Growing your own tomatoes can be both rewarding and challenging. The subtropics and warm climates allow year round production of tomatoes but also offer the organic gardener a suite of challenges. We know they are one of our favourite fruits to grow, but many people find them a big challenge. This article tackles the tricks to a great organic tomato crop?

First, begin with your soil. As tomatoes are heavy feeders, you need a fertile soil or regular applications of fertilisers through the growing period. Organic matter from a green manure crop such as soy in warm seasons, dug into the soil before the tomatoes are planted, will help to improve fertility and water holding capacity.

This article also goes into pest and diseases, plant hygiene and plant nutrients.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Fourteen




There are two types of vegetables we can grow:

  • annual types – grown afresh from seed each season
  • perennial types – planted once and can be harvested from over many years.

Annual vegetables need to be grown without setback. If they dry out, are subject to undue stress from heat or storms, lack available nutrients or are subject to pests or diseases, they may bolt (go to seed), turn coarse and bitter or generally fail to perform. For no apparent reason, in some years certain crops do well and then other years grow poorly. Long term vegetable gardeners learn to take the good with the bad, but disappointments can be heartbreaking for beginners.
Perennial vegetables are a little more forgiving. If their needs are not met (perhaps you are away on holidays and they dry out), they can be resurrected with a bit of extra attention. Many vegetable gardeners grow these plants in beds around the main vegetable growing area.
This article provides lists for the following:
  • Hardy perennial vegetables
  • Hardy perennial root crops
  • Some hardy herbs to grow amongst the vegetables
  • Annual vegetable seedlings to try
  • Some easy vegetable seeds to start in trays or pots
  • Some easy vegetable seeds to sow in the ground
  • Some vegetables and herbs that reseed in the vegetable garden

Also covered are:
  • Crop rotation
  • Plant and storing local vegetable seeds
  • List of relevant organisations

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Fourteen




It has become increasingly important for adults and children to have a broad range of fresh fruit, nuts and vegetables in our diets. These foods should be fresh, nutritionally dense and wherever possible eaten raw. Reflect a little on your family's food intake and ask yourself what is eaten in its raw state. Unfortunately the answer for too many of us and our children especially, is very little as most food is cooked or processed.

The huge surge in vitamin and specialty juice sales indicates a heightened awareness of the need for diet supplementation. However many supplements are synthetic and highly processed and are therefore a poor substitute for fresh raw fruit and vegetables. Eaten from your own backyard, fresh fruit provides a health boost from the combined synergy of the complex compounds containing vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, amino-acids, oils and soluble fibre.

This article covers the following fruit plants:

  • Strawberry Guava – Psidium cattleianum var. cattleianum
  • Yellow Cherry Guava – Psidium cattleianum var. cattleianum
    forma lucidum (syn. Psidium littorale var. littorale)
  • Capulin Cherry / Tropic Cherry – Prunus serotina subsp. capuli
    syn. Prunus salicifolia)
  • Panama Berry – Muntingia calabura
  • Cape Gooseberry – Physalis peruviana (syn. Physalis edulis)
  • Ground Cherry, Cossack Pineapple, Aunt Molly Ground Cherry
    Physalis pruinosa
  • Mysore Raspberry / Ceylon Raspberry – Rubus niveus
  • Yellow Fruited Raspberry – Rubus ellipticus
  • Atherton Raspberry – Rubus fraxinifolius
From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Fourteen


Download the recipe for this article here...




James Backhouse, naturalist and Quaker missionary, came to the Moreton Bay district in the 1830s with a well developed interest in the Australian flora. A caring man, he devoted his time to working amongst convicts and aborigines. This association with the aboriginal people gave him the opportunity to observe and record their use of local plant species. During his time in Australia, his extensive collection of botanical specimens and recorded observations earned him the distinction of having a genus of the Myrtaceae family named in his honour.

The small genus of Backhousia includes seven species, all endemic to Australia. They are bushy plants which produce large clusters of white flowers. Most species have pleasantly aromatic foliage, two of which are preeminent for their outstanding qualities as essential oils and culinary herbs. These two species are the Lemon-scented Myrtle (Backhousia citriodora) and Aniseed Myrtle (Syzygium anisatum, previously Backhousia anisata).

Another two species worth a mention are Cinnamon Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia) which is occasionally called Carol and the Curry Myrtle (Backhousia angustifolia); both of which are also worthy of a bit of experimentation in the kitchen.


From a 3 page Feature Article in Issue Fourteen




Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) is a great addition to the subtropical vegetable garden. Each plant forms a large multi-stemmed clump that produces new stems (spears) on an almost daily basis throughout the growing season (spring into autumn). Picking the young spears can begin as soon as they reach about 12-16cm long. You are in for a treat as fresh asparagus tastes nothing like the tired, limp and fibrous spears sold in the shops.

Asparagus is easiest to grow in subtropical and temperate climates. However it is grown commercially in North Queensland and tropical areas around the world for out-of-season shoots. Lacking a cool winter to induce dormancy, the plants are allowed to dry out slightly. This technique can be used by home growers in their own gardens.

It is easiest [and quickest] to establish asparagus from a crown. If grown from seed it can take 3 years to produce edible spears as the plant depends for growth on food stored in its root system.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Fourteen


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