How Much of a Difference Does the Thermal Mass of a Wall Make for Plants and Trees in Winter?

Warm season vegetables and fruit trees are often grown close to brick, stone and concrete walls facing the midday or afternoon sun. This is because these surfaces act as a thermal mass, heating up during the day, and releasing the heat at night as the temperature drops, keeping the air around the plants a bitContinue reading “How Much of a Difference Does the Thermal Mass of a Wall Make for Plants and Trees in Winter?”

What is the Ideal Soil Depth for Wicking Beds?

Wicking beds are self-watering raised garden beds, that operate on the principle of sub-irrigation. Water stored in a reservoir located at the bottom wicks water upwards to the soil above, watering the plants from below. When constructing wicking beds, it’s important to understand how they operate, and the needs of the plants that will beContinue reading “What is the Ideal Soil Depth for Wicking Beds?”

Plant Biology Basics – Guest Post by Daniel Fuller

Most gardeners get by knowing how much water and fertiliser to put on their tomatoes, and when. But someone that has basic plant biology knowledge just understands plants in a way that’s hard to describe to people that don’t have basic plant biology knowledge. It’s kind of like how some people really know cars. TheyContinue reading “Plant Biology Basics – Guest Post by Daniel Fuller”

Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible?

Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible? Ornamental sweet peas are not edible, they are toxic and should not be eaten! The common sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus is an ornamental leguminous annual climbing plant which is native to southern Italy, and is grown purely for its very fragrant and colourful flowers. Are Sweet Peas and Edible PeasContinue reading “Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible?”

What Are The Best Rocks to Use in Wicking Beds?

One of the questions that many people have when constructing wicking beds is what are the best rocks to use in the water reservoir section underneath. Coarse scoria is the recommended material, but are there any reasonable substitutes? As a bit of background, a wicking bed is a self-watering raised garden bed which works byContinue reading “What Are The Best Rocks to Use in Wicking Beds?”

Permaculture Plants – Australian Indigo, the Nitrogen Fixing Tree for Small Sites, an Alternative to Tagasaste for Urban Gardens

In permaculture, tagasaste (tree lucerne) is used as a nitrogen-fixing tree on large sites and rural properties, but it can grow around 5-7m tall and equally wide, which is way too large for smaller urban properties. Luckily for Australian permaculture gardeners, we have a much smaller nitrogen-fixing tree available which works much better in small-scaleContinue reading “Permaculture Plants – Australian Indigo, the Nitrogen Fixing Tree for Small Sites, an Alternative to Tagasaste for Urban Gardens”

Permaculture Plants – Tagasaste, the Nitrogen Fixing Tree for Large Sites

Permaculture is all about energy-efficient design, and if you can add a single design element to a site that can perform many functions, then that’s an incredible gain in efficiency! A tree that could do almost everything would be incredible, but it doesn’t exist. The next best thing would be a tree that does aContinue reading “Permaculture Plants – Tagasaste, the Nitrogen Fixing Tree for Large Sites”

Should You Tease Out Plant Roots When Transplanting? Garden Mythbusting!

Any gardener who has ever transplanted or repotted plants has seen first-hand how plants that have been grown in pots can sometimes get rootbound, with their roots spiralling or circling around the rootball. This is quite an unnatural way for plant roots to grow, as they normally grow outwards and downwards! Spiralling roots cannot beContinue reading “Should You Tease Out Plant Roots When Transplanting? Garden Mythbusting!”

What is the Ideal Size for a Raised Garden Bed?

What is the optimum size of a garden bed? What is the most efficient width and length in terms of human ergonomics? What is the perfect balance between cost of materials, gardening space and usability? These are important questions in permaculture energy-efficient design. How Wide Should Garden Beds Be? Accessibility is critical in garden design.Continue reading “What is the Ideal Size for a Raised Garden Bed?”

How to Choose the Right Lawn Alternatives

Don’t want a lawn? Lawn alternatives are suitable for low–traffic areas where the plants won’t get trampled on too heavily, or to fill the gaps between pavers. What lawn alternative plants do very well is form a nice thick mat which is quite effective at suppressing weed growth to almost zero. They also provide aContinue reading “How to Choose the Right Lawn Alternatives”

Can You Grow Pistachio Nut Trees?

With the ever-increasing interest in food growing worldwide, many people are trying their hand at growing nut trees with great success. Pistachio nuts are very popular, just about everyone loves them, and it’s inevitable that some gardeners will take interest in growing their very own pistachio nuts – which is a terrible idea! Why? LetContinue reading “Can You Grow Pistachio Nut Trees?”

How to Recognise Praying Mantis Eggs

Praying mantises are a beneficial predator in your garden, they eat other insects and keep the pest insect population down. It’s important to be able to recognise their eggs so that you don’t accidentally damage them, that way you’ll be rewarded with a garden full of little praying mantis nymphs in spring when they allContinue reading “How to Recognise Praying Mantis Eggs”

Lawn Alternatives – Creeping Thyme

Creeping Thyme ‘Coccineus’ growing in my French drain Alternatives to Lawn When is a lawn not a lawn? When it is a lawn alternative – something other than grass! Lawns are everywhere, and for better or for worse they are a deeply ingrained part of our culture. Even though you can grow lawns more sustainably,Continue reading “Lawn Alternatives – Creeping Thyme”