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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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spring is in the air the back garden is starting to get planted

 Starting the vegetable garden out the back has been a long time coming, but I guess that is what winter is for. The beds are prepared, well most of them, so time to start planting. On the left are some cherry tomatoes, its still a bit early so I have given them a bit of protection with half milk bottle containers. The other half will be turned into plant labels. Tomorrow I start on the compoist bins. I will be building a new zealand box from scrap timber and some bought timber. It will be a four bin configuration, trying to explain it is too hard, so I will just show you the pictures when it is done. Looks like rain too now.
The potatoes in this bed just appeared, I might of chucked some old ones in from the cupboard that were starting to shoot, and I think that is a russian garlic growing through the middle. You can just make out the globe artichoke at the back.                                                                                     

 This bed is VERY shallow I built it on top of a path, so it will be great for growing fast greens. Like lettuce and asian greens. Four different types so far. According to the website
Easy to grow. Sow in garden, or start in seed trays and plant out in 4-6 weeks.. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 8°C and 27°C. (Show °F/in) Space plants: 20 - 30 cm apart Harvest in 8-12 weeks.Compatible with: Carrots, Onions, Strawberries, Beets, Brassicas, Radish, Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Florence fennel, leeks.
Avoid growing with: Parsley, Celery ,
No parsley out the back yet, but some growing wild out the front, I should take some photos of what is happening out the front......
This bed is garlic, two sorts the giant russian garlic that was given to me by a lady who claims it has been passed down four generations of her family. The rest is some garlic I bought from green harvest about 5 years ago and it is still going. Behind that bed is some

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.