On Our Half Acre Garden living sustainability begins in our kitchen. We have a 6 tub recycling system which includes bins for the worm farms, compost, soft plastics, recycling (for council pickup), cash back returns and an ‘anything that can’t be recycled’ bin.
Most of our vege and fruit waste goes into our two worm farms which produce delightful ‘worm wee’ and ‘castings’ which are added to the soil in the food garden. Any non-worm farm compatible waste and garden trimmings are added to our 4 bay composting system.
We also add to the compost system lawn clippings, chook poo, horse poo and any other garden cuttings and tree prunings which are put through our heavy duty mulcher. The mulcher has been an extremely worthwhile investment allowing us to utilise all garden waste. Very little leaves our half acre!
We have a small shade house where we raise our vege seedlings and also seedlings propagated from our rainforest trees and plants. This season we needed to construct a critter proof vege seedling ‘house’ as the bugs were particularly voracious eating our first lot of seedlings before we could plant them out!
Our garden has a large bed (6m x 3m) that we use for sweet potatoes and pumpkins which is bordered by the asparagus bed. We have 5 beds (4m x 1m) that we use for rotational planting and a bed (6m x 3m) which has a fruit fly proof netting enclosure for susceptible crops such as brassicas and capsicum.
All our food is organically grown with no toxic sprays used.
We have utilised 2 sets of old concrete tubs for vege growing. They are ideal for small crops and at present we have them filled with a lettuce mix (we pick the leaves as we need them), tomatoes and shallots.
At present we have the following growing in our enclosed bed: broccoli, cauliflower, capsicum, wombok, heirloom spinach, curly kale and baby spinach. In our long beds are: beetroot, eggplants, choggia, carrots, giant spinach, bokchoy, cucumbers, zucchini, chillies, tomatoes, garlic, onions and leeks. In the large bed we have: sweet potatoes, snow peas, peas, cos lettuce, lemongrass, strawberries and pepinos.
Three of our beds are dedicated to growing strawberries, blueberries and pineapples.
Throughout the beds we also
have planted various culinary herbs such as rosemary, basil, parsley,
coriander, thyme, oregano, sage.
We have had a hive of native bees (Tetragonula carbonaria) for 12 years and have split the hive once. We have added some flowering plants and bulbs to attract the honey bees so they can assist the native bees with pollination.
As well as our vege beds we have quite a range of fruiting food trees: lemon, tangelo, Bowen mango, mandarin, orange, pawpaw, avocado, loquat, manzanilla Olive, macadamia, fig, lichee, mulberry, dragon fruit, coffee, tropical apple, Tahitian lime, kafir lime and the next door neighbours’ rampant choko vine
Add to that are a few native food trees - tamarind, Davidson’s plum, finger lime midyim and the useful lemon Myrtle which grow in our rainforest pockets along with a wide variety of plant species and a good patch of edible ginger.
All our gardens are watered from our tank system - 4 tanks, which collect the water from our house and our 2 outbuildings. They provide us with 32,500 litres when full. We did run out of water during the drought - you can never have a big enough tank!
All structures in the food garden are constructed using pre-loved materials continuing with our ongoing aim of living sustainability.
We have lived in Our Half Acre Garden for about 12 years. We started with a blank canvas and it has been a real pleasure to create such an oasis, a combination of food garden and habitat garden where we now have a huge number of birds nesting and wild critters finding a safe haven in suburbia.
During the current Covid-19 pandemic it certainly has been our saviour as we spend our time planting, weeding, playing in the dirt and enjoying our bounty.
It’s so easy to create what we have in our half acre. You don’t need a lot of land, you just need a little patience, some spare time and a lot of love. Why don’t you give it a go too!
You can catch up with us on Instagram - ourhalfacregarden
- Lynette Eggins & Brent Wilson