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The interest in organic gardening and permaculture has risen steadily in the past few years. This is due in part to increased awareness about the impacts of synthetic chemicals on food and on our health as well as concern for the environment. For some people, growing their own clean, healthy food is the ultimate in satisfying experiences and to share this bounty with others is a joy (for all parties). I remember my father used to grow so many vegies, we would take excess that could not be frozen, bottled, jammed or pickled to school and to neighbours. They loved our home grown food, even if the carrots did sometimes have 3 ‘legs’ and the broccoli a few aphids.

The recipe for fertile soils goes a little like this…

Essential ingredients
• Soil of any quality and quantity

• Liberal applications of organic matter in the form of composts, compost teas, and any materials that were once living

• Constant soil moisture levels so the beneficial organisms do not dehydrate and so natural chemical actions can take place.

• Oxygen taken into the soil by light cultivation, but also by plant roots, worm and insect holes and atmospheric transfer

• Warmth, but not too much heat to cook your soil.

 
From a 8 page Feature Article in Issue Thirteen
 
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Over the last few years the home vegetable garden has made a sudden and dramatic return. And while it may have once been relegated to the far corner of the garden, the vegetable garden is now taking centre stage close to the kitchen or outdoor dining area.

While many vegetables are highly ornamental and can be grown throughout the garden tucked in among various ornamental plants, it is often easier to locate all the vegetable plants in one place. In general, vegetables require more nutrients, organic matter and water to keep them growing strongly and having them all in one place can make
maintenance easier.

Arno covers the topics of:

1. Locating the vegetable garden
2. Size and layout
3. Raised or level beds
4. Improving the soil
5. Maintaining a regular water supply
6. Nutrients
7. Mulching
8. Shade and support
9. Lighting

 
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirteen
 
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Parents and grandparents, are you concerned about the young kids snacking on sweets, crisps or other highly processed junk foods while they sit indoors watching television or playing video games?

Why not entice them into your backyard to snack on a few fresh nutrient-dense novel fruit they would rarely see that they can discuss with or show-off to their friends. Anecdotal evidence suggests that when kids pick their own fruit (or vegetables) from the backyard they and their friends are more likely to consume that fruit.

The plants discussed below are perfect for growing a natural nutrient and vitamin supplement for kids (and adults) in most backyards. The kid-snacking fruit suggested for most tropical, subtropical and warm temperate backyards are:
• Acerola Cherry (Malpighia glabra)
• Jaboticaba (Myrciaria cauliflora) – and relatives
• Grumichama (Eugenia brasiliensis) – and relatives
• Miracle Fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum)
• Ceylon Hill Gooseberry (Rhodomyrtus tomentosa)

 
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirteen
 
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