Garden toast is something I created one day when I was scraping together something for lunch and all I had was a crust and some cottage cheese in the fridge. I didn’t have any avocado, eggs or anything special to have with it. So I went out into the garden and found some inspiration! I picked two small tomatoes, herbs and edible flowers. It looked like a mini garden on toast and now I can’t stop making these beautiful, tasty creations!
Here are the creations I have made so far..
Original Garden Toast
My first addition with the last piece of bread I had left! I had fun making this and it definitely tasted delicious! Ingredients: Rye Multigrain toast, Cottage Cheese, Fresh tomato, Parsley, Rosemary, Rosemary flowers, Zinnia Petals and Basil leaves.
Fairy Garden Toast
It’s amazing what a little bit of Beetroot juice can do! Natual colouring and plenty of beneficial nutrients with an array of micro herbs and greens. You may even be able to convince your kids to eat more greens with this Fairy Garden toast. Get them involved in the process by having a bowl each to go outside and collect herbs. Ingredients: White Multigrain Toast, Cottage Cheese mixed with beetroot juice or fresh grated Beetroot, Baby Nasturtium leaves, Parsley leaves, Basil leaves, Sweet Violet flowers, Rosemary Flowers, Baby Pink chard leaves, Pink Zinnia Flower petals and Dill Flowers.
Jungle Garden Toast
Packed full of herbs and flavour! Ingredients: Country Grain Toast, Basil Pesto, Orange Nasturtium petals, Tiger Eye Viola Petals, Strawberry Flowers, Parsley leaves, Rosemary Flowers, Pea tendril, Burgundy Marigold Petals and Purple basil leaves.
Summer Garden Toast
Summer on toast! Homegrown tomatoes are so sweet and delicious and tomato on toast is one of my favourite ways to eat them! Ingredients: Rye Multigrain toast, Red, yellow, orange cherry tomatoes, Purslane, Red basil leaves, Strawberry Flower, Sweet Violet Flower, Dill flowers, Rosemary Flowers, chopped Purple Kale, baby Nasturtium leaves and Fresh Chilli.
Botanical Garden Toast
Pest on toast is so delicious! I made extra pesto and if you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that I ate this for breakfast for an entire week! It was also so good with a poached egg on top. Ingredients: Sourdough toast, Basil pesto, Cottage Cheese, Chopped walnuts, Fresh Chilli, Basil Leaves, Fennel Flowers, Pink and White Dianthus, Baby Pumpkin Tendrils, Parsley Leaves and Strawberry Flowers.
Unicorn Garden Toast
My latest creation and maybe my favourite yet! Purple sweet potato spread is a vibe! Ingredients: Sourdough Toast, Mashed Purple Sweet Potato and Cottage Cheese, Overnight Pickled Red Cabbage and Red Onion (1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, a teaspoon of sugar heated to dissolve. Pour cooled liquid over Cabbage and Onion), Purple Kale, Grilled Baby Eggplant, Purple Pansy, Multicoloured Dianthus, Rosemary Flowers and Red Basil.
Get Inspired by your Garden
There is always something in my garden to make a toast topping and I love how easy and creative it is! Each piece is so unique and full of fresh garden nutrients! Having these ideas tried and tested means I know I can always whip up something even when my fridge is looking very lean.
Get creative and inspired by your own garden. There is something so satisfying about being able to walk outside and make a meal from your own fresh, homegrown veggies. This is a great meal idea for beginner gardeners who don’t have many established edibles. Just look out for baby leaves and edible flowers (make sure you research and clearly identify they are edible). Baby leaves and flowers can add subtle flavours and turn any dish into a work of art!
I wrote this post before the current restrictions of lockdown were in place for many people but hopefully, you can still find useful information and inspiration to get you started on your journey to a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
There is no better time to start growing your own food than NOW. Creating your own food security and using your time to help create a greener world is win-win. I have always had the dream of growing my own food and living a more sustainable lifestyle and it is something that I have been continually building and working towards for years. I don’t want to be 100% self-sufficient because there are just some things I either won’t be able to grow or choose not to grow. But there are plenty of ways to supplement my homegrown food supply such as trading, swapping, and local farmers markets. I have put together (in no particular order) 18 simple ways you can start living a more self-sufficient lifestyle today.
1. Start a Herb Garden
No matter whether you have a big garden or live in a tiny apartment, growing herbs can be easy and takes up very little space. Grow in small pots, recycled containers, hanging planter or windowsill planters. If you like to use herbs it is a great first step towards self-sufficiency. And no, that does not mean buying those packed herb pots from the supermarket…. they are often grown hydroponically and then placed in the soil so they rarely survive long and don’t handle being planted out into real life. Get a packet of seeds and try growing your own 🙂
2. Start a Vegetable Patch
The best way to learn how to grow vegetables is to simply start trying! Start small with either a planter box or convert one small patch of your garden or even driveway into an edible vegetable patch. You can also start by simply integrating edibles amongst your established garden. Once you start growing some things you can start expanding bit by bit. Goodbye grass 🙂
3. Plant Fruit Trees
I love fruit trees because although they take a while to get going, once they do, they are abundant and don’t require as much care as vegetables. You can plant them in either a large pot or directly into the garden. I would recommend going to a local specialist fruit tree nursery so they can help you choose the best fruit tree for your location. Also, make sure you get something with fruit you actually enjoy! With the abundant produce you can then preserve, swap and trade with others!
