The government is right to say Australia grows a surplus of food, but suddenly the cost of buying that fresh produce has leapt, a consequence of crippling drought followed by catastrophic bushfire and then, in places, flooding rain. As we garden in an increasingly surprising climate, the reality of organising a reliable flow of nourishing food to provide a household with regular, thrifty meals falls on those who have suddenly become unwaged. In some places, nurseries are being stripped of seedlings and packets of seed as a nation prepares to overwinter in self-isolation at home and in the garden. What climate zone is my garden in? What can I grow now? Why is crop rotation vital for success? Can I grow food in pots? So many questions to answer.
In recent years, families who garden together have become the most prominent visitors to my annual Open Day. It’s delightful seeing these gardening families, because that was how I started life: in an English family that gardened and holidayed together. Planning, harvesting, saving seed, cooking, bottling, gathering materials for gardening were activities we did together.
Interested in learning how to grow a healthy, vigorous, sustainable lawn which remains mostly green during drought like mine and is capable of resisting lawn armyworm?
Here is a list from my garden – my living larder – and my store of home grown food that might serve my household if a coronavirus lockdown occurs: protein, carbohydrate and fibre.
At a time when we urgently need stronger laws to regulate GM business, the Australian Government has removed regulations designed to keep us and our food safe. This means that from now, many genetically modified (GM) animals, plants and microbes will enter our environment and food chain with no requirement for safety testing or traceability.
On 13th November 2019 the Senate will debate whether to disallow these regulatory changes, and Labor Party support for the disallowance motion will be vital.
Now is the time to act. If you want to know that the food you are eating is GM free, please contact your local MP and senators to demand that all genetically modified organisms are assessed for safety and labelled for consumer choice.
Please sign this petition organised by Friends of the Earth, Melbourne.
In the last two decades, the Australian government has failed to have PFAS sites remediated or PFAS wastes destroyed. This failure has resulted in offsite dumping including release of PFAS contaminated water to rivers and the ocean. The most shocking example was the almost a million litres of PFAS contaminated water that was used in to make NuGrow compost.
“I decided to note down the 111 different things currently on the menu from my 300 square metre subtropical food garden. Ongoing drought has affected fruit production – I made just 340 jars of jams and marmalades this autumn instead of the usual 800…Whatever the weather, there will always be winners and losers in a garden, the key is growing a variety of useful, climate appropriate plants so there’s always food on the table”.
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.
Caffeine is a biochemical with the purpose of affecting the germination, growth, survival, and reproduction of other competing plants. Do not add coffee grounds to worm farms.
If you live in south eastern Queensland and grow pawpaw, it’s worth a quick health check right now. Mild, calm, showery, humid winter weather is perfect for observing outbreaks of pawpaw black spot disease. But how best to manage this common problem?
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…