I planted bamboo because it is important in sustainable living: food, shade, privacy and for supporting vines. Pheasant coucals and possums gravitate towards the shelter of my bamboo which, now it is seventeen years old, has grown to become a landscape statement without outgrowing the allocated space…
The actions I have taken here at Bellis and which I encourage others to adopt are the brakes, airbags and seatbelts to help protect us in the coming global environmental car crash.
You may be aware that Gene Technology multinationals are on the media warpath claiming that communities are wrong to oppose their new GM yellow rice, an artificial plant invented with higher amounts of Vitamin A than normal rice as their contribution to help combat malnutrition of the world’s poorest people. Think again.
Between 2013 and 2019, UK Aid funding allowed the International Potato Centre and partners to deliver pro-vitamin A-rich, sweetpotato cultivars to more than 2.3 million families in five African countries and Bangladesh.
If you want protein-rich pigeon peas by the bucketful, grow them in drought. And plant pigeon peas for food, shade, shelter, forage and bees. Grow them in a school food garden to discover which species of native bee live in the vicinity. Use this food plant as a school science project!
In a region greatly affected by the worst drought in living memory, we were united in seeing gardening as a great way to alleviate anxiety and bring the community together. We had planned for 50 – 80 to attend, but 140 registered. An indication of how valuable our gardens are and how practical regional gatherings like this can be for our mental and spiritual health and our sense of community.
If you’re watering plants with grey water, the type of detergent you use really makes a difference to both their health and the health of the soil.
How do you approach tree planting? “All life on Earth is now experimental. Thanks to a lack of Australian climate leadership, we grow crops and plant gardens in uncharted climate territory. If this is the future of gardening, then we must embrace experimental tree planting for shade, food, fodder and biodiversity”. Jerry Coleby-Williams, Founder of Bellis, Brisbane’s award-winning, affordable sustainable house and garden; Director, Seed Saver’s Network; Patron, National Toxics Network; Patron, Householder’s Options for Protecting the Environment, 2nd February 2019.
“Salsa verde, chilled and freshly made from home grown tomatillos (Physalis philadelphica), is great on a hot day. An excuse for not cooking on (another) one of those sticky subtropical summer days”.
We ignore the following key aspects of sustainable food production at our peril:
* A culture of forgetting – we forget our horticultural history;
* Declining crop diversity, both in the range of species grown and in the genetic diversity within each crop;
* The oversimplification and impoverishment of systems of food production;
* A reluctance to apply the precautionary principle where using the least toxic solution in crop protection comes first;
I’m waiting for the summer wet season to start. Until the rain arrives, there is little cloud to filter the hot sunlight. Thank goodness for old net curtains and shadecloth! I thought I would check my crops against those commonly grown in Vietnam. Despite the average weather, I have 114 different crops growing in my 300…
Ten years ago British Petroleum closed Prudhoe Bay, the largest oilfield in the USA. Rusted, leaking oil pipes heavily polluted a region already suffering from accelerating global warming. At the same time, melting permafrost had started to cause forests, roads and homes to start sinking into mud. Methane gas, once frozen under the ice, started…
Nature strip gardening can beautify streets capes, improving the retail sale prices of real estate. Reseach has proven nature strips provide valuable social and environmental services.
Public safety is vital. Plants in nature strips should not be spiny, caustic, toxic or allowed to overgrow, or cause trip hazards, impede wheelchairs, or block lines of sight. The effect should not be overgrown, full of litter or claustrophobic, it should be park-like.