4. Grow Base Crops
I couldn’t think what else to call them but growing crops that will feed you for longer and create a good base to fill your pantry. Crops such a Pumpkins, Potatoes, Onions, Garlic and Sweet potatoes will provide decent amounts of food that you can store and use throughout the year! A great base vegetable to feed a family.
5. Grow Soil
Composting is not only great for the fertility of your soil and the secret to AMAZING vegetables but also stops waste going to landfill. There are a whole bunch of ways to do this depending on your living situation. You can make your own compost bin out of recycled wood, find a second-hand tumbler online or purchase one. You can also simply dig a hole in the garden and bury it (be careful of attracting pests though). There are also some new ways for people with no land to connect with others that do and give them your compost scraps. Either community gardens, local Facebook groups or now in Australia there is even an app! Sharewaste
6. Save Seeds
This is just as important as growing food and will be a huge step towards your self-sufficient journey. Saving seeds helps you maintain food security knowing that you have more healthy seeds to grow next year. Save seeds from your healthiest plants that thrive in your garden. Keep them in a dry dark place.
7. Grow Community
Get your friends involved! Take them over a basket of homegrown food or preserves. Once they see your delicious fresh food they may also get inspired! Help them out with seeds, cuttings and surround yourself with like-minded people. Community gardens can be a great place to learn, get involved and even seed/ produce swap. It can be an amazing network of knowledge, especially in relation to your local climate and growing conditions. There are also some great social media forums and groups that are great for finding answers to your questions and local knowledge.
8. Shop Local
Explore your local farmer’s markets! Grab a friend and go have a browse! They are usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I look forward to it every week. Although I love my local farmers market (Kalamunda) every few months I like to check out other farmers markets to mix things up and find new and interesting produce. Bulk food stores have been making a come back and I am sold! Lucky for me there is a fantastic Bulk Store ( Replenish Kalamunda) right by my local farmer’s markets. So I head there straight after I have picked up some fresh veggies. They may seem daunting at first but there are always plenty of signs explaining how to do it. I also love how each product clearly states where they have come from as I try to only choose Australian products.
9. Learn to Cook from Scratch
This is a big one! Learning to cook a wide range of meals from scratch using simple ingredients is key! I mean we can all make a butter chicken right…you just get the sauce and pour it in… Ditch the sauces from the supermarket and learn to make your own. I am constantly experimenting and expanding my knowledge so I can make a wide selection of meals from the produce I grow. Try to buy vegetables that are in season and fruits and vegetables that you are planning to grow. That way you can practice and become a pro at recipes for YOUR future harvests!
10. Grow Food From Scraps
Ok, this is one of my favourites! It is so quick and easy and a lot of fun! Plus you are getting the most out of your food. Buy one get multiple free!! Cut off the ends of your farmers market vegetables such as Spring Onion, Leek, Pineapple, Sweet Potato and regrow!
11. Forage and Trade
Keep an eye out on your walks and day trips for wild or excess food. So often there are olive trees, fruit, nuts or wild apple trees going to waste. Do your research and learn how to identify plants. That way you will know what you are looking at. It is also important to be careful if things have been sprayed by the council. I would be always cautious of things such as blackberries. You may even notice a neighbours tree loaded with fruit that is going to waste on the ground. Politely ask if you can have some in exchange for some preserves or baking you make with it. They will probably be happy for it to be used!
12. Repair and Upcycle
Get the most out of your things by fixing or updating them! Even if you don’t know how, you may be able to pay someone a fraction of the cost to fix it rather than buying brand new. We often are so quick to throw out and buy new, we don’t even stop to consider if it can be fixed or repurposed. My hair straighteners and been fixed multiple times by electrician friends over the past 12 years and are still working amazingly! Recovering cushions, couches, DIY, get creative and even find a local seamstress if you don’t have access to a sewing machine.
13. Shop Second Hand
I try my best to not buy new and it is something I am continuing to work on. Most items you want can be found on Facebook market place, Gumtree (Trademe, Craigslist, etc). You can usually pick up a bargain and keep things in the loop rather than consuming more new things. You can even post in your local community groups and borrow or buy. Especially with things like appliances as many people often have them sitting in the cupboard collecting dust…Pasta maker, I’m talking about you 🙂
14. Backyard Chickens
Chickens make an excellent addition to sustainable living. They provide eggs, eat leftover scraps, produce manure for fertilising your garden and can they also be incorporated into an integrated pest management system to help you keep your slugs and snails at bay. Many councils will allow backyard chickens in suburbia. Although I do not have chickens …yet (Pictured above is mums ‘Chick Inn’) my council – City of Kalamunda allows x6 backyard chickens on properties 600sqm -2000sqm.
15. Back to Basics
Bread/milk/butter/pizza dough. The age-old skill of baking your own bread is a fantastic skill to have! How amazing to just whip up a fresh loaf of bread or make your own pizza bread without the preservatives or plastic packaging. Milk is super easy and you can make delicious plastic, preservative-free milk whenever you want! Whether that’s oat, rice or almond milk.
16. Learn to Preserve Harvests
I am not really at a point yet where I have an abundance of produce to preserve but I have planted a lot of fruit trees…so I am starting to learn different ways to preserve things so that when I am flooded with produce (yay!) I will be able to make the most of it! Get some produce from the farmer’s markets and give it a go! Jams, chutneys, sauces, pickles, nasturtium capers and all those delicious things. They also make great gifts and can be used to swap for other produce with your friends and family and community.
