Setting up an organic vegetable garden.

By Redlands Organic
Growers Inc




There are no secrets to getting started with gardening organically; it’s just a matter of eliminating chemicals, herbicides or pesticides from your gardening regime. It sounds simple but it’s at the planning analysis stage that you have the best opportunity to make organic principles the foundation of your garden’s design.

This is your opportunity to think about how much time you have to tend to your new project or what resources you can invest. Other things to think about are... what you like to eat, what you want to grow, how much lawn, garden or space are you willing to put under cultivation and can you cope with some insect impacts on your crops?

So if you want to be proactive before any sods are turned, now is the time to look at the foundation of your garden’s health... site planning. We have all heard the saying “people don’t plan to fail, they just fail to plan” and this is most apt when it comes to planning for an organically healthy garden with the optimum sunlight, good drainage, protection from strong winds and/or the creation of habitat for garden allies. It is in an organic garden that all of these elements become paramount as there are no powerful chemicals to stop the bugs chewing or potent powders to instantly change soil makeup.

The article also covers:

  • Site Planning
  • Drainage
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Two
Brick edges to a raised garden.
Simple raised garden.
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Aibika (Abelmoschus manihot) is a hardy perennial vegetable. It is grown for the highly nutritious leaves which are sweet and slightly mucilagous. They are very high in protein, iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium and recent studies have indicated that they are anti-inflammatory, encourage increased bone density and have possible anti-cancer properties. These attributes suggest that this is one vegetable we should all be growing in our gardens and eating on a regular basis.

Widely grown by permaculturists, organic gardeners and Pacific Islanders, Aibika is seldom, if ever, available from garden centres which is a great shame. Luckily it is readily grown from cuttings, which root rapidly during warm and humid weather. If you ask around you are bound to find someone who will share a plant with you.

Five main cultivars seem to be widely grown in Australia:

  • Hardy Aibika
  • Dinner Plate Aibika
  • Ailan Kapis
  • Five Fingered Aibika
  • Wild form
From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Two
Hardy Aibika commonly seen in Australian gardens.
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Paul Plant




Although native to South East Asia the Loquat has long been part of the tropical, subtropical and temperate backyard, offering a bounty of luscious sweet fruit to everyone and anyone who cared to harvest from this popular garden tree. It is not surprising that it is one of the few fruiting trees that have been listed for many decades as a recommended specimen for gardeners in warm climates, and those with sheltered gardens as far south as Melbourne.

Also referred to as the Japanese Medlar, Japanese Plum and Nispero, it is a relative of apples, pears, medlars and even the humble rose – belonging to the family Rosaceae.

The Loquat is a small evergreen tree to around 6m in height. With pruning it can be shaped to reduce the height of the tree and to make harvesting easier. In the garden, prune the lower limbs off to improve access beneath when mowing or tending plants positioned beneath its canopy.

Loquat Jam
1 cup water
3 cups sugar
20 grams fresh ginger, peeled and grated
(or 50g crystalised ginger)
6 cups of loquats (after preparing)

Wash fruit and remove seeds. Place seeds in a muslin bag. Place fruit and bagged seed in water and bring to boil, simmer until fruit are tender.
Add sugar and ginger, remove bag of seed and boil for another 10 minutes, or until setting stage is reached. Bottle in sterilised jars.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Two
Loquat fruit.
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Plum Pine

By the Queensland Bushfood Association
Lead Image
Graeme White

Download the Bushfood Recipe as found on p.63 of STG Issue 20.

Bushfood 22

Download the Tukka Restaurant recipe also – as our special online content only!

Bushfood 22





Podocarpaceae is an ancient family of gymnosperms or cone bearing plants, well established according to fossil records some 135 million years ago during the Miocene period, long before the Australian continent had separated from Gondwanaland.

Of the six species of Podocarpus found in Australia, the one most highly regarded by bushfood enthusiasts for its outstanding culinary potential is the Plum Pine (Podocarpus elatus). This plant is also known as the Brown Pine or Illawarra Plum by foresters, Gidneywallum by the Aborigines of the Sunshine Coast and Daalgaal by the Barron River People.

It is a tall, gracefully resplendent rainforest ‘pine tree’ endemic to eastern Australia from the Illawarra district south of Sydney to Central Queensland. The ‘fruit’ of the Plum Pine is unusual in that the edible portion is actually the swollen fleshy stalk or peduncle. It is about 25mm in diameter resembling a purplish-black plum with a waxy bloom.

From a 2 page Feature Article in Issue Twenty Two
Plum Pine fruit. Image Glenn Leiper.
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