Local food forests, going subtropical and fighting for the bees
Spring is here! We’re seeing blossoms on all of our stonefruit, and look forward to our apple trees following suit – and the bees are loving it!
This month, we’re sharing a recent video of how well Fucshia’s food forest has flourished since her Permablitz a few years back, plus Simon Mulvaney’s story about his ongoing battle to protect our bees. The forecast for the next few months look pretty hot, so we’ve decided to re-share with you Terry’s excellent guide to planting your very own subtropical garden, especially important if you want to grow our Hero of the Month, the white sapote!
Our first blitz in a while is also coming up, this time at Jessica’s place in Belgrave. As always, it was booked beyond capacity within hours, which is testament to the interest out there to help others create something special in their own back yards. Keep your eyes peeled for further blitz announcements – there are definitely more to come.
Now that the soil is starting to warm up, we’re getting ready to plant out some of our seeds saved from last year’s sunflower harvest – which is as good a reason as any to give Vampire Weekend the song of the month honours for their recent single Sunflower!
Fuchsia's Food Forest in Pascoe Vale
Before her permablitz, Fuchsia’s lawn took used to take two and a half hours to mow, which she always felt was a waste of time. So, she decided to do something about it and plant a productive food garden. Starting small, she had initial successes that gave her the confidence to learn more, experiment and have fun.
Her garden is based on permaculture principles – it is zoned from zero to five (with zero being closest to the house and five being the furthest away). In keeping with these principles, she has the plants needing the most attention and giving the highest yield, like vegetables, near the house.
Hero of the Month
If you’ve got a spot in your garden for oranges, then you may want to consider White Sapote! Why? For the fruit of course! With fruit that tastes like vanilla custard mixed with creamy banana and peaches, you’ll definitely be wanting this in your yard!
Find out more about this yummy fruit tree here!
How To: Get your subtropical garden planning for Melbourne and Victoria happening
If you live in Melbourne, it is still possible to grow a range of tropical and subtropical fruit varieties. The key to success is creating the right microclimate in your garden – experienced designer Terry tells us how.
Beets and Pieces
Naturally improve your home garden
Healthy soil yields healthy crops, which, as any good home gardener knows, can be the difference between an outstanding meal or just an okay one. But juggling rainwater management, climate and garden maintenance with the overarching goal of living and farming more sustainably can present challenges for all types of gardeners, urban or rural – even at Fat Pig Farm in Tasmania’s Huon Valley.
Fighting to Save the Bees
Simon Mulvany is a beekeeper based on the Mornington Peninsula, who has made it his mission to educate people about the plight of bees in our environment, both indigenous and introduced.
This passion has taken him on a wild journey, from re-homing up to 500 bee colonies, to fighting legal battles with business giants such as Capilano, and even campaigning against his own council to protest the usage of insect-devastating pesticides – all while raising his young son Oscar as a single parent.
We were lucky enough to have Simon tell us his story – check it out here!
How Permaculture Started – the short film
This is a first reveal of the footage that has been shot with David Holmgren as he recounts how a chance meeting with Bill Mollison sprouted the idea of Permaculture; where it all started.
The next chapter is to shoot Bill’s story in Tasmania, where Permaculture began and discover how this simple idea evolved into the most sustainable design system that reconnects human culture with nature in an evolving world.
In the Garden
Spring is almost here! The days are getting a bit longer and the soil will soon be getting warmer, which means soon the summer crops will be going in! It’s definitely the time of year where the most seeds can be started, but don’t even think of putting tomatoes in the ground yet… it’s still too cold.
If you’ve been meaning to plant some bare-rooted trees, then don’t wait any more – get them in now. It’s also a good time to feed your fruit trees if you haven’t done so already.
It’s also a good time to get some potatoes in – not sure how? Find out how here!
Seeds that do well in September include…
- Asparagus Pea
- Cape Gooseberry
- Climbing Beans
- Corn Salad
- Dwarf beans
- Globe Artichokes
- Jerusalem Artichokes
- Mustard Greens
- New Zealand Spinach (Warrigal Greens!)
- Potato (once the frosts have finished)
- Snow Peas
- Spring Onions
- Sweet Corn
- Winter Savory
Remember: some seeds do better starting off in punnets, some in pots and some in the ground. To get the best from your seedlings be sure to check the best methods first!