17. Make your Own
Ditch the toxic chemicals and pesticides and start making your own natural cleaning and garden products. You can get a few ingredients from your local bulk stores such as white vinegar and bicarb soda and make a huge range of cleaning products. Check out my Citrus cleaner here. I also used crushed eggshells to keep slugs and snails at bay. Natural pest management
18. Learn, Read, Practice
I can’t stress how important this is! Knowledge is power. Join your local library and get a book on jam making or search YouTube for “how to prune a lemon tree”. Educating yourself and giving things a go will get you a long way on your journey to living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Take things one a time and really try and master it before moving on. It can be overwhelming if you try to do it all at once and may lead to failure and giving up.
When I first started gardening here I remember googling ” how to keep plants alive in a heatwave?” 😅 Welcome to Perth summer gardening! I have always struggled with how hot it gets here in Perth in summer. After 7 years here, the 40degree days don’t get any easier! We have a large amount of thermal mass at our house with concrete and paved areas so it can get so hot in my garden! One of the main reasons I decided to make pallet planters on wheels was to be able to grow more food during the hot summer months by being able to have them undercover on hot days. Watch how we made them here.
How to keep plants alive in a heatwave
If you are experiencing a heatwave or have days of hot weather ahead of you, here are a few tips I use to try and get my plants through!
🌱 WATER | Give a good deep water early in the morning. This will allow time for the moisture to reach the roots before it evaporates.
🌱 SHADE | If your plants are in containers move them undercover or to a shady area of your garden. Otherwise, try and rig up some temporary shade using shade cloth or even umbrellas to keep the direct sun off your plants during the hottest part of the day.
🌱 PROTECT THE SOIL | Ensure you have a good layer of mulch or ground cover over your entire garden. This will protect the soil from being exposed to direct sun and reduce the amount of water loss through evaporation.
🌱 BUILD SOIL | This is something that should be continually worked on by composting and adding more fibre and leaf matter to your soil. Sandy soils like we have here in Perth allow all the water to drain away and can become severely water-resistant. But by consistently mulching, composting and adding green matter, you will not only grow strong, healthy plants but also protect your plants from future dry spells. Healthy soil is key!
🌱 REPLENISH | As the sun goes down and the temperatures start to drop again, give your plants another well-earnt drink. This should help their leaves perk back up again.
🌱 SAVE SEEDS | If you notice a certain plant seems to survive better than others in hot weather, make sure you save the seeds at the end of the season. That way you can futureproof your garden by growing strong plants that you know will grow well in your exact climate.
My favourite watering tools are:
Retractable Hose with 7 spray nozzle and water flow adjuster: Control exactly how much flow you want to each plant with an easy retractable hose system. CLICK HERE for more info.
Deep root waterer and soil breaker: Helps get water directly to the roots without any runoff or loss of water from evaporation. CLICK HERE for more info.
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I much prefer offering natural and sustainable solutions rather than a pointless list of negative things not to do. But this topic is something I am very passionate about and something new gardeners often get caught up in (including myself when I first started growing food many years ago). You will find my list of natural pest management remedies below 🙂
When you first start growing food you will get slugs and snails eating your new precious veggies and will want to INSTANTLY fix the situation. I see some newbie gardeners pour on huge amounts of snail bait to combat the hungry predators. This is POISON, not only will it kill the slugs and snails but is also deadly to cats and dogs. Now, if it can kill dogs, having it covering the soil and getting watered in and absorbed into the soil that your vegetable will feed on, especially those root vegetables, cannot be good for us.
If you’re reading this and thinking…I do this..you are not alone. It is something that has been a “norm” for way too long. But the first step you can take is safely throw out your poisonous slug bait. I would place it in something that animals can’t get into in case it crosses paths or they get into the bins. Even better, contact your local council to find the best way to safely dispose of it.
There are plenty of ways to naturally combat pests and have safe and nontoxic vegetables for your family.
Eggshells – Save your eggshells and dry in the oven on low. Then crush into small pieces and place in a jar. Sprinkle this around the base of your vegetables and the slugs and snails do not like the surface so will stay away. It also adds some beneficial calcium to your soil.
Plant extras – Plant a few extra plants in different areas of your garden so that if one gets attacked you still have plenty 🙂
Encourage beneficial insects – Plant diversity and flowers to create habitats and attract beneficial insects. You could even make an insect hotel using lots of different sized sticks and logs for them to live 🐞🐝
Manually remove – Go out and check your garden and remove the pests by hand. I often do this when I am on the phone, its a great way to multitask.
Beer Traps – Cheaper the better, there is no need to use up any fancy craft beer. Place little containers around your vegetable patch and this will capture the slugs and snails before they get to your precious veggies 🍺
Coffee grounds – Often your workplace or local cafe will be throwing these out anyway. Sprinkle around the base. Only add a small amount as it will change the PH of the soil ☕️
Companion Plants – Often very fragrant plants will repel pests. These are plants such as: Marigolds and Rosemary 🌼🌿
Soapy Water – this is great for aphids. All my dishwashing liquid is non-toxic and greywater friendly so I just mix up some diluted in water and paint it on the new growth that is affected by aphids. This is the last resort though as it may harm beneficial insects too. Try and isolate the coverage.
Chilli spray – Mix up some chilli powder in some water and spray on your affected plants. I have read crushed garlic as well but that is bad for dogs so I would avoid.
Healthy Soil – growing healthy soil by composting and mulching helps keep your plants strong and healthy 💪 this means that if they do get bugs they can survive and thrive after an infestation.
