Organic Food Gardens

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The main focus for our blog is to pass on information and tips about growing food using Permaculture methods, to help vegetable garden owners take responsibility for their garden and their own backyards allowing them to supplement their diet with real whole foods grown by themselves in a fully supported and natural way.


Wicking garden beds. 

Wicking beds are self watering garden beds. 

Wicking bed has a water reservoir that sits underneath the soil your vegies grow in.


Wicking beds

To create a wicking bed you need a waterproof container or a garden bed frame that can be made waterproof. Wicking beds can be created in corrugated metal beds, wine barrels, large fruit crates, plastic tubs, build with hardwood timber sleepers or untreated golden cypress timber sleepers. 

If the container isn’t waterproof it will need lining. Lining materials include builders plastic or polyethylene that is 0.5mm thick. Old carpet or thick sheets of cardboard can be placed underneath garden bed which will help prevent punctures.


Reservoir is filled with pebbles
Pebbles at the base 

Geotextile fabric barrier

geotextile fabric is placed on top of the pebbles

Soil to complete

Soil on top  

     

 The bottom section of the garden bed the reservoir is filled with pebbles like scoria or blue metal. Then geotextile fabric is placed on top of the pebbles. This is the barrier between the reservoir and the top area of soil. The geotextile fabric allows water to penetrate and this results in capillary action. Watering from the bottom up. The fabric will stop the soil from filtering into the reservoir.

Water level controller pipe
A pipe is setup at the top of the bed and this pipe passes down into the bottom reservoir. This is how water is filled into the wicking bed. Also a hole is drilled into the side of the wicking bed where the reservoir and soil meet. A pipe is fitted into hole and this becomes the overflow pipe. Thus water then does not saturate the soil section. Capillary action will water the vegies.

For additional information:

Wicking beds Planted

Photo’s of wicking beds are from Edgeworth David community garden and the Fagan park eco garden..

 



Location - 

Edgeworth David community garden, Hornsby.

The Edgeworth David community garden is a work in progress. The garden is evolving with fruit trees, vegetable gardens, a swale ( a drain that slows down rain runoff ), compost bins, worm farms, tool shed and a place where people can come to together to grow food.

These pictures are of Volunteers from Catholic care centre for people with a disability working in the garden. The volunteers work each Thursday for a few hours. Recent projects involved planting potatoes and  late season winter vegetables. Each week the team waters the vegie gardens, add food to composts and collect food harvest from the garden.
 
Some of the tasks the volunteers are working on over the last two weeks
  • started another compost bin,
  • fertilised all the fruit trees,
  • planted seedlings of leeks, carrots, and spring onions
"We’re thoroughly enjoying our work in the community garden.  Jim is a great mentor and an absolute legend!" 
Volunteers preparing garden beds for planting

Volunteers Watering the plants Volunteers caring for the new plants

 


Spring 2016

New growth is abundant now. Flowering Aplle Tree
Many shrubs and fruit trees are in flower. Early fruiting trees include loquats and mulberries. Fruit is forming on stones fruits, figs and guavas while flowering fruit trees include cherries, apples, pears, macadamia, pecan, citrus and pomegranate. Vine fruits, grapes and kiwi will have lots of new growth.

Flowering trees can be mulched with compost and lucerne.
The compost provides goods nutrients and the lucerne allows moisture to be retained in the soil over the dry periods of summer. Fruits trees can have some of the fruits pinched out. Fruit trees should have organic fruit fly traps hanging on a branch, organic tree bands placed around trunks and netting. Always pick up any dropped fruit and depose of it before fruit fly attacks it.

Plant lots of flowering plants in the garden
Including:

  • Geraniums
  • lavender
  • daisies
  • sage
  • salvia Native Stingless Beehive
All of these shrubs will provide beauty and attract pollinators to the garden.
Native bees and honey bees will help pollinate fruit tree flowers which will mean more fruit.

Water regularly, drip irrigation is very effective way to water.

Liquid fertiliser is good for the foliage and can be sprayed on with a mix of water and worm juice.

Plant sunflowers, pumpkin, lettuce, spinach, corn, potatoes, tomatoes and herbs.

Always plant into good soil which means adding compost and organic fertilisers. Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy diet.

 

Banded Trees Figs Forming  Loquat Fruit  Nectarines Forming
Stunning Waratah Organic Fruit Fly Trap Banded Tree Cotton Lavendar

For additional spring planting see under heading seasonal tasks spring / summer.

 


Companion Planting

Companion Planting

Companion planting is growing vegetables, flowers and herbs together to create a healthy garden. Companion planting can provide nutrients to the soil.

Colourful flowers attract pollinators and beneficial insects to the garden. Bees and insects that are attracted by colour and will pollinate flowers and this increases the chances of fruit.

Flowers attract lady beetles who eat aphids, water in ponds attracts dragonflies who prey on pest insects and ponds also attract lizards who eat snails and slugs.

Dill attracts beneficial wasps.

Good companions like the legumes ( vegies that grow pods ) like beans and peas release nitrogen from their roots which benefits leaf growing vegies like lettuce.

Other good companions include:

  • Basil that repels flies and mosquitoes,
  • Chives that have a strong smell that confuses thrips, chives are often planted with roses.
  • Lots of herbs planted together create a combination of smells which confuse and deter pests.
  • Celery repels white cabbage butterflies,
  • Nasturtium will deter aphids and bugs,
  • Marigolds will keep soil free of nematodes
  • Petunias will repel tomato worm.

Comfrey

 Comfrey

Blue Salivia

Blue Salivia 

Mexican Purple Sage

Mexican Purple Sage 

Ornamental Garlic

Ornamental Garlic

Pineapple Sage

Pineapple Sage 

The use of natural vegetables, herbs and flowers in combination together will decrease the need for using chemicals in the garden. It’s working with nature.

See under Seasonal Task Spring and Summer for companion planting combinations and always remember to practice crop rotation.

Top Images: Pineapple Sage (left) Nasturtiums (right) 


Copyright 2018 by Organic Food Gardens