the No Dig Method developed by Esther Dean in the 1970's in Sydney.

It's fairly easy to build a No-Dig bed and try to use materials already in your garden.
I am fortunate enough to have a beautiful Liquid Amber in my back garden , a large deciduous tree that produces a mountain of leaves every autumn. So the bulk of the organic matter comes from the tree.
It is important when building a No-Dig Bed to try and use a variety of materials, this makes for better soil.

This garden bed was built using eco timber a pine not treated with arsenic, but a non-poisonous treatment. Some of my garden beds are made using treated pine, but because I have a very healthy soil and lots of bio-active compost full of fungi and microbes and am aware that they will 'lock' up the heavy metals in the soil and make them unavailable to plants and therefore me.
As you can see in the garden bed, it is full of straight kitchen scraps grass and other organic material.

I then top with a layer of composted mixed manure from Mr Poo, then straw that has been shredded by my 'gals' in the chook house and added with extra nutrients.

How to build a No-Dig Bed

Step 1
Mark out the area and edge it with bricks or any material that will contain the soil when it is built. Four square metres is a good size to start, but this can be expanded later.

Step 2
Cover the entire area with wads of newspaper a good 'herald sun' thick to smother any weeds. Overlap the pages so there are no gaps for weeds to grow through, and avoid using as much coloured print as possible. Water the area newspaper well so that it starts breaking down immediately. I find cardboard is a good barrier too. DO NOT do this on a windy day or you will be driven mad with the blowing paper.

Step 3
Cover the area with high carbon organic matter, which will break down easily. This could be by pea-straw or crop-straw like rye or canola, grass, leaves whatever is cheap and available. Crop-straw is usually less expensive than lucerne or pea-straw, but is lower in nitrogen. Water the matter lightly.

Step 4
Next apply a layer of organic fertiliser. Chicken manure is excellent because it has high amounts of nitrogen, which helps the breakdown high carbon materials, but any farm manure will perform the function.

Step 5
Add a 20-centimetre layer of high carbon material.

Step 6
Add another layer of manure and again water lightly. Of course you can create as many layers as you like.

Step 7
Finally, you will need some good compost to plant the seeds and seedlings into. If there is enough available, the whole surface area of the garden could be covered with compost to about 10 cm. Alternatively pockets of compost can be created for planting so that it can support a new plant while the new garden is breaking down.

The same has been done out the front, but in a more free form way.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Long time no see, too busy in other peoples gardens

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she remarked that she was getting 'bothered' that I hadn't written anything in my blog for a while so it has been a while, I have been REALLY busy.
What have I been up to since I renovated the chook house?
1. Project Worker for Green It Grow it at Cloverdale Community Centre-check them out on Facebook`this invovled teaching edible gardening at TWO neighbourhood houses
2. Doing my Mast of Urban Horticulture, phew, FULL TIME
3. Being Chair of Geelong Organic Gardeners
4. Being President ofGeelong West Community Gardn
5. Talking to Workskil about my new and exciting project
so excuse me I haven't had time to write in the blog

But since I took leave of abscence from my Masters resigned the two gardening orgs, I not only now have time to write in my Blog, but I have been working in MY garden, yip yipee.