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.


What is Permaculture ?

Means: permanent agriculture.

Permaculture is a way of incorporating the home, garden and surrounding environment into an organic sustainable way of life.

  • Permaculture works with nature to grow multi purpose companion plants.
  • One can  incorporate animals, beneficial insects and organic soils.
  • Producing food in ones backyard or balcony.
  • Permaculture can be implemented in front and backyards, balconies, roof top spaces, community gardens, school gardens, farms and semi rural properties.
  • Balcony gardens can include pots to grow herbs, vegetables and dwarf fruit trees.
  • Balcony railings can support climbing food plants.
  • Worm farms and pot full of water can include aquatic plants and fish.
  • Worm farms are a clean enclosed compost system that can be placed in a shady position on a balcony or in the garden. 
     A deep pot without a drainage hole filled with water can become a small pond with aquatic plants and fish
  • Backyards, roof top places, community gardens, school gardens can grow lots of multi purpose fruit and vegetables plants as well as including ponds, chickens, native stingless bee hives, composts, guilds and food forests.

Permaculture creates a natural and happy place. 

Chickens

    • Silky chickens provide eggs and fertiliser.
    • Great for turning over soil in vegie beds between seasons.
    • Good pets for children and will tolerate cuddles.
    • Can live up to 10 years.
    • Councils generally allow 5 chickens per household.
    • No roosters in urban areas.
    • Coup needs to be fox proof and have perches for sleeping.
    • They require nesting box in coup for laying eggs.
    • The only on going costs are seed and castings for coup floor.
    • Generally each chicken has particular characteristics and they will voluntarily go into their coup when it gets dark.

Silky Chickens

Fruiting guava

Small to medium size tree, full sun to part shade.
Provides good crop of fruit each summer autumn.
Cherry, strawberry or lemon flavoured fruits.

Flowering Guava

Flowering Peach

Small tree prefers cooler areas.
Beautiful pink flowers in winter which bees love.
Fruits summer.

Flowering Peach;

 

Community garden

growing veggies in raised beds

Growing food in containers and planter boxes


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

 


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