Sacrificial plants – Usually one plant will just get attacked and I just leave it. It usually means the bugs will only eat that plant and the rest will be fine! Sorry for that one plant but it’s feeding nature…🌿
Chickens and ducks are also a great way to integrate natural pest management into your garden. Win-win 🐛🦆
I was lucky enough to have recently been home to New Zealand to visit my parents and this new DIY greenhouse addition was so impressive! Mum built this DIY Greenhouse and She Shed from scratch using Recycled Timber Windows!!! Learning how to use tools along the way she made her dreams a reality!! I’m so proud of my mum and I can’t wait to show you this greenhouse tour! The perfect space for potting up seeds and cuttings or having a baileys in the evening.
Watch the Full Tour
Click the Image below.
Mum wanted to create a space to display her family heirlooms and treasured items. A quiet place for reflection when the world around gets too busy. It is rustic and cosy with a warm inviting feel. The plants in the Ladies Lounge spill down from teacups and climb the ladder to help integrate between the outside and the greenhouse, making the whole place feel as if it was always there. The greenhouse also offers a more controlled environment to grow all year round. Being able to open and close the windows can keep the heat in or let air flow through.
From the Ground up
First up another vegetable patch was started in a new location to allow a seamless transition and continuous supply of homegrown veggies. Then the foundations were started and went up around the old veggie patch. The windows were still being sourced and collected along the way then secured in to place. Shiplapped timber walls were constructed using the neighbours discarded timber fence and has created beautiful rustic feature walls.
Recycled and Vintage Treasures
The Greenhouse floors are made from pavers donated from neighbours and the ladies lounge slate flooring was gifted from a friend and had been lovely kept in her family for many years. Then came the exciting part of decorating the rooms with all the special items and decor.
Follow your Dreams
“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself”. – Edmund Lee
Inspiration is often found on the glossy pages of magazines or hoarded away in boards on Pinterest but the key to following your dreams is in the action of doing. You CAN do it. Mum shared her dreams and ideas with friends and family and they came together to offer supplies and words of encouragement. This became her driving force and she was off on a mission to bring her dreams to life. She learnt new skills, got stuck in and didn’t wait for someone to come along and do it for her. So don’t spend too much time searching for inspiration, share your ideas and just get started.
A big thank you to all her friends and family for donating special items and supporting her with this DIY greenhouse project. It sure is an inspiring space to visit!
Today I am very excited to share with you more about my new membership program and we have an actual launch date! If you feel inspired to start making sustainable changes but would like to gain confidence and learn more about growing food, cooking, preserving and receive support throughout your entire journey to live more naturally and sustainably then JOIN THE CLUB!
Do you want to learn how to GROW, COOK & PRESERVE your own food naturally and sustainably?
Get exclusive access to develop the skills needed to GROW, COOK and PRESERVE your own nutrient-dense food at home no matter the size of your garden. Receive monthly “how-to” articles, videos, Plant of the Month info cards, recipes, tips & tricks and join a community of like-minded people on a journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
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How Can I Join?
Founding member registration will open on the 1st March for one week only. Founding members will get early access, a bonus brand new free ebook and get the lowest member price ever! After this launch, the price will go up for new members so if this does sound like something you want to be apart of then make sure you sign up when the membership opens on Monday 1st March and secure it at the lowest ever price. There will be two payments options available: $19.95 monthly or a recurring yearly subscription of $220 with one month free! Plus you can cancel at any time before your next payment is due and there are no lock-in contracts.
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What’s included in the Membership?
There has never been a better time to start growing your own food. Working with nature to grow thriving and abundant food systems.
Each Month you will have access to:
x1 Downloadable “Plant of the Month” information card
x1 “How to” garden related article or video
x1 Garden to plate recipe
Access to our members-only group Facebook Group
Extra Tips, Tricks and Challenges
Polls to have your say in future months content
BONUS: Founding members will receive a – FREE Summer Gardening Guide Ebook.
Once you sign up you will receive a login to the backend of my website and you will have access to a dashboard. The dashboard will have all the content and downloads available that you can check back and reference anytime whilst you have your membership. The Facebook group is not a necessary part but it is a bonus to help form our community. So if you don’t use Facebook, you will still receive all the monthly content.
There has never been a better time to learn how to grow healthy, organic food at home. Take back control of your food systems and start the journey to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Say goodbye to nasty chemicals and wax-coated fruit and feed your body with real, nourishing, homegrown food.
The potential for this online gardening club is just so exciting! Lots of learning, creativity, connection, advice and well food! So if this sounds like something you would like to be a part of then for the price of a coffee each week come and join me.
I’m so excited to be on this journey with you all so i hope to see you inside the membership. If you have any questions please leave me a comment below.
Put it in your calendar on March 1st we will open for 1 week.
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Growing Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) in your home garden is a great step towards self-sufficiency. Sweet Potatoes are my favourite permaculture plant and are an easy crop to grow for beginner gardeners. It is important to grow plants that support and encourage other plants and beneficial insects in your garden. Creating a cohesive ecosystem that promotes the growth and success of your garden’s health and supports abundant harvests.
Many people do not know that the leaves of the sweet potato are also edible. This is most likely because the leaves have no economical value in the mainstream food system and so they are discarded. Our learnt behaviours tend to come from what is around us but the key is to question things more often. Can I eat this? How do I cook this? We are very lucky to have so much knowledge available to us at the click of a button.
If you want to learn more from outside “the box” subscribe to my blog and let’s get into all things, Sweet Potato!
