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Virginia Bear
Bev Debrincat


Sustainable Gardens

You can create a native habitat garden which is attractive, healthy and productive. Native plants, vegetables, pollinators, birds and biodiversity all contribute to a healthy garden.

We recommend using organic concepts using no sprays or chemicals.

Using crop rotation principals and through having a bio-diverse garden, you can reduce pests and diseases in your garden. A bio-diverse garden includes vegetables, local provenance native plants (those found naturally growing in your local area), native food plants and some pretty exotics.

Depending on which literature you read you need to rotate vegetable planting through either 4 or 6 beds giving a 4 or 6 year rotation system. This ensures the same sort of vegetable is not planted in the same bed for 4 to 6 years. When food plants are not planted in the same location from year to year diseases and pests cannot establish.

Our native plants can grow in nutrient poor soils with good drainage. They require little care apart from pruning to keep them tidy. Our vegetables require richer soils. Soils both clay and sandy can be improved by digging through broken down compost, organic compost, legume crops or Lucerne (this later will introduce weeds). By mulching with sugar cane mulch you will also help build up and protect the soils.

Different vegetables prefer different soil conditions and this leads to the basic cycle of crop rotation:

Onions like alkaline soils and so you will need to add some lime before planting.
An old onion bed will be good for legumes (peas and beans).
The legumes will add nitrogen to the soil which is good for leafy vegies such as cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuces and silver beet.
Next comes root crops (carrots, parsnips and beetroot).
Follow these with vegies such as pumpkin, corn, cucumber and zucchini.
Now the soils are becoming acidic again and will be ready for tomatoes and capsicums.
After these add some lime and plant your onions.

Some three and four bed rotations are:
- Potatoes, then brassicas (cauliflower, brocolli), then legumes (peas, beans), then root crops (carrots, radishes, parsnips), or
- Legumes, then onions and root crops, then tomatoes, and finally brassicas, or
- Root crops, then brassicas, and then all other crops.

Composting and worm farms

All kitchen and garden waste (not meat) should to be added to your compost bin or pile or fed to your worms. When your compost is broken down it can be dug into the garden between each new crop to enrich your soils for your vegetables.

Most Councils sell compost bins and worm farms and provide instructions on how best to get them producing.

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