Babaco Carica pentagona is compact, high yielding and more frost tolerant than its close relative papaya (or paw paw) – an excellent candidate for sustainable gardens around the country.
A native of Ecuador, the herbaceous shrub is grown commercially in New Zealand, Israel and southern California. Its fruit, which is yellow when ripe and shaped like a torpedo, is sometimes called Champagne Fruit for its refreshing, effervescent flesh. Some say it tastes like a cross between strawberry, papaya and pineapple.
Through careful fruit and vegetable selection, it’s possible to have edibles in your garden all year round. Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design, gives some valuable suggestions in this video.
The fruit of the Australian finger lime Citrus australasica is sought after by top restaurants around the world. Often described as ‘lime caviar’ for its small bead-like crystals of tangy juice, it’s used to pep up drinks, in desserts, as a garnish and even to make marmalade. For the home gardener, it is also an attractive tree, growing to six metres, and its thorns provide a perfect habitat for small birds. It is native to the rainforests of south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, but will grow elsewhere.
“Garden plants are the biggest source of weeds in this country totalling 70% of Australia’s combined agricultural, noxious and natural ecosystem weeds”1. A more recent review of the literature and a survey of seed experts in Australia has revealed that the ornamental plant trade and vehicle movement are the major pathways for weed spread2. Thus the garden and nursery industry as well as home gardeners must take the blame for this problem which results in inhibition or even elimination of native plants and other species in natural areas. What can gardeners do to avoid this?
Can you produce many fruit and vegetables in a small garden? Of course you can, even when the fruit trees create a lot of shade. Karen Sutherland has used every spot on her small property to its full potential. She tells us her approach in this video.
In the modern age, trees are usually viewed in terms of amenity and safety, with unsafe trees being removed entirely. What is generally overlooked is which aspects of the tree could be retained for the benefit of local wildlife and biodiversity. Urban communities have a preoccupation with sanitation, which is often to the detriment of the critters we share our environment with. Dead and decaying wood is a food source for insects and other invertebrates, which are in turn food for reptiles and mammals and birds. Trees – alive or dead – which contain hollows are habitat for all manner of organisms. Unfortunately, many trees with hollows are deemed too hazardous for urban situations, and end up being cut down. In many circumstances this is necessary, but it is time to re-think to what extent they are removed, what could remain as habitat and how we can help create more habitat.
Ok, it’s official, winter is upon us. And while it may seem easier to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and a good book, it is the perfect time to get amongst it in the patch! There is a sense of hibernation for a lot of us but wherever you are in this nation it’s time to don the boots and get to it.