WATCH my top 12 Reasons to start growing Sweet Potatoes or scroll down to read more.
12 Reasons to Grow Sweet Potatoes
1. The Whole Plant is Edible
Not only does the Sweet Potato plant produce delicious edible tubers underground but, you can also eat the leaves and stems of the plant too. The Sweet Potato is not actually part of the potato family but is part of the morning glory family. Unlike potatoes – the sweet potato leaves are edible and packed full of *vitamin A, C, K, B1, B2, B3 and B9. The sweet potato leaves also have minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. Sweet potato leaves are used in a similar way to spinach. The young leaves and shoots can be added fresh to salads and smoothies or to curries, stirfries and soups. They can also be sauteed to make a delicious side dish of greens. Sautee in butter and garlic or tamari, garlic, chilli and ginger is another delicious way to use sweet potato leaves.
2. Produces and Abundant Cropon each Plant
Sweet potatoes produce many large tubers underground from a single plant. These tubers are high in calories and carbohydrates which can form a great “base crop” on your journey to living more self-sufficiently. Growing base crops such as sweet potatoes or pumpkin can increase your ability to make wholesome meals entirely from the garden. You can store sweet potato by letting them harden off for half to a whole day in sunlight or diffused sunlight. Then store them somewhere dark and cool for a few weeks or up to a few months. They will keep until they start sprouting or start to go soft and spongy. It can be a good idea to make meals from them and freeze them to preserve your harvests that way. Curried sweet potato soup is one of my favourite ways to prepare and save my sweet potatoes.
3. Grows Quickly and Easily
Sweet potatoes like warm weather and once the soil warms up in spring and summer they will take off and grow vigorously. They are a very low maintenance plant that can still produce well with neglect. They can handle low water or dry spells but will produce best when kept well watered. They require free-draining soil as wet, boggy or heavy clay soils may cause the tubers to rot. Promote healthy, free-draining soil with lots of compost. The leaves may get holes and eaten by bugs but they are very hardy and it would take a lot to restrict their growth. Sweet potato is fairly pest resistant but as the tubers form they will get closer to the surface of the soil. If they are exposed to the surface, rodents such as rats and mice may find them. Check that you can’t see any above the soil and if so, rebury them.
4. Can be Grown all Year Round
In warm climates with mild winters like we have here (Perth, Australia), Sweet potato can be grown all year round. It slows down in winter but you can still harvest the leaves. I have found the purple varieties grow best during winter. In cooler climates, it’s best to harvest your sweet potato before the winter sets in and grow it annually. You can, however, take cuttings and grow them indoors in jars of water or pot them up and have lush house plants over winter. Once Spring arrives and the soil warms up you can replant them back out into the garden. To get the most out of your tuber harvests it is best to harvest annually and then replant your patch. You can leave some tubers in the ground and they will remain dormant until the soil warms up and they will just pop and regrow by themselves!
5. You can Harvest in Stages
If you have a large sweet potato patch and multiple plants you can harvest your sweet potatoes in stages to get the most out of your harvests. When veggies are ready all at once it can be hard to utilise them and not get overwhelmed. Towards the end of summer and autumn, I will also just go out and harvest one or two for dinner. Here in Australia, we call it “bandicooting”. Bandicoots are marsupials that look kind of rat/rabbit-like, that fossick around for food. Find where the main stem of your sweet potato goes into the ground and have a light dig around to see if you can find any sweet potatoes near the surface.
6. Easy to Propagate
Propagating and growing more sweet potato is very easy and there are multiple ways to do this. If you do not already have sweet potato growing at home then you can start a patch with a single tuber from the farmers market. You can bury the whole tuber in the garden or cut it into 3-4 pieces and start multiple plants. Another way to grow a plant from the tuber is to place the tuber in a jar of water until it sends off shoots. The shoots can then be cut and placed in water to grow roots. Let the shoots get above 10cm before cutting them off. You can keep doing this and using your tuber to farm multiple plants.
Once you have an established patch you can cut sections of the vines off ( known as “slips” ) and regrow more plants. Either plant the slips directly into the soil or place them in a jar of water to form roots first. If you plant them directly into the garden make sure to keep them well watered while they strike roots.
To learn more about growing food from cuttings, check out my ebook. It’s a great way to establish an edible garden for little to no cost.
7. More Varieties Available
There are a lot more varieties of sweet potatoes than the ones you commonly see in the shops. Growing your own food opens up so many more exciting options and varieties of vegetables. The varieties available at the supermarket have been breed to aid in mass production, pest resistance and shelf life. Rather than on the quality of nutrients, texture and flavour. I know which ones I would pick! I am growing the Orange, Red and White, Hawaiian (white skin with purple flesh) and a Purple skin with Purple flesh variety. They all have unique qualities and cooking properties. The Purple and White are delicious roasted, whereas, the all purple variety is not great roasted but delicious mashed. Once you have established some plants you can then swap and trade with others who may be growing different varieties to you.
8. Amazing Living Mulch/ Ground Cover
The Sweet Potato naturally grows as a vine along the ground. It will send off side shoots and quickly become a thick and lush ground cover. This protects the soil from the harsh sun and creates a healthy habitat for beneficial insects. Having lots of beneficial insects is an essential part of growing a natural, thriving garden. This lush groundcover provides an excellent bottom layer of a food forest system. I have Sweet Potato vines growing all in between and underneath my fruit trees.
