Organic Nutrients




As gardeners we are all aware of the importance of nitrogen for leaves and potassium for flowers. But there is much more to this story in what the nutrient elements do, how they interact and what organic products provide them.

Typically to grow a plant most gardeners think of nitrogen (N), phosphorus
(P) and potassium (K). It is true that these are the most important, but by far are not the only nutrients essential for plant health and growth. Without these other lesser-recognised nutrients, few plants will flower, produce fruit or seed, or even be capable of resisting pests and diseases. A good gardener appreciates the need that all nutrient elements are provided to plants.

An important item to note is that all plants tend to take up nutrients when the elements are converted to their ionic forms (a chemical state of structure). In reality, what this means is that even ‘organic fertilisers’
must be converted to ‘inorganic ions’ before the plants can absorb the nutrients.

Does this mean organic fertilisers are superfluous? No. What it means is that although plants take up the inorganic ‘ion’, the addition of the ‘organic’ source material is providing a secondary benefit to the soil - enhanced organic matter and humus that greatly improves the physical and chemical nature of the soil such as soil pH, buffering capacity and soil structure whilst providing a slow-release fertiliser source. The use of ‘organic’ soil improvers aids the culture of earthworms and soil-borne beneficial micro-organisms.

The article includes a table that summarises nutrient elements identified as being important for plant growth.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen
Design of Efficient Food Gardens - the Permaculture Way
By the Northey Street City Farm




Permaculture is many things to many people, but at its very core it is
the deliberate design of sustainable human systems. Well designed permaculture properties allow us to reduce our environmental footprint through developing efficient, productive food gardens and sharing the surplus among friends and family.

They use appropriate technology, are accommodating to wildlife and help build strong local communities. There is even space for building incomes around sustainable, organically-grown cash crops.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen
Northey Street City Farm is established on four hectares (about 10 acres) in Windsor, Brisbane


The below item complements this article read in the current issue:

Additional Rosella recipes (p. 55)




The summer just past has been a great season for the Rosella and many
people have had bumper crops. Whilst it is a bit late to start growing them now in most parts of Australia, you can locate seeds and plan for the coming season’s crop.

While many people refer to rosella as a fruit, we actually eat the fleshy calyx of the flower. Inside this fleshy covering is the dry pod of seeds.
The succulent calyx is translucent and deep crimson to bright red in colour appearing stunning on the bush with the sun shining on them. Rosella is a hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) and creamy yellow hibiscus flowers add to the attractiveness of the bush in the garden.

The article covers growing Rosella and picking their fruit also.

From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen
Hibiscus sabdariffa
Hibiscus sabdariffa leaves in Asian market
More Snack Fruits For Kids




We continue this informative series, covering the following fruit plants:

  • Pitomba (Eugenia luschnathiana)
  • Cherry of the Rio Grande (Eugenia aggregata)
  • Brazilian Cherry, Surinam Cherry, Pitanga (Eugenia uniflora)
  • Cedar Bay Cherry (Eugenia reinwardtiana)
  • Camu Camu (Myrciaria dubia syn. M. paraensis)
  • Rumberry (Myrciaria floribunda)


From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen
Cherry of the Rio Grande
Cedar Bay Cherry
Sandpaper Figs

Additional images by:
John & Mary King
and John Wrench


Download the recipe for this article here...




It doesn’t take a botanist to identify a sandpaper fig, anyone could do it
blindfolded, due to the character-istic texture of the leaves that gives their common name. Though the leaves of the sandpaper figs can vary considerably in shape, size and texture, it does take someone with a reasonable knowledge to distinguish between the different species.

The ‘fruit’ of the majority of the native figs are edible and palatable to varying degrees. The fruit of a few, however, compare very favorably to the flavour of the domestic, cultivated fig, Ficus carica. The fig is not a true fruit, but a ‘syconium’ to use the correct botanical term. A true fruit develops from the ovary of a pollinated flower, whereas the fig is a fleshy receptacle containing the flowers that have been pollinated by tiny specialised wasps. An aboriginal name for the native fig is Ke-ril.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen
Ficus opposita fruit
Fig Jellies with Fig Cream Sauce
So you want to keep chooks?




We are now seeing a revival in some of these traditions. Many people
are returning to ’The Good Life‘. Sustainability is the word of moment, being organic, being green, reducing our carbon footprint. We hear these things everyday and with the rising cost of fresh fruit, vegetables and produce we are seeing a lot more people learning how to grow their own. So why not produce your own eggs too?

Once you have decided to keep chooks there are a few things you need to consider.

This is just a brief overview:

  • Council regulations
  • Housing
  • Food and water
  • Chicken husbandry and health
  • Which breed?
From a 1 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen
Chickens need to be fed well to lay well
Urban Turkey - in a garden near you!


The below item complements this article read in the current issue:

Additional information on the urban turkey (p. 63)




The urban turkey is becoming a familiar sight in many gardens. The urban turkey is a much larger and stockier version of the Brush Turkey (Bush Turkey, Scrub Turkey, Wild Turkey, Alectura lathami), but has adopted the streets and gardens of our suburbs and is rapidly increasing in numbers and range.

Gardening with urban turkeys
Many people deal with urban turkeys quite simply – they eat the vegetables and we eat the turkey. This may seem like just retribution, however it is currently illegal to kill or trap these birds without a licence from the Queensland Government.

From a 1 page Feature Article in Issue Fifteen


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