5 tips for a sustainable vegie garden


Phil Dudman gives you five easy tips to a sustainable vegie patch.


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Phil Dudman 'The Garden Guru' is a gardening writer and broadcaster based in the fertile subtropical region of northern New South Wales. G asked him for his five easy tips to building and maintaining your own thriving sustainable vegetable patch.

1. Position: “If you are growing food, you need to have the right spots in the garden, so you need a spot that’s got plenty of sun, and good protection from wind to grow good vegies and grow them well.”

2. Raised garden beds: “I think if you’re going to grow vegies seriously you need to build raised beds because vegetables demand really good drainage to grow well, so that’s an important thing.”

3. Feed the soil: “If you want to grow good food you’ve got to really put in lots of compost and manure, because they’re the best soil improvers about. But if you have healthy soil you’re going to have healthy vegetables. And you should also make your own compost, because it’s easy to do, it’s free and it’s the best stuff you can have. It’s very important for a sustainable vegie patch.”

4. Mulch your garden: “Always maintain a good cover of mulch on your garden because it not only reduces work as far as weeds and that type of thing are concerned, but it also helps to hold moisture in the soil. In fact, a good cover of mulch will reduce soil evaporation about 80 per cent, so you’re saving a lot of water that way and that’s really important for a sustainable vegie patch.”

5. Friends and foes: “Get to know the friends and foes in the garden. Know what insects are the good guys, and also get to know the ones that are the pests. Learn the organic strategies to deal with all the different pests. And really if you check your vegie patch regularly you can pretty much squash most pests or remove them by hand before they become a real problem – so that means no spraying, which is a good thing to do for a sustainable garden.”

This weekend, you can catch Phil at Regional Flavours, South Bank in Brisbane’s signature food and sustainability event showcasing the best of regional QLD produce with a focus on living sustainably in a city – now in its third year.