9. Grows in Sun or Shade
The Sweet Potato prefers full sun but will grow in a wide range of locations from full sun to full shade. The plants that grow in shade will be slower to produce but will still grow well. This means you have more options in choosing a location to grow your Sweet Potato. I actually find that during our harsh summers in Perth, my Sweet Potato prefer some shade. Versatile plants are great for the garden because you have more flexibility and options for choosing a location to plant them. It also means they are a little more forgiving for beginner gardeners because they won’t up and die if the sunlight isn’t just right.
10. Grows in Containers or in the Garden
Urban gardens often mean utilising container gardens and selecting plants that grow in both is amazing! Ok, you can see why I love this plant! It is just so easy going. The Sweet Potato plant can take off quickly and grow very vigorously. This means it can shade out smaller plants and take over the garden. If you are short on space or have small space, urban gardens, then it may be best to grow it in containers. Don’t be afraid to cut off the edges if it starts to take over.
11. Can be Feed to Animals
Sweet Potato leaves can be feed to many animals including chickens, pigs and rabbits. When you are harvesting the patch or just trimming the edges, then this can be a great way to add feed to your animals. They are full of vitamins and nutrients to help boost your animal’s overall health. Plus, it promotes a sustainable cycle and the animal manure can then be composted to use on your gardens and grow more Sweet Potatoes!
12. Save Money!
Sweet Potatoes can be expensive! Especially if they are not the common variety. Recently the Red and White ones were over $9 p/k at my local store. With their ease to grow and abundant production, the Sweet Potato is such an economical plant to grow in your home garden.
As you can see I could talk about growing sweet potatoes all day! They are my favourite permaculture plant because they are versatile and have so many benefits and interconnected relationships within the garden.
If you have any questions about growing, harvesting or propagating sweet potatoes please leave me a comment below. If you found this content helpful please share it with your friends. Sharing my articles will help me inspire and help more people to start growing their own food. Every little bit counts towards growing and inspiring a greener world.
DISCLAIMER: Links included on this page might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my blog so I can continue to provide you with free content each week.
I grow a lot of edible flowers in my urban permaculture garden. That way, I not only have plenty of flowers for the bees, but also lots of beautiful edibles to brighten up any meal. Edible flowers have so many health benefits and valuable nutritional qualities. Flowers don’t often last long on the plant and a great way to preserve and harness their energy is to press or dry them. This way you can make infused oils, herbal teas and still have beautiful bright flowers to use throughout the year.
What Time of Day is Best to Pick Edible Flowers?
Pick your edible flowers in the morning but after the sun has come up. First thing in the morning the flowers will still be closed so wait until they fully open up. They will be at their best in the morning, full of life and well hydrated. Throughout the day they can lose moisture and become damaged by insects or wind. Make sure you select flowers that you know don’t have any chemicals or sprays on them. I only use flowers I have grown in my backyard as I can have more control over their surroundings.
Should you Dry the Whole Flower or just the Petals?
You can do both! If the flower has a thick base or bud I tend to remove the petals. Flowers such as Sunflower, Calendula and Hibiscus, I usually remove the petals. The base will take a very long time to dry and most of the time will not be palatable/hard and bitter.
Air Drying Flowers Naturally
The main way that I preserve my edible flowers is to air dry them naturally. I keep a bowl or plate in my pantry and add petals and flowers to it regularly. Each time I go out to the garden to pick veggies, I will pick edible flowers as well. If I don’t use them fresh in my meals I will just pop them aside to dry. It is very hot and dry here in Perth, Australia during the summer, so they will dry within a couple of days. If you live in a humid or cool climate or it is winter, it would be best to oven-dry or use a dehydrator. You want to get the flowers as dry as possible with no moisture left. This is to prevent them from going mouldy or growing bacteria.
Oven drying flowers
Turn your oven on to 40-50degrees Celcius and spread your flowers out on a tray. If your flowers have thick buds or bases it will be best to separate them out and just dry the petals. This may take a while depending on the size and moisture levels of your flowers. It may take around 4-6 hours and gently turn and mix your flowers around during that time to help them dry evenly.
Drying flowers in the dehydrator
Lay your flowers out flat on a tray and turn your dehydrator on to 40-50 degrees Celcius. It will depend on the moisture levels and size of your flowers but it will take between 4-6 hours to dry. Make sure they are completely dry and they may sound crunchy to touch.
Pressing Edible Flowers
Another way I like to preserve my edible flowers is to press them. You can do this with any flower press or to press flowers without a flower press, simply place your flowers between sheets of paper or a notepad and stack some heavy books on top. Press whole flowers or petals but if the bud or base of the flower is quite thick, I would remove it and just press the petals. Pressing flowers will take a while to ensure that they are completely dry. Depending on your temperatures and climate it can take between 2-4 weeks to dry your edible flowers.
How to Store Edible Flowers
Once your flowers are completely dry you can store them in an airtight container out of sunlight. I keep all my air-dried flowers in jars in my pantry. My pressed flowers that I want to keep intact, I store in a glass container with a bit of paper towel. In dry conditions, these will last quite a while. I have some from a year ago that are still great.
How to use Dried Edible Flowers?
There are so many ways to use your dried flowers. Here are some of my favourite ways to use them.
DISCLAIMER: Links included on this page might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my channel so I can continue to provide you with free content each week.
I jump at any chance to use edible flowers in my dishes and this edible flower fairy salt is one of my favourites! Edible flowers are a great, easy way to add wow factor to any dish. Cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) are so vibrant and have been abundance in my garden this summer. This recipe helps preserve their stunning colours and I can use them on my dishes throughout the year.
