Food Forest

A sustainable lifestyle website wouldn’t be complete without a section on the garden. But we’ve called our garden category The Food Forest in honour of the permaculture design concept of the same name. The backyard food forest contains more than food – there’s space to live and play, space for wildlife, and maybe even pets – but inherent in the idea is the sense that the food part of the design is not limited to a small, discrete vegetable plot at the bottom of the garden. This garden is filled with food, for wildlife and people alike.

There are fast growing fruit trees espaliered along fence lines, evergreen Warrigal (New Zealand spinach), interspersed with other understory plants, blueberry bushes in tubs, rambling pumpkins trailing over shrubs and perhaps the front lawn. There may be chickens (chooks, in the Australian venacular) wandering around, or carefully placed in portable chook domes, a la Linda Woodrow. Or perhaps there’s a beehive or frog pond or worm farm, or all four sets of helpful workers inhabiting the garden.

Of course, a sustainable home doesn’t have to base it’s garden design around permaculture, but it’s certainaly a good place to start.

Growing Popular Water-Loving Herbs in Pots

Mint growing in a pot with some lovage struggling in the middle

Following on from Growing A Container Herb Garden, here is some more specific information about growing particular herbs.  The following  herbs all like similarly moist conditions, so could be grouped together in pots, or grown in the same container – though it is probably advisable to grow mint in its own pot, as it is…

Growing a Container Herb Garden

large painted ceramic pots containing mint, oregano, lovage, thyme and lettuce.

Container herb gardens really are the business.  Wherever you live in the world you can take account of your climate and your cooking needs, and get together suitable edible plants in one place, ideally within easy reach of your kitchen.  A container herb garden is quite simply a collection of herbs in one container, or…

Vertical Vegetable Gardening Ideas

Gutter-gardens-image-by-Sarah-G

Vertical gardening is just plain trendy right now, and it’s definitely a trend worth considering.   If you’re green as well as green fingered (and I’m guessing as you’re on Sustainable Suburbia that’ll be about right!) this method of food growing will suit you (up and) down to the ground. The carbon footprint of this type…

Where to Buy Blueberry Bushes

potted blueberry bush covered in fruit

So many people come to our article on Growing Blueberry Bushes, when they really want to buy the plants, that I thought I would add in this short article to tell you where to buy them online. As with most plants, the best place to buy your blueberry bushes is often your local nursery. They…

Vegetable Gardening Basics: How to Grow Peas

Peas grow on a trellis - seen from above

Peas come in such a wonderful variety which makes growing them a rewarding and fun thing to do.  They grow in a wide range of conditions and like many vegetables, need good rich improved soil and full sun. They are grown in the cooler months and also throughout spring which gives a good cropping period.…

Growing Tomatoes in Pots

Tomatoes Garlic Basil - The Simple Pleasures of Growing and Cooking Your Garden's Most Versatile Veggies, By Doug Oster

No food grower’s garden is worth its salt without a glorious bounty of tomatoes, and they taste even better with a pinch of salt!  This is ironic, as botanically a tomato is a fruit – ie a seed bearing ovary.  More commonly used as a vegetable, tomatoes are a mainstay of savoury dishes around the…

How to Grow Excellent Rhubarb

harvested rhubarb stalks

Although rhubarb looks like psychedelic celery, its striking bushy green foliage against its purple-red stems is a bright addition to the veggie patch or wherever you decide to plant it.  Rhubarb is easy to grow and can be grown from crowns or seeds.  By choosing crowns, which are a fleshy bundle of roots,  you can…

Organic Vegetable Gardening For Beginners

Gardening Australia: Home Vegetable Garden the Complete Guide to Organic Vegetable Gardening, by Annette McFarlane.

Growing your own food is not only self-satisfying and rewarding, but it also provides food security. Using organic methods to grow food ensures that it is free from chemicals and contributes to a healthy environment. Organic gardening nurtures ecosystems and maintains the health of the soil, insects, water and people in the environment. With the…

How to Grow Raspberry Bushes in Your Garden

Small twig of six ripe raspberries

In a miracle of nature, luscious raspberries grow on bramble bushes, belonging to the genus ‘rubus’.  This is in the rose family, and includes other fruit bearing plants, such as the blackberry. Like roses, raspberries are fragrant and beautiful, and come in a range of colours –  from bright red  through to purple and black.…

Choosing Fruit Trees for Small Gardens

apple tree by Kirsten McCulloch

It is no great surprise that most of us love the notion of large orchards set with plump, sun-kissed fruit and the delights they bring us; however, with plots of land getting smaller, orchards are often more of a dream than a reality. Fortunately, we can enjoy delectable fruits from the smallest of yards or…

Perennial Vegetables: Growing Asparagus

a bunch of asparagus spears, tied with a string

Editors note: Between this article and reading Barbara Kingsolver’s discussion of asparagus in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, A Year of Food Life, I am determined that I will be growing asparagus in my garden very soon!  If you like Asparagus, you are not alone. It may surprise you though, to know that you will be eating…

GuestPost: The LED Grow Light Advantage

So you want to start that vegetable garden, but your climate is too cold to get our seedlings going outside in good time? So you need to start your plants inside, or in a green house perhaps. But you don’t have a green house and you don’t have a sunny windowsill to grow them on…