Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs can be one of the best ways to livesustainably and to have fun outside too! By growing your own produce you can cut downon transport costs and greenhouse emissions, maximise taste, freshness and vitamincontent.Permiculture and growing vegetables:Essentially, permaculture is based around the idea of working with nature rather thanagainst it. In terms of growing your own vegetables this refers to conceptualising,planning and managing the planting of fruit and vegetables to maximise a year roundsustainable harvest. Some things to consider when designing your garden are:LocationMany plants have different requirements in terms of sunlight, soil type and level ofprotection to wind. Peas for example need protection from the wind, while some lettucevarieties can grow in part shade. You will get the best out of your garden if you take theseelements into account.Planting RegimesPlanting the appropriate crop at the right time can make a substantial difference to howsuccessful your home grown fruit and vegetables are.
Organic FertilisersOne of the most effective and cheapest ways to add vital nutrients to your soil is throughdecomposing material from sources such as compost. (for information on compostingtechniques, please see pages 7-9). Blended with your garden’s soil or potting mix it (withoccasional ‘topping-up’) can provide ample fertiliser to soil structures. Additional organicfertilizers include:Fish emulsion: Is fertilizer made from processed fish products. Many variations areavailable commercially including carp based emulsions (a freshwater pest species), whichare considered appropriate in organic gardening.Seaweed extract: A fertilizer available in ether liquid or granules derived from seaweed.Animal manure: The most common types used are chicken, pig and horse manure whichprovide excellent nutrients for your garden.Companion PlantingMany fruit and vegetables plants benefit from propagation next to other plants (such asherbs) that serve as a biological control of pests (like insects), this is known ascompanion planting. Some of the many herbs that act in repelling pests include: HERB PEST THEY REPEL PLANT WITH Sage and Mint White Cabbage Moth Cabbage, Tomatoes, Carrots Basil Flies and mosquitoes Tomatoes Catnip Fleas, ants and rodents Eggplant Garlic Aphids Roses, Raspberries Coriander Aphids All Vegetables Bay Leaves Weevils and Moths Beans or GrainsSeed SavingSeed saving can help you maintain a variety of vegetables that you particularly enjoyedor are suited to your specific needs (e.g. high yield). Depending on the vegetable, seeds
can keep from 1-5+ years, making it a very sustainable activity. When collecting seedsfrom your own crops remember to: • Collect seeds from fully ripe fruit. • Wind dispersed seeds (e.g. carrots, beetroot) are ready to be collected when they are dry and easily separated from the flower head. Shake them into paper bags. • Spread collected seeds out and sun dry prior to storage. This is to reduce moisture the content. • Remove the flower or other non- required part of the plant. These can attract mould and fungus. • Store seeds in glass or plastic sealed jars.For more information: Clive Blazey The Australian Vegetable Garden: What’s New is Old. Clilve Blazey, Jane Varkulevicius The Australian Fruit and Vegetable Garden The Diggers Club www.diggers.com.au Jackie French, www.jackiefrench.com New Gippsland seed farm, www.newgipps.com.au Eden Seeds, www.edenseeds.com.au