Commit more space to your Urban Food Garden

Posted on 2 June 2017
Commit more space to your Urban Food Garden

According to studies performed by Adelaide University, having a 5m squared garden will give you a Return On Investment (ROI) of over $5000 per year!

It sounds pretty obvious, we know, that increasing your garden size will increase your garden's yield, but we make this point here to emphasise just how much you can benefit from doing so!

We find that most people are a little hesitant to convert large spaces over to gardens - maybe the backyard will shrink too much & what about the dog? Oh the dog! We find that by committing a 5m squared plot to creating your own UFG & with the right amount of care (not too much) you'll grow enough food to keep your family, & your bank account very happy.

Posted in: Gardening Tips  

Gardening With Kids

Posted on 24 May 2017
Gardening With Kids

You can teach your kids a passion for gardening and respect for Mother Nature by getting them involved in gardening at a young age. The flora and fauna in the garden are fascinating to watch and can be of great educational value to a curious child. Nurture their budding interest by keeping the focus on fun. There are all sorts of amazing and wonderful projects to do at any age, below a few suggestions.

Ages 2-3

  • Children this age are curious and like to engage in simple pastimes such as digging a hole andpouring water into it. They are also drawn to small creatures such as bugs, worms and colourful butterflies, and like to collect and touch. Encourage them to potter around your garden, to explore plants and their shapes and sizes, and teach them where plants come from and how they grow from seed to a plant.

Ages 4-5

  • For children this age a garden is a place to explore, play, discover and pretend. Kids love to buildhide-aways or play in overgrown places, so help them to construct a teepee enclosed with climbing beans or sweet peas .Help your child to sow some seeds in pots choosing large seeded varieties that are easy to handle with little fingers. Sunflowers, Beans, Peas and Nasturtiums are great examples. Keep them busy during rainy days by making a cress egghead planter or drying flowers.

Ages 6-7

  • Kids at this age are able to create their own little garden patch to grow annual and perennial flowers and veggies. If you have limited garden space you can make a miniature garden in a bucket. Your child can choose the plants but encourage selections that are easy and fast-growing, such as Radish and Marigold. For some extra fun plant exciting and colourful vegetable varieties such as Rainbow Silver Beet and Purple Carrots. Kids are much more likely to eat veggies they have grown and nurtured themselves. In wet weather get the children building a scarecrow, making personalised plant tags, plantable gift tags or building their own terrarium.

Ages 8-10

  • Children at this age can be far more engaged with the garden. Try a project that will be fun and rewarding for the whole family such as planting a ' pizza garden' a veggie patch with your favourite pizza toppings such as Capsicums, Tomatoes, Oregano and Basil. The patch can also be shaped as a pizza with wedge sections for each 'topping'. Kids can help with routine tasks like weeding and fertilising, but do focus on gardening as a fun activity.

Ages 11-12 and beyond

  • Children this age want to feel like they are contributing to family life and may wish to cook a gourmet meal using their own veggies and herbs. Gardens are also like "living laboratories" for school assignments on ecology and animal and plant life. Kids who learn to appreciate Mother Nature from an early age will mature into teenagers who are able to respect people, nature and the community. And who knows, they might be budding botanists or landscape designers in the making!
Posted in: Gardening Tips Garden Projects  

Earthworms and Soil Life

Posted on 18 May 2017
Earthworms and Soil Life

Within a typical garden soil is an ecosystem consisting bacteria, fungi, moulds and a myriad of animals from tiny insects to larger earthworms. Most of these are vital to the health of the soil. Earthworms play a key role here.

Earthworms constantly move through the soil, processing the organic matter through bodies. This breaks it up and increases beneficial microbial activity, increases nutrient availability to plants, improves crumb structure, increases water holding capacity and allows better penetration of plant roots, water and oxygen into the soil.