Fairy salt would be a great way to get kids involved with garden to plate cooking. Foraging for edible flowers, drying them and making fairy salt.
Edible Flower Salt is so EASY with only two ingredients!
You could use any edible flowers for this but cornflowers are the perfect size and colour. They lose their colour when they are left to dry on the plant so I feel better about picking them.
Yield: 1/2 cup
Edible Flower Fairy Salt
Prep Time5 days
Additional Time2 minutes
Total Time5 days2 minutes
1/2 cup Salt Flakes
2 TBSP dried Cornflowers
Pick cornflowers (Centaurea cyanus) and gently pull the petals from the bud. Lay them out flat on a plate. Leave them to dry completely for 5 days turning them regularly to release moisture. To speed up this process you could put them in the oven on low (40-50degrees Celcius) to dry.
Place salt flakes into an airtight jar. Mix through the dried cornflowers.
Serve on meals as a finishing salt.
I have been using this edible flower salt to brighten up so many of my meals. Simple eggs on toast become a little more magical with a dusting of this flower salt. I also made some delicious salt and vinegar beetroot chips and this salt was the perfect addition.
DIY Gift Idea
I have also made up small jars as gifts to friends. A small simple gesture can go such a long way. I want to get in the habit of taking a small gift whenever I visit friends and family. Whether that is some preserved produce, cuttings, seedling or some saved seeds. You never know how much a spark of inspiration can cause a ripple effect in someone’s life.
Composting is a great way to reduce waste, build soil and grow healthy thriving plants. Part of a naturally occurring cycle that feeds an ecosystem. Urban composting may mean smaller systems need to be used but they can still be very effective. I have a tumbler compost bin and now I have made a DIY worm tower to go in my Container Gardens. This tower is made from recycled PVC pipe we had left over and a recycled plant pot was used for the lid. The worms love it and so do my plants!
You don’t need to have a large garden to start composting your veggie scraps at home. There are some great urban composting solutions including Tumbler Composts, Bokashi and Worm Farms. There is even an app called Share Waste that connects people to others that have composts in your local area. Whichever solution you choose it is a fantastic way to reduce your waste and stop it from going to landfill. Food scraps that end up in landfill do not break down in the correct environment so they produce methane emissions that contribute to our climate change crisis. The more scraps you can use up or put back into the earth the better!
How to Make a DIY Composting Worm Tower?
Using things you already have at home is a great way to recycle and get the most out of everything you use. Left over PVC pipes are great for turning into worm towers. The worms can go between the garden and the worm tower to feed and help break down the veggie scraps. This will in turn provide natural fertiliser for the plants to thrive. Creating a balanced and diverse ecosystem is so import for healthy gardens.
To make these I used a 6 inch PVC pipe and cut it down so that it was the height of my pallet plants.
We then drilled holes around the bottom half of the pipe approximately 10mm in diameter. Big enough for worms to fit through.
I then dug a hole in the centre of my pallet planter and buried the pipe with the holes at the bottom and covered the sides back up with soil. Try to bury as much of the pipe as you can as to reduce it’s exposure to the sun.
A lid is important to stop any flies, rats, mice or household pets from getting in and eating the scraps. It will also keep any smells away so your gardens don’t give off a bad odour. The lid we made from the bottom of a plastic garden pot we had spare. I tested out a few for size and chose on that fit tightly over the pipe. It needs to be secure so that the wind won’t blow it off or animals cant easily overturn it. If your pot has drainage holes in the bottom cover them up too.
Once the pipe and lid are secured in place you can start adding your veggie scraps. Use only scraps that will break down relatively quickly and do not place any meat or dairy scraps. You can also add a sprinkle of soil on top of the layers to reduce odours if it is a concern.
Make sure your recycled materials are food safe and haven’t been used previously with any chemicals.
Healthy soil grows healthy vegetables!
DISCLAIMER: Links included in this description might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my channel so I can continue to provide you with free content each week!
Hi everyone, I thought I would do a bit of an intro and fill you in on my journey to sustainable living so far and where I am heading. This will be a great way to capture where I am and look back on it someday! I hope this inspires you to dream big and continue working towards your goals.
So grab yourself a tea or coffee as I have a lot of things to talk about, so let’s start from the beginning!
Dreams, Goals, Visions
My name is Holly and I was born and raised on a farm in New Zealand. I have been growing my own food in some capacity my entire life. I have also been working towards the same vision and goal for as long as I can remember. That is to own a chunk of land and build a sustainable eco-home that is more garden than it is house. This vision has become more elaborate over time with small eco-cabins, waterfalls, dams and food forests. But in essence, it has always been the same, a piece of land that I can rewild and transform into an edible self-sufficient haven. The land will help provide both food and income and I can feed my ducks, eat straight from the organic gardens, create art and talk to the bees all day.
Slow intentional living
Now…. that is not exactly where I am right now. But I want to touch on where I’m heading and how I intend to get there. Small achievable steps to create a life by design and not default.
Start where you are and use what you have
5 years ago my partner and I along with our dog Tama bought and moved into a suburban house in Perth, Australia. Since that day I have been converting the gardens into edible wonderlands using permaculture principles. I try to use as much recycled or second-hand things as I can with very little waste.
After living in our house for a year I realised that the best light and space for growing was down the side of the house which was actually a paved driveway. Not great for growing veggies….but this house is a stepping stone and not the end goal. It will potentially be an investment property or we will sell it to launch towards the next step. So ripping up concrete and pavers to plant veggies was not really on the cards. But, I wasn’t going to let that stop me, so I came up with an idea to grow a whole lot of food with space and resources I had available.
