Grow Your Own, Make Your Own

a journey of discovery

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Announcing: Permaculture Teacher Training this August



Life seems to move like the ocean, with ebb and flow. Things come in waves and sometimes you feel like you might drown as it all comes tumbling in around you. But then the water recedes, you pick yourself up and get yourself ready for the next wave, saying “this time I’ll jump up before the wave breaks over me! Or I’ll catch it and ride it into shore!”.

Does anyone else ever feel this way?

I haven’t written on here for a while. I’m still tumbling about in the wave, trying to work out which way is up. But I can feel the water starting to recede.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still happy and hopeful! I’m just learning to recognise the rhythms of life so that I can start to catch the waves rather than drown in them! So while I try to catch my breath, my little blog will have to wait a moment.

See you soon!

PS. Here’s a picture of my foster elephant Barsalinga, just because. He is being fostered through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. He’s two weeks older than my son (they both just turned 2!). Cute isn’t he? 🙂


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How to choose what to plant

It is Autumn here is Australia so I am in the process of choosing winter crops to plant. I have set aside a weekend in my calendar to do this. If I don’t book it in my calendar, the weeks drift by until it’s too late and too cold to plant a good selection. So I’m going to try and get myself organised well beforehand so that on planting day – I’ll have everything ready to go.

I have used a couple of different resources to help me choose, including the following:

The Diggers Club book “The Australian Fruit & Vegetable Garden: grow the best fruit and vegetables for good health and flavour” has great information on climates, growing instructions, organic gardening, garden basics and planning what to plant where. There is also sections on vegetables, herbs, fruit trees, nuts, fruiting shrubs, berries and climbers. It is a comprehensive guide in an easy to read format.

The ABC Gardening Australia app “Vegie Guide” is awesome. It has 4 sections: Nursery, Patch, Facts and Info. You can select your growing zone (I’m in the Arid growing zone) and the month you want to plant. Then you can select which vegies you are planting and it will track the growth of your plants in the Patch section and tell you when they are ready for harvest. Great for a novice like me!

You can also find out information about each plant (in the Nursery section) including possible problems, ideal pH levels, and planting information.

The Facts section provides very simple e-factsheets about Soil Health, Plant Health, Getting Started and Trouble Shooting.

The Info section provides the instructions on using the app and an opportunity to provide feedback.

I intend to use this app for the winter season as I am really only starting out and need as much guidance as I can get. It is helpful to have this tailored to my area, the crops I’ve chosen and to have it all at my fingertips.

I also subscribe to several websites and blogs including Milkwood and Milkwood provide very informative articles about all things permaculture and have a particularly good article on testing your soil’s pH here. send me monthly planting reminders set for my growing zone. Through these reminder emails I can click on particular vegetable and gain more information about them.

So… using all of these resources I have decided to plant:

  • broccoli,
  • kale,
  • lemon thyme,
  • spinach,
  • snow peas,
  • radish

and I’ve decided to plant from seedling. I’ve tried seeds before and have had variable results leaning more towards the “not very successful” end of the spectrum!

My vegie patch is not really ideal but it’s the best spot I can get. It is a little too shaded so I’m going to have to work out the right configuration for these guys so that they all get enough sun. I’ve already got sage and parsley growing – they are both happy and can sometimes get a little out of control so I’ll be pulling their reigns in a bit this winter.

Woo hoo! I’m excited! I’m looking forward to getting my seedlings and planting them out!

PS. I have not received any income, discounts or kudos for mentioning the above resources. I’m just sharing what I have used in an effort to help others who might be looking for good resources.