Encouraging earthworms. Check your earthworm population in the cooler, wetter time of the year. Introduce some if you have few or none. Feed them by allowing leaf litter to remain and mulch the surface. Bury your kitchen scraps in holes 10-20 cm deep throughout the garden. Over time this will provide enormous benefits. Keep the soil moist and keep digging to an absolute minimum. Avoid using toxic chemicals in the soil.

Posted in: Gardening Tips  

Using Food Scraps

Posted on 9 May 2017
Using Food Scraps

There are many different foods that can be regrown using their scraps. Using food scraps to grow newfoods can be a fun way to both save money on your grocery bill and reduce food waste.

Garlic

  • Plant even just a single clove root-end down and you will see results. Plant in shallow ground in the sunniest part of your garden.

Green onions

  • When your recipe only calls for the green part, don't toss the white end with the roots. Drop them in a glass with enough water to cover them, and move the onions around so the roots are pointing down. Make sure you change the water out once every couple of days so they don't get greasy. Within about a week you'll have a brand new set of green onions.

Leeks

  • Just take the base of your leeks and cute straight across the bottom. Cover them in water, and leave them in the window with some sun for a few days. You should start seeing them sprout right away, and within a week or so you'll be able to trim off parts to use in recipes.

Fennel

  • Take the leftover fennel roots and place them in a small container filled with water. Keep on a sunny windowsill just as you did the leeks. You can plant in the ground if you'd like, but you don't need to for success. Just make sure that you change the water every week.

Romaine Lettuce

  • Similar to leeks, romaine lettuce will re-grow from the white root end. Cut the stalks off as you normally would, and place the root end in a shallow bowl of water enough to cover the roots but not the top of your cutting. Place it in a sunny window position. After a few days, you should start to see roots and new leaves appear. After a week or so, transplant it into soil with just the leaves showing above the level of the soil. The plant will continue to grow, and within a few weeks it will sprout a whole new head.

Lemongrass:

  • Take the roots of the lemongrass that you don't use in your cooking and put them in a container full over water. Place the container on a sunny windowsill. Once you can spot new growth then place the plant into a pot with soil and return it to the windowsill. Wait until the roots are about a foot tall and then cut off what you need for cooking. The roots will continue to sprout, as long as you keep it healthy.

Celery:

  • When chopping the celery leave the base of the plant intact. Put the base in water and leave it for about a week, changing the water every couple of days. Once you notice yellow leaves growing out of the stem and the outer stalk starts to deteriorate, this is when you can plant it into a pot with soil. The temperature needs to be warm, but not too hot!

Ginger:

  • Plant your ginger scraps with the newest buds facing up in a pot of moist soil. Because ginger is a tropical plant it prefers humid conditions. You will notice green shoots come out of the soil and spread out. After about four months it should be reading for harvesting.

Potatoes:

  • Once potatoes start to form 'eyes' on them, Cut the potatoes into 2 inch pieces, while making sure each piece has 1-2 'eyes' on it. leave the pieces in room temperature for a few days; this allows the cut surface area to dry out so they don't rot in the ground. Plant the pieces in a pot filled with rich, moist soil. Plant them 8 inches in depth with they 'eyes' facing the sky.
Posted in: Gardening Tips  

Watering with limited supplies

Posted on 5 May 2017
Watering with limited supplies
When water supplies are limited because of water restrictions or lack of a mains supply, you can still have a kitchen garden. Here are some ways to achieve this:
  • Harvest as much water as possible from land and roof spaces and use grey water in accordance with health guidelines.
  • Micro irrigation is the most efficient method of watering.
  • Water at critical periods at establishment and in the last few weeks before harvest.
  • Sow and plant during cooler, wetter periods and avoid the height of summer.
  • Grow productive crops such as tomatoes, beans, carrots and cucumbers, and in the cooler, wetter time of year grow crops such as brassicas, peas and broad beans.
Posted in: Gardening Tips  

Urban Food Garden, Your Way To A Healthy Future

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