Let’s Talk Vegetables

Story and Photo by Ewa Bekiesch, Certified Permaculture Designer and Educator, QLD Pacific Haven

(This is the article I wrote for our local monthly magazine The Beacon, Issue 2, 2018)

Let’s Talk Vegetables
Based on the new report from the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare, all Australians (99%) aged 2–18, and 9 in 10 adults aged 19 and over do not eat the recommended number of daily serves of vegetables.
The food we eat plays an important role in our health and well-being. Good nutrition contributes to quality of life, helps maintain healthy body weight, protects against infection, and reduces the risk of chronic conditions and premature death. Chronic conditions—often linked with a poor diet—are the major cause of ill health in Australia (Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).
We are so fortunate to have this great climate on the Fraser Coast that growing own vegetables is not a big challenge. Some basic understanding about gardening is enough to have healthy greens and vegetables all year round. It is very rewarding, always fresh, the taste is amazing and… you know what you eat!
All kind of heirloom and organic seeds can be found on the internet or at our local swap group. The local markets are great place to find all sorts of vegetables seedlings and organic fertilizers like mushroom or chicken manure which are essential if you want to grow your own food.
And what to do with the surplus? It can be shared with friends and family or swapped at the local Garden Food Swap in Howard. You can swap all sorts of home grown or home made food, seedlings, seeds and have a good time with like minded. More info on Facebook at: Garden Food Swap Howard And Surrounds.
Edible of the month to plant now: Tomato. Loves half shade and protection from the midday and afternoon sun. It needs a good amount of organic fertilizer like blood and bone, fermented or aged animal manure (fresh one won’t work that well) and some wood ash would be great. It will also be happy about some mulch on top. You can harvest your first tomato in about 6 weeks from when you see the fist flower. Tomatoes are self-pollinating which means that they don’t need bees for pollination and so you can easily protect them with a fine net from the fruit flies and the sun.
Edible of the month ready for harvest now: Cucumbers. Low in calories but high in water and several important vitamins and minerals like Vitamin C, K, Potassium, Magnesium and Fiber. Eating cucumbers with the peel provides the maximum amount of nutrients. Can be eaten fresh, naturally fermented or pickled.
Some other of the many edibles you can plant right now: beans, beetroot, capsicum, carrot, celery, chili, cucumber, eggplant, ginger, luffa, pumpkin, rockmelon, rosella, squash, sweet corn, watermelon, zucchini
Tip for beginners: start with perennial edibles. There is not much you can do wrong and you can harvest your first greens nearly straight away!

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Growing Armenian Cucumber And How They Taste

Also known as ‘Yard Long Cucumber’.  Light-green, ribbed, cylindrical fruit 20-60cm.  Thin, soft skin, so no need for peeling.  Best results when grown on trellis. Armenian cucumber plants prefer to grow in full sun for most of the day. The fruit is most flavorful when it is 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) long. Grows quickly.  This cucumber is actually a melon, but is grown & eaten like a cucumber.
It is the very first time for me to grow and taste the Armenian Cucumber. I am very amazed with this plant and I will add it to my list of regularly grown annuals in our food forest.

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DIY The Best Natural Organic Fertilizer And How To Use It

Once you started to use this fertilizer, you will be amazed about the result! Especially if you don’t have the best and richest soil or you just started with growing veggies, this simple and natural fertilizer will help you to grow the best, strong and healthy veggies.

Tips:

  1. Important! Never put any manure on top of the soil. The manure, especially if not composted long enough, may contain bacteria and pathogens that are harmful to humans, such as salmonella and E. coli. If you put the manure on top of the soil, your plants and produce may get contaminated and you may get sick. The roots need it, not the top of the plant.
  2. The tub where you prepare your fertilizer needs to be water tight so no water can get in or out.
  3. Place the tub in a far corner of your garden where you usually don’t sit. It might smell at the beginning if the lid is not 100% air-tight.
  4. Once you start use this fertilizer, you will be amazed about the result.
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How To Build A Simple Mesh Greenhouse


This video shows how we have built our mesh greenhouse from scratch. To build it, we have used the following materials:
5 slippers 3m x 250mm x 50mm (for the veggie patch walls/edges inside the greenhouse
22 pcs size 4.80m x 70mm x 35mm (for the frames)
12 pcs size 4.8m x 100mm x 12mm (for the veggie patch walls/edges attached to the frame and outside where these two different nets meet.
The net is a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). HDPE is used to make bottles for fruit juice, milk, water and kitchen cleansing products, 50 mesh 80 GSM so totally save for growing veggies. If you are in Australia, you can contact me if you want to buy this mesh.

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