the green backyard

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Easy as…

Plant a few seeds….

wait a few weeks…
and voila! You have things you can eat.
Throw in a few backyard chooks, and you have the makings of a whole meal.
I really, really love that I can collect fresh veggies, herbs and eggs from my own backyard and turn them into a meal.
Except the sourdough…but I suppose I could make that myself if I could actually manage to get a decent starter going. But that is a whole other blog post.


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pip magazine

Have you seen pip, the new Australian Permaculture publication?

It is both a beautiful magazine to look at, and  full of fantastic articles on lots of different aspects of Permaculture, including one on how the Permaculture movement began back in the 1970’s. We are about the same age, Permaculture and I.




I was part of the crowd funding campaign to get pip to the printers, so I scored this cute tote bag as well.

Subscribe now to keep the magazine going, and so you don’t miss out on the next issue!


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Where do you buy your seeds?

I am sure that some of you will agree with me that looking through seed catalogues is one of the most fun things ever. Along with buying seeds, opening packages containing new seeds, and planting new seeds.

ImageI have been buying my seeds from Diggers for a long time, I particularly like their tomato, capsicum and eggplant varieties. I have also bought from Eden Seeds, and just the ones you can grab in the supermarket while shopping for toilet paper, like Yates and Mr Fothergills. I even bought seed potatoes from Big W last year. I can’t say I have ever been majorly disappointed in any seeds I have bought, well not that I can remember anyway.

I do find though, that some online companies can be a little slow in getting your order to you, so I was very excited when I ordered some garlic and seeds from Green Harvest last week to see that only a few hours after I had placed my order, it had been dispatched! What great service, perfect for somebody as impatient as me.


I am growing Broad Beans for the first time this year.


And also garlic. I went for the ‘Italian White’ and ‘Red Rocambole’ varieties.


And some ‘Clucker Tucker’ for the chooks. This is a mix of greens like clover, buckwheat, linseed, lucerne etc.. I hope they like it.


I am really interested to know where other people buy their seed and plants from?

Do you save much seed yourself each season?





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This blog has been pretty quiet.


But the garden has kept on growing.

The chooks have kept on laying.

And my little garden helper has headed off to big school. I now have all four at school. I thought this day would never come.

At the risk of becoming bored, I enrolled in an Ag Science degree at Uni. Full time. Sounds like fun right?

But what I failed to realise was that an ‘Ag Science’ degree was in fact very much like a ‘Science’ degree, and that would invole doing very sciency things like CHEMISTRY. What was I thinking?

So I have now switched to a part time load (without chemistry for now), and I feel like I can breathe and do a little bit more of this.


Instead of this…..


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Not like the movies….

If my backyard were a movie, it would be healthy, abundant and pest free.
The reality is somewhat different, unfortunately.

Scene 1: Capsicums rotting on the vine.

I have diagnosed fruit fly, and Josh Burns has advised me (through his latest book ‘Small Space Organics’) that nothing can be done other than to remove them all and feed them to the chooks, lest the larvae burrow into the soil ready to hatch next season. I may be able to set a trap and save any future fruit.

This is a 4 litre tin and I am only just getting started. Sniff.

Scene 2: The chooks who look like nobody loves them.

I don’t know what is going on with these girls, but they look TERRIBLE. I’m mortified every time somebody sees them.
Are they moulting? Are they bored/sick/stressed/mite infested?
They are all laying every single day without fail, so probably not sick. We can’t see any evidence of mites on them, or the coop, but have treated them anyway.
Chook whisperer needed here.

But at least they have fruit fly infested capsicums to munch on.

Scene 3: The husband who won’t follow the rules.

I have devised a crop rotation plan to try and keep the soil healthy, and cut down on pests.

Dave has already come to me saying, “I know this bed is for ABC, but is it OK if I plant some XYZ in it now???….”.
I feel the crop rotation plan is doomed to failure.


I grew potatoes!

A minor miracle for many reasons.
 1. These came from the very last seed potatoes left in Sydney, I swear, found in Big W of all places.

2. I planted them pretty late.

3. They did not get watered nearly enough.
 We have eaten some already, smothered in butter and Maldon sea salt, and they taste wonderful, all fresh and miraculous!
 Do you have potatoes growing?


Orchard Update

Remember when the citrus orchard looked like this?


The pathetic looking trees?

The piles of clay?

The lack of flowering and fruiting?

Well today it looks like this!


There is fruit on the trees, both Citrus and Guavas. The companion herbs and flowers are flourishing; mostly Chives, Borage and Nasturtiums.

That Borage is amazing stuff. It brings the bees like nothing I have ever seen. When it gets too huge we pull it out, by which time it has self-seeded and more baby borage plants have started popping up.

There are also pumpkin, rockmelon and watermelon plants getting going, acting as living mulch in this hot NW Sydney summer we are having.

What a difference!


I won’t show you the less flattering parts of the garden right now.

The poorly staked tomatoes flip-flopping around everywhere, the capsicums rotting on the bush before we get a chance to eat them, and the scale creatures covering my chinese tallow tree.


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