Start small but start now
The pallet planters on wheels were born! These worked out so much better than I could have imagined because they not only gave me control over the soil I was growing in but also allowed me to control the growing conditions by wheeling them in and out of the sun/rain. Perth climate can be so harsh it goes from one extreme to the other with summer and winter so these have been so good!
Investing in knowledge is investing in your future
I dove deep into experimenting with recipes and trying to build and expand my knowledge in growing, cooking and preserving my harvests. Buying vegetables I intended to grow in the future. Learning new ways to use and preserve them means I will be ready to hit the ground running when I do grow an oversupply.
The next part of my journey is sustainable income. Because how can I spend my days talking to the bees when I am bound to a corporate office job. This has been my career since leaving uni and it has never sat well with me. I have always been one to question and dislike the rat race.
Last year I was made redundant from my job and I took that as a sign and ran with it.
Since then I have built my website, Instagram, taken on ambassadorships, written paid blog posts and sponsored content. I have also written ebooks and gardening worksheets (CLICK HERE)if you want to learn how to grow your own thriving edible gardens. I have also been busy working away on my membership site and I will be launching that very soon! So make sure you hit sign up to my website to get notified when it opens. I will be opening it at a discount rate for founding members. The membership site will be all about how to grow, cook, preserve and start living more sustainably no matter whether you have a garden or not!
My goal is to build a community of like-minded people to share knowledge, learning to grow real food, save seeds, propagate & swap and trade those for other plants. I hope you join me on this adventure. I’m so excited for what is to come!
Sustainable Living Goals
So to finish off this post my goals for 2021 are to continue forging my own path and inspiring others along the way.
Learning to cook outside over the fire or harnessing the sun’s energy.
Preserving more jams and chutneys.
Experiment and learn from other cultures and cuisines to expand my knowledge of flavours and techniques.
Dive deeper into growing from cuttings, grafting as this will be a valuable skill for building my future food forest.
Make more time to do art and stay creatively inspired
Learn more handcrafting techniques such as weaving or woodwork.
Slow intentional living. We have become so used to instant gratification, being in a rush and always needing more. To start with it can be overwhelming but each time you learn a new skill or recipe it will become easier. Adapting to doing things and seeing things differently. Find the joy in growing and preparing wholesome food, learn how to make milk from nuts, buy second hand, fix and reuse broken items and stop spending all your money on things you don’t really need.
DISCLAIMER: Links included in this description might be affiliate links. If you purchase a product or service with the links that I provide I may receive a small commission. There is no additional charge to you! Thank you for supporting my website so I can continue to provide you with free content!
Grow food from cuttings and boost your garden’s sustainability. Do you want to grow more food without all the cost of buying seeds and plants to make it happen? This guide will show you some easy and quick ways to grow a tonne of food. Multiplying plants from ones you already have or making cuttings from friends gardens can help you set up and grow a sustainable garden without all the costs involved.
30-page Digital Ebook featuring 10 detailed plants to grow from cuttings. Plus tips & tricks to propagate and grow a sustainable garden.
Homegrown food not only tastes so much better but it also provides you with much more nutrients than many store-bought fruits and veggies. You also can control what goes on your food and skip all the pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other nasty sprays that get used on commercially grown food. Many of the plants in this guide may already be in your garden, neighbours or friends and family’s. Learning to identify these plants and how to propagate and regrow them from cuttings will take your gardening and sustainability to the next level.
By the end of this guide, you will have a list of edible plants you can go out and reproduce to grow wholesome food for you and your family.
Water is a crucial part of any thriving garden and during summer many towns will experience water restrictions and droughts. This can add more stress to an already difficult growing period. Water restrictions can sometimes mean you cannot use hoses, irrigation or you may have limited days in which you can use them.
Do you rely solely on rainwater? Your tanks may be getting low or you are just conscious about preserving the water you have. Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of the water you use and keep your gardens alive and producing food.
Water-Saving Tipsfor Water Restrictions
Make sure you check with your local council to see which restrictions are in place.
🌱 MAKE ECO SWAPS | Use eco, greywater friendly cleaning products so that you can start reusing the water you use in your home out into the garden. You can easily find many greywater friendly products these days or recipes to make simple cleaning products with no nasties. Not only is it better for your health to stop using nasty chemicals but it is also better for the environment – where the water will end up eventually. Products such as washing powder, dishwashing liquid, hand soap, shampoo, spray and wipe and anything you mix in with water.
🌱 GET PREPARED | Place a bucket or large watering can at your back door or somewhere that is both close to your house and in the direction of your gardens. This way you will have easy, convenient access to offload any water you have used and keep it to use on your gardens. Inform your family or housemates of where it is and what should be put in it (water with no nasty chemicals). Getting kids involved is a great way to teach them about the environment and how to be water-wise.
🌱 COOKING WATER | Pour any water used in cooking into your watering can. Water used to boil potatoes, rice, pasta, veggies etc can all go into your recycled water bucket.
🌱 OLD WATER BOTTLES | Pour any old water from water bottles that you don’t want to drink into your recycled water bucket.
🌱 DISH WATER | Depending on how involved you want to get, you could try washing your dishes in a bucket or tub in the sink to capture the water (making sure you’re using chemical-free, greywater friendly products). You could also use a bowl or pot to scoop out the majority