April Garden Guide

As expected, March this year was far drier than average in Adelaide and a couple of degrees warmer than usual, both by day and by night, setting the scene for a warmer and drier than usual autumn and perhaps even winter. It’s lovely weather for being out in the garden, but it’s not quite what our usual crops and planting calendars are adapted to! While the Barossa Valley received a sudden drenching early in the month, here in the city we just looked on in wonder as all the water sailed on by.


The thundercloud that stopped a city – source: ABC

Below you can see a bit of what’s happening around here. (May I emphasise that these are the relatively tidy bits of the garden and that there are plenty of works in progress – not quite enough progress, usually!)  Pomegranates are just reaching ripeness – ours are edible now but the arils will keep darkening over the next month or two and the flavour will deepen. I usually smash into them with a cleaver and then pick the segments apart in a bowl of water to avoid getting juice everywhere. As a bonus, the bitter yellow pith tends to float, making it easy to scoop off. Continue reading

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March Garden Guide

Dry summer heat has finally caught up with us. While deep-rooted trees are doing fine, some of the vegetables around here are starting to look pretty ratty after having been spoiled with frequent watering most of their lives. Speaking of ratty, those furry pests have followed the generous fruit crops this summer and are becoming a problem in many places. Best to deal with them before they settle in and multiply, by clearing up overgrown areas that provide nesting ground and disturbing their favourite highways (along fences and walls, behind stacks of wood etc.)

baby pumpkin.jpg

Baby pumpkin on trellis

Pumpkins have rambled for miles before setting fruit, some of which now hang in inconvenient places (you know, the top of the pomegranate tree, or the neighbour’s carport…). It’s a job worth getting the garden gloves on for… untangle, unwind and relocate that overgrowth so that the pumpkins can keep growing somewhere with enough support, where they won’t get stuck between other objects as they grow, won’t sit in a puddle when it (eventually) rains again, and where they can’t wrestle precious plants and young trees to the ground with their burgeoning weight. Then trim off excess growth beyond the pumpkins. Same for melons. And give them a good drink. Continue reading

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February Garden Guide

Just one sleep to go until the new school year. Not that anyone’s counting. Tomorrow I will remember just how short the working day is when it’s squeezed between school drop-off and pick-up and moth-holed with appointments, and I’ll remember why it is that my garden to-do list is so rarely done. For now, though, I can wander around the garden noting what needs doing and imagine that it will all happen, miraculously, in this new and so-far-unspoiled year 🙂 So here’s my to-do list.

fruit bowl.jpg Continue reading

Posted in Food, fruit, hanging out in the garden, maintenance, markets, permaculture design, planning, planting, seedlings, seeds, summer, sustainable food, vegetables | Leave a comment

January Garden guide & Happy New Year!

What do you do when life hands you lots of lemons – and grape leaves? Make dolmades! Continue reading

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December Garden Guide



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What a different spring this has been from last year, when summer’s scDSC_2833.JPGorching heat arrived so early. This time spring has lurched along indecisively, giving us sudden huge downpours and even peppering one of the few really hot days with enormous hailstones (which thankfully missed our patch). It seems to have had the same effect on local grasses as on distant cereal crops, bringing them to a spectacularly seedy late finish and boosting gardeners’ hayfever and allergies in the process. The chooks have delighted in a long-running thistle supply to fuel spring egg production, while we humans have been treated to snowpeas galore and countless sweet, fragrant, curled feijoa petals foraged from the tree for dessert (just mind the earwigs inside).

Although spring days have been only slightly cooler than average, recent springs have been much warmer – and this time the nights have been significantly cooler, helping to keep soil temperatures down and slow seed germination. So – many plants that were already well established have had their spring growth boosted by the extra rain, while vegetables planted from seed in spring have had a slower than usual start. Continue reading

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Great big garden tour – and November guide

I promised a virtual tour of our garden in lieu of the open day which was cancelled recently, and here it is. It seems the weather agreed with the decision to call off the event, as it ended up raining most of that afternoon. Today’s sunshine, however, is bringing out all the spring colours.


Nardoo-filled pond, surrounded by apple, feijoa, rushes, sage, lavender and irises.

And for the coming month’s garden guide I’ll refer you to this post from the same time last year – just bear in mind though that instead of a dry spring, this year we’ve had a very wet one – so the ground is cooler and better soaked, meaning that heat-loving plants are slightly delayed in their germination and growth (tomato, capsicum, eggplant, pumpkin etc), subtropical trees/vines have not been so keen to be planted out early (citrus, avocado, mango, passionfruit), and those plants susceptible to fungal diseases may be more at risk this time around (grape, zucchini), so be ready with your antifungal treatments such as milk spray or eco-fungicide.


Cross-seasonal mixed vegetables and herbs in a raised bed of about 2 square metres: includes borage, perennial basil, strawberries, broad beans, snow peas (on the trellis), tomatoes, broccoli, spring onions, cos lettuces, capsicums and coriander. The curved trellis forms a sun trap facing north-east (optimal for gentle morning sun). The tall, hardy perennial basil shelters the other plants from the north-west and its flowers feed the bees.

In years gone by, a walk through our garden was a kind of parade of individual fruit trees and vegetable beds. I’m happy to say that after eight years it’s maturing into a cluster of effective plant communities and microclimates. It’s challenging to convey this in two-dimensional pictures, but please bear with me as I try to explain how the elements work together here. Continue reading

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Spring Open Day Cancelled

cancelled open day.jpg

We are reluctantly cancelling our spring open day for health reasons and apologise to all who had planned to visit. We were looking forward to spending the afternoon with you! I intend to post a garden tour in pictures on the blog as soon as possible.

I know I have spoken with many of you personally about visiting our garden, especially where you may be considering some similar aspects of design for your own garden, and you would be welcome to come for a look at another time – please keep in touch.

If you have invited others to the event please also let them know.

Thanks for your understanding,



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