Category Grow

GOING TO GROUND – Your guide to growing root vegetables


Root vegetables like carrots, beetroots, parsnips and radishes are staples in our kitchens and vegetable gardens. Let’s dig down into how to grow your own bunch of crunchy carrots or bountiful beets.

Root crops are versatile vegetables that produce an edible swollen root or base of stem, either below or at the soil surface. Interestingly, not all are from the same family – swedes, turnips and radishes are from the Brassica family, beetroot is a relative of silverbeet in the Amaranthaceae family, and carrot and parsnip are part of the huge Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family.

All prefer to grow in full sun (at least six hours) and have similar requirements when it comes to soil and climate. They have provided a valuable food source of minerals, carbohydrates and fibre as staple crops throughout history and, with only a little effort, could be a tasty addition to your vegetable garden too.

WELL WATERED – Finding the best way to water your garden


Water is the lifeblood of a garden – but should you hand-water, install an irrigation system or plug in a sprinkler? Let’s consider the best way to water your garden that will help keep our plants happy and hydrated.

Without water, plants would not survive. It makes up the majority of their cells and carries essential nutrients around the plant. Water is both used and produced during photosynthesis, a chemical process occurring in the plant’s cells to convert energy from the sun and carbon dioxide from the air into oxygen and energy the plant uses to grow.

Water also helps plants regulate their temperature by being transpired, or evaporated, from tiny pores in their leaves. Plant cells plump with water are also more flexible and able to better withstand wind and heat – cells that dry out will show up on the plant as brown patches or tips on leaves and stems.

CUCURBITS: your guide to growing zucchini, pumpkin, squash & melons


Also known as winter and summer squash, cucurbits are warm-weather annuals that may be eaten fresh (like zucchini and melons), or stored for the cooler months (like pumpkins and squash). Now’s the time to get ready for a bumper crop from these easy-to-grow plants in small and large gardens alike.

WORM FARMING – The hows and whys of successful vermicomposting at home.


Mysterious creatures that turn our green waste into a power pack of microbial- and nutrient-rich castings, worms are essential to both soil and plant health.

Creating your own worm farm is inexpensive, easy and a fantastic way to turn vegie scraps, coffee grounds, newspapers and even eggshells into a rich resource that builds soil and increases plant health. Low maintenance, worms require little more than a couple of handfuls of vegie scraps each week applied to their shaded home, and what they will give you in return is pure garden gold.

DOWN TO EARTH – Soil amendments


Now’s the time to get your soil ready for spring seedlings and summer harvests. Let’s consider the what, why and how of the various ways of feeding your soil and plants with compost, fertilisers and minerals.

Healthy soil is the foundation every garden needs. You might always be thinking about what to provide your plants so they grow and produce abundantly, but have you considered that you need to feed your soil as well? Fertilisers and manures are great for soil fertility, and compost is king for building organic matter in your garden beds, but what about seaweed, worm castings, trace mineral rock dust, soil probiotics and more?

ANYONE CAN – Grow your own food


It’s easy to think you need a big backyard, lots of knowledge and plenty of spare time in order to be able harvest homegrown food for you and your family. But by understanding the space you have and what you consume the most of, there’s no reason why we all can’t be reducing our grocery bills with some homegrown fruit, vegetables and herbs.

There are so many great things about growing food. Zero food miles, knowing it hasn’t been sprayed, the savings at the checkout and the real sense of achievement that comes with harvesting live, nutrient-dense produce just an hour or so before sitting down to eat it.

There are many things that hold us back from doing it, too. Many people will feel they don’t have the space, knowledge or time required to be pulling out basketfuls of lush homegrown food day after day. And while that might be true, by taking stock of both the space and time you do have, as well what you consume and spend the most money on, there is no reason why you can’t feel the same reward and enjoy the nutritional and cost-saving benefits as the vegie-growing fanatic down the road.

TREES OF CHANGE – Add varieties and improve pollination with our fruit-tree grafting guide.


The reasons to try your hand at grafting are many and varied. As well as increasing the varieties of fruit you’ll be harvesting each year, you’ll be improving pollination, extending your fruiting season and creating important diversity to benefit your patch.

In simple terms, grafting is the art of taking cuttings from one tree and attaching it to another. If this sounds easy it’s because it actually is! So if you’ve ever pondered grafting a few new varieties of apples or plums onto an existing fruit tree, or enjoyed a variety of peach or pear from a friend’s harvest and wished you could have a tree just like it, then grafting is definitely worth a shot.

With the plethora of grafting techniques out there, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with what type of graft you should use. One of the simplest and most versatile grafts is a basic bark graft. A way to either completely change over a young tree of around four or five years or to add a few different varieties to an older tree by grafting into existing branches, bark grafting is a handy technique to know.

And you’ll become completely hooked on just how many varieties you can graft onto a single tree.

STONE FRUIT – What to plant this winter for a juicy summer harvest


Ever dreamed of picking deliciously ripe stone fruit from your own backyard? Winter is the time to put the work in if you are wanting to be picking sun-warmed fruit in summer.

While great quality fruit is available seasonally at farmers markets and roadside stalls, nothing can beat the taste of a sun-warmed peach straight from the tree or homemade plum jam on toast.

And it’s not just the harvest that makes stone fruit a great addition to the home garden – branches laden with blossoms in spring attract bees and beneficial insects when they are needed and provide a beautiful reminder that warmer weather is on the way.

WINTER SUCCESS – Your autumn guide to getting the most from your patch in winter.


A productive winter garden is created in autumn. So even though the days are still long and the garden is pumping with end-of- season summer crops, ticking off a few jobs now will help ensure there’s plenty to harvest in the depths of winter.

While it’s hard to imagine that cooler weather will soon be arriving, having a productive winter garden means getting those important garden jobs done early. In between keeping up the water and harvesting your summer bounty, there are some key jobs you can do right now to set yourself up to be putting food on the table when the seasons finally turn.

Love Your Soil

Autumn is the perfect time to give your garden beds some extra care after hungry summer crops have depleted nutrients through flowering and vegetable production. A little attention now will replenish the most important element in your garden – soil – and lay the foundation for a productive season ahead. If you live in a hot and humid climate, autumn and winter may actually be your peak growing time – so getting the soil ready to go now is a must.

The first step is to clear any spent crops from your garden and dispose of diseased or pest-infested plants. Once your old crops are out, add some organic matter back in. Apply a ‘chop and drop’ method to healthy plants by cutting them off at the soil surface and laying them directly on the garden beds, chopping them into smaller pieces as you go. This keeps your soil structure intact and increases soil fertility by leaving the root organic matter in the ground to be food for the worms, in addition to the plants themselves being broken down gradually on the soil surface. Alternatively, you can add the plant matter to your compost pile.

COMPOSTING 101 – How to choose the best system to suit your space and lifestyle.


Growing great vegies all comes down to the health of your soil, and you can’t have healthy soil without compost. There are many different ways to create compost at home; which is best depends on your situation and what fits into your space and lifestyle.

Having healthy living soil full of organic matter and microorganisms is essential to growing nutritious food. Compost you buy in a bag or from a nursery is never going to be as high quality as what you can make at home. And by making your own compost, not only are you creating rich organic matter to maintain healthy soils, but composting is a sustainable solution to your food-waste problems and an inexpensive way to deal with any green waste around your home.

Compost can get a bad rap. When some people think of compost, they think of a pile of smelly rotting vegetables with flies buzzing around it. This isn’t true compost.

Regardless of which system you choose, true compost is a healthy balance of carbon and nitrogen – it smells sweet when the ratio is right – and it’s turning your food and green waste into rich and nutritious compost to build and maintain soil health.

There are many different ways to create compost. There’s hot compost, cold compost, compost tumblers, compost bins, a compost pile, bokashi systems, even worm farms.