EDIBLE GARDENS

GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD

WHY GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?
Many fruits are picked unripe before nutrients develop to enhance supermarket shelf life ³Fresh Food´ could be 9 months old! Garlic ± 90% imported ± our quarantine department insists that every bulb is fumigated with methyl bromide ± a poison 90% of all fruit and vegetable varieties have disappeared ± heirloom varieties

WHY GROW YOUR OWN FOOD?
When you grow your own food you know what you are eating Growing your own food saves the planet ± 25-30% of greenhouse gas emissions are the result of us not growing our own food Food grown at home is healthier ± the healthiest foods being - apples, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, onions, garlic, salad greens

´The only good food is food that can go bad!µ

Any gardener can grow a years supply of fruit and vegetables in a space ² 12m long and 9m wide Consider digging up your front lawn! OR constructing raised beds

RAISED BEDS
Creating a raised bed for growing vegetables is useful if you are uncertain about the drainage capabilities of your soil. A raised bed assists with good drainage and prevents roots from getting waterlogged Raised beds may be constructed with timber frames ± preferably not CCA treated timber

SOIL
The most important part for good growing conditions Australian soils are the least fertile of any soils on our planet Sand * Loam * Clay * Soil Texture Ph ± acid or alkaline, structure and water holding capacity influences Soil organic matter is plant and animal residues in decomposition which in turn are consumed by WORMS

SOIL (continued)
Worms assist the soil by opening up air pockets for greater water penetration and providing plant nutrients in an organic form ³Organic soils have such capacity to hold moisture that optimum growth can be achieved with up to less than 75% less water than non-organic systems´ So what does this mean? ± use a composting system, worm farm and add only organic fertilisers to soil if needed

FERTILISERS
If you have an organic system then the need to use commercially bought fertilisers is reduced ± if you do need to use them to improve your soil then the following table suggests organic options

WHAT TO GROW?
Sydney is said to have a temperate climate for growing fruits and a warm coastal climate for growing vegetables Remember vegetables and fruit trees/plants need a minimum of 5 hours sunlight per day! Refer to Sow What When Charts

FRUIT OPTIONS FOR SYDNEY
Peaches, nectarines, quince, persimmons, figs, mulberries, pomegranates, citrus (all types), olives, avocado, guavas, grapes, strawberries, passionfruit Can also grow some varieties of apples plums, and apricots

VEGETABLE OPTIONS FOR SYDNEY
Artichokes Jerusalem, asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, garlic, kale, onion ± barletta and creamgold, pak choy, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, spring onions, beetroot, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, lettuce ± a HUGE variety!

TOP 6 FRUIT TREES FOR SMALL SPACES
Dwarf Meyer Lemon ± up to 2m, OK for pots, winter-spring peak fruiting Strawberry Guava ± up to 3m, OK for pots, autumn peak fruiting Dwarf Wurtz Avocado ± up to 4m, OK for pots, spring-summer peak fruiting

TOP 6 FRUIT TREES FOR SMALL SPACES
Cumquat ± up to 1.8m, OK for pots, autumn-spring peak fruiting Fig ± up to 3m ± prune to limit size, OK for pots, later summer-autumn peak fruiting Palmer Mango ± up to 4m ± prune to limit size, OK for pots, summer-autumn peak fruiting

HERBS
Herbs can be grown throughout the garden or in pots (try a large pot with several types of herbs) Herbs may be either annual (go to seed and die in one year) such as basil and coriander or perennials (continue to grow for many years) such as rosemary, thyme and marjoram NEED an open and sunny position ± too much shade effects the quality of taste of the herb

HERBS
Annuals ± parsley, basil, rocket, coriander ± replace these each year

Perennials ± rosemary, chives, mint, oregano, marjoram and french tarragon ± these can grow for some time ± harvest them often to encourage new growth

SOWING SEEDS
In pots ensure you have a good quality potting mix ± the 4 ticks Keep the potting mix moist at all times With large seeds sow to a depth of twice the width of the seed in an evenly spaced arrangement With small, fine seeds sow directly in a more shallow arrangement ± don¶t bury them too far down. To minimise any thinning out later it is a good idea to mix these types of seeds with some dry sand and then sow Keep seeds moist but not wet When they have two sets of leaves on them you can apply some worm water or a weak seaweed solution If the seedlings are too close together thin them out to reduce any fungal diseases and to ensure the seedling has enough room to grow

MULCH AND WATER
WATER MORE BUT LESS OFTEN
Deep watering ± when your produce is growing, water deeply and only once or twice a week. By deeply ± count to 60 and hold hose or watering can to the soil around the plant Overhead watering is not advisable as this may increase the chance of fungal diseases

WATER AND MULCH
ALWAYS MULCH!!!
Mulching all plants saves water ± ensure mulch is applied at a layer no greater than 100mm ± (50 - 75mm is recommended). Never mulch around the trunk of a plant ± this can increase the possibility of disease. Best mulch ± lucerne, sugar cane, etc Avoid wood chips if possible ± especially larger sized wood chips as they take too long to break down and provide too dense a cover for some plants increasing the chances of waterlogging and fungal disease.

PEST CONTROL
Integrated pest management ± includes growing plants that provide nectar for the predatory insects that keep damaging insects under control ± such as plants from the daisy and parsley family including marguerite daisies, gazanias, cosmos, zinnia, aster, sunflowers, parsley, coriander and dill

PEST CONTROL (continued)

RESOURCES
Blazey C and Varkulevicius (2006) The Australian Fruit and Vegetable Garden, The Diggers Club: Australia McMaugh J (2000) What Garden Pest or Disease is That? New Holland: Australia Pile T (2000) Sydney Gardening by Suburb, Murdoch Books: Australia

WEBSITE
www.diggers.com.au