May in Adelaide

What a wonderful soaking we have had! About 80mm at our place over two big rains in the past week. How are your tanks looking? Don’t have any tanks? How about digging a few swales to catch rain this winter and recharge the soil? It sounds like there will be plenty more on the way!
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Now is a good time to top up mulch on paths, to protect soil from erosion, prevent mud being trafficked everywhere and to suppress weeds (works best with a layer of cardboard underneath).
It’s also a great time to work on soil improvement with a view to planting out native trees, shrubs and ground covers during autumn and winter, deciduous trees in winter and then evergreens such as citrus and subtropical fruits in spring. On all Adelaide soils this means adding organic matter (well rotted compost and/or farm manures), or planting green manure crops such as peas or broad beans.

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Posted in autumn, community, Food, maintenance, seedlings, seeds, vegetables

Garden Buddies

Do you ever find yourself mentoring someone a bit newer to gardening? Or wishing that you had someone to do this for you?

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When we started front-yard food gardening about 12 years ago, we quickly learned to allow a bit of extra time for over-the-fence conversations during each job. Sometimes we fielded curious questions from passers-by, and at other times we were offered friendly advice (including “No offence, dear, but…” usually followed by something about how this garden had always been lawn – and presumably always should be). We were never lonely!

But what if you don’t know the gardeners in your neighbourhood? Continue reading

Posted in books, community, hanging out in the garden

A very peaceful Easter

Happy Easter, Adelaide.

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NB: may not be an actual bunny egg.

It’s a strange one, I know, without camping and all the gatherings that usually go on, but maybe a time to reshape (not lose) some of the rituals that mark our seasons and cultures. And to do some reading! (more on this at the end).

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We talked recently about zones, and I used this central permaculture concept as an analogy for how I was approaching care of home and community while physically distancing. Today the same zoning concept can apply to what we’re doing over Easter.

And, since we’ve all had our lives reshaped by a scary microbe, it seems timely to check in with some of the friendlier microbes in our lives. Continue reading

Posted in autumn, Family, fermenting, Food, gifts, hanging out in the garden, pandemic, zones

Happy Plague :) Planting in April 2020

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As this isolation thing unfolds, I have never felt less isolated in my life. Every day of ‘lockdown’ uncovers more community connections and deepens family relationships. There is so much meaningful work to do that it hasn’t had a chance to become boring (yet) and rarely do we look for entertainment (in which case one need look no further than a pair of chooks catching slaters in the compost!) Continue reading

Posted in autumn, chooks, community, dirty fun, Family, Food, maintenance, planting, raised garden beds, seedlings, seeds, soil, vegetables

FREE eBOOK: Starting a Garden in Adelaide – a guide for beginners

Happy Sunday, Adelaide gardeners!

The new PDF format eBook is now up on a new page of Nadja’s Garden and is free to download. (Update 30/3/20: file is now compressed to 8MB)

FREE eBOOK: Starting a Garden in Adelaide – a guide for beginners

Please feel free to share with your gardening (and about to be gardening) friends. There will be improved editions to come, replacing this first edition over time.

Love, Nadja.

Posted in permaculture design

Support for home gardeners during COVID-19

Good morning gardeners,

Amidst the current chaos I hope that you are finding an oasis of peace in your gardens. Perhaps a few of you may be just beginning your own garden and yet to discover what a source of comfort, security and emotional release it can be at times like this.

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While we’re all affected by the pandemic situation (not just the virus but the far-reaching impacts of its disturbance to ‘normal’ life) I hope to share information and encouragement for resilience at home and in the garden. And I hope that every single one of us, and every single household or family that gardens can become a hub of calm, organised action and of compassionate support within our own circles. 

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Posted in community, Family, hanging out in the garden, pandemic, resilient gardening, time management, zones

Autumn at Home – The Silver Lining in the Health Crisis

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Of all the times to be interrupting our usual busyness and spending more time at home, what season could be lovelier than autumn? The ground is still warm, there’s water in the tanks and there’s still sunshine to get a vast range of vegetables growing. Yes, it may be scary to see empty supermarket shelves, but all the more reason to get planting. Physical separation from others doesn’t mean we can’t still have cups of tea in the garden and chat at a safe distance – even if we choose to bring our own cup. Handwashing may be a health necessity, but it’s so much more satisfying when those hands have garden soil on them.

I feel very grateful that permaculture has connected me and my family with a community of people who care about being skilled up in good old fashioned productivity and resourcefulness. Uncertain times are easier to face when we have a routine of practical strategies to attend to, and when we know that we’re in this together, young and old, frail and strong. Continue reading

Posted in autumn, children, community, Family, Food, pandemic, planning, planting, resilient gardening

Spring 2019 News – and a recipe :)

In this issue:

  • Seasons that defy the calendar
  • Voila! Delicious dinner from whatever is growing right now
  • Community gardens, workshops and events
  • Trees x 10 pilot activities are underway
  • Spring planting suggestions

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Posted in community, fruit, Local food, planning, planting, propagating, seeds, spring, trees, vegetables

Winter Workshops & Permablitzes

Good morning gardeners,

I’m sure I’m not the only one torn between enjoying the unseasonal July warmth and worrying that I shouldn’t really be this warm when we’ve only just passed the solstice. Hearing willy wagtails declaring their intention to nest nearby and magpies jostling for territory, seeing rogue apples setting fruit when they should be dormant… all in all the season feels scrambled.

But there hasn’t been much time to dwell on this, with so much productive climate action going on. In between Trees for Life planting, Trees x 10 planning and drawing trees into home garden designs, I’ve been collaborating to prepare a workshop –“Perennial Plants and Resilient Human Habitats” – focused on how we suburban dwellers can use trees and other perennials in climate mitigation and adaptation, with Permaculture SA.

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Posted in climate change, community, courses, events, microclimates, permaculture principles, planning, planting, resilient gardening, winter, workshops

Trees x 10…

Yesterday I was passing through Oaklands Estate Reserve at Marion. I paused to wonder what life would be like if, instead of navigating by the roads and railway lines, numbed by our devices, we instead found our way by the old landscape that’s still there underneath – the creeks and rivers; the trees that line their ancient floodplains; the soils and the plants they nurture; the rhythmic migrations of the birds and animals. To keep this land that we depend on alive and well, we need to find our way back to nature’s reality. The map, as has so often been said, really is not the territory. This city of squares that we have slapped over the landscape is not one that can sustain life for very long unless it respects the nature of the earth on which it sits.

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Along the way I met this old eucalypt, cradling a young olive tree in her branches. She offered me a seat where I could look out over the regenerating landscape. She reminded me that no matter where we come from, we are held and nurtured here by the land of the Kaurna people. The people and the land have shaped each other for thousands of years, in a relationship of love and respect. We can all be part of this loving, respectful connection with land.

I walked on, and next I found this dedication to the trees and their history, so beautifully connecting past and present:

“…This place has old stories that make you want to rest your head and listen… This place remembers all the knowledge sharing and peacemakers…” I felt as though another tentative root had reached out from me and found the sacred groundwater that had been waiting there all along.

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Last night, I joined my classmates at the conclusion of the City of Marion’s Community Leadership Course. We celebrated the courage we had unearthed, the projects we had birthed, and the affirming guidance we had received.

Today and all the tomorrows, through all the doubts and fears that visit again and again, may we remember the old trees that anchor us in this place, and go on growing together, taking our place among the knowledge sharers and the peacemakers.


Trees x 10 is an emerging project for local communities to rapidly restore tree canopy and diversify vegetation across the suburbs of Adelaide. There is no mailing list yet – please follow one of the sources below if you’d like to stay connected or become involved in activities:

  • Little updates will be on Nadja’s Garden facebook page, until the Trees x 10 facebook page is ripe.
  • Big updates will be on the Trees x 10 page of this website.

Garden guide posts are currently on hold while I’m dedicating time to this project, but the blog archive is full of monthly posts from recent years for your reference – search by month or by subject, or just scroll back through the ‘News’ page.

Posted in community, permaculture design, trees, winter