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.
The first farmers’ market started in Victoria in 1998 in the Yarra Valley. There are now at least 180 farmer’s markets across Australia, around half of them (77) in Victoria (where I live).1 In the future, this number could increase to 600 or more.2 So:
- What is a farmers’ market?
- Why should you consider going to a farmers’ market?
- What are the problems with current farmer’s markets?
Soil blocking is a sustainable way to start seedlings. Efficient, easy, fun and great for growing strong healthy seedlings, soil blocks are used in large-scale horticulture in Europe and are gaining popularity elsewhere. Soil blocks are small self-contained blocks of lightly compressed soil that allows seedlings roots to be air pruned and allow plants to re-establish quickly following transplanting due to minimal root disturbance.
While the southern parts of Australia have donned winter pyjamas and flannelette sheets, the northern states are still revelling in warm, and mostly sunny autumn days. Regardless of the conditions in your little patch of paradise, there is still loads to do this month. Get set for those produce plants that need the cooler weather to grow.
Green roofs are rooftops equipped to grow gardens. This innovative infrastructure offers an excellent prospect for inner city gardening.
Like any garden, green roofs can achieve multiple purposes. They can grow produce, boost and attract biodiversity or create specific landscapes and aesthetic styles. But because of their location, green roofs also achieve unique additional benefits. They help to control the temperature inside a building by moderating its ambient air temperature and by creating insulation, they filter and control the release of rain water, reducing stormwater pollution, and they boost the productivity of solar panels during the warmer months of the year.
Some people might ask why SGA talks about sustainable gardening rather than just gardening.
The fact is that horticulture in the hands of home gardeners, gardening professionals, nurseries and garden retail centres can have wide reaching deleterious impacts on the natural environment far from urban gardens. SGA’s goal is to help you prevent these impacts and, at the same time, make your gardens joyous, healthy and productive places.
Here are some things sustainable gardening can do.