Thursday, February 5, 2015


 By Dave B
With a passion for all things green, Dave will be sharing his journey as an (wannabe) urban farmer. A small 1/2 acre plot of sloping land and 3 wild kids won't hold him back. From planting to harvesting to preserving, Dave is our go-to guy when it comes to the garden. On a large scale, his dream is to raise awareness of the need for reconnection of local people with local food, to benefit the general health and well-being of the community as well as the earth. You can follow his journey more closely over at Blindberry Farm.

If you live anywhere on the east coast of NSW, there's a good chance your garden looks like mine; overgrown, full of produce and slightly out of control.
A busy summer holidays, combined with work, and consistent rain / sun / rain / sun etc. has meant everything is growing like crazy, and I am not not quite keeping up.

We live in a warm sub-tropical zone, so our pumpkins are well into production, cucumbers are nearly finished, tomatoes are growing crazy, summer herbs in full swing and beans are all over the place. And there's still a good 2 - 3 months of summer growing time to go!

With that in mind I thought I'd share what I'll be planting, along with a couple of cool resources that may interest you.


  1. Continue with planting perennial crops wherever possible - this means fruit trees, grasses, edible herbs, berries, edible ground covers to the establishing food forest areas and continued heavy mulching.
  2. Finally, get my contour swales and planting mounds in down the back (I booked in a machine today! Yeehaw!), with tree crops and pasture alleys to follow.
  3. Keep planting flowers (again, as many perennials as possible) to attract beneficial insects, and generally admire. When I started I wasn't big on flowers but I've gone 180 degrees and have even considered using some veg production space for flowers (gasp!).
  4. In the Beetleshack Kitchen Garden, I'll be cleaning out the crops that are finishing up and feeding them to the chooks or compost, then prepping beds for the last summer run of produce. Also I'll be cutting back hard any perennial herbs which are taking over (i.e. most of them).
Annual vegetables that I plan on getting into the garden now are (all planted as seedlings):
 - More Basil (any variety you like)
 - More beans (runner/pole beans and bush varieties)
 - Cape Gooseberries
 - Chillies
 - Leeks
 - Cucumbers
 - Eggplant
 - Tomatoes 
 - Watermelon

A great resource that I love is Gardenate - they have a cheap app and a free email reminder that gives you a list of planting guides suitable for your climate zone. I use it a lot and highly recommend it - their website has a lot of great resources. They have a NZ site too.

And now for a great little outfit based in Victoria; Grown & Gathered is run by Matt & Lentil who grow for sale and trade, vegetables and flowers. They also do heaps of other amazing stuff like preserving, keeping dairy cows, making cheese, and generally being awesome (I've never met them but I think it's a safe bet). Head over to their site for some inspiration - I stop in there regularly for a bit of a pep up when I'm feeling low on inspiration. I believe they also have some workshops lined up for this year, so if you're in the area, why not check out their shop and book in for one?!


  1. Hi Dave, this was a really good post. I was wondering how you protect seedlings from snails and insects so they thrive..and possibly animals, as it looks like you have your garden beds at ground level - something I would like to as opposed to raised beds. I used to have raised beds but am looking at having three or four ground beds in a row. Thanks, Alison

    1. Hi Alison,
      I don't really have a great problem with snails, but I've heard beer traps work well. With other insects I try to ensure that I have good companion plants for whatever I'm growing. I also intercrop white heavily so there's not a single crop that a single insect likes. The idea with all of this is that often pests for one crop are the enemy of pests for another, so they kind of cancel each other out. White moth caterpillars can be a problem for leafy greens and brassicas but there are some good sprays you can make at home to combat this (recipe here:
      There's also the good old labour intensive hand picking off pests - if you keep at it that works well.

      I have raised beds and beds at ground level - I would stick with beds at ground level, but edge boards are definitely helpful.

      My biggest pest problem is brush turkeys scratching up seedlings, possums eating tomatoes, and a resident bandicoot. So far my plan is to eat the turkeys & possums, and put up with the bandicoot. ;-)


    2. Thanks for the info. I have a lot to learn! Cheers Alison

  2. Yay! A post from Dave on the Beetleshack. :) Seriously want to know where you got your cape goosberries!!! My mum left her plants when she sold her home, and now doesn't have any (and I love 'em!). If there is a local supplier around, I'd love to find out. Em has my email.

    1. Hi Sheree,
      I fondly remember picking gooseberries as a kid from a friends garden - they're great! This will be my first season growing them in my own garden.
      I buy mine as seeds from The Diggers Club - you can buy direct from their website, and also join up as a
      member for savings, newsletters etc. if that's your thing. They have a pretty good range, though can be a bit slow to dispatch at times.
      You could also try Eden Seeds, Green Harvest or the Lost Seed Company - I've bought seed from all of them but not sure if they stock Cape Gooseberries.

  3. I HAVE met Matt and Lentil, and they ARE awesome!

  4. Thanks for the link to Grown and Gathered. They are not too far away from where we live.

  5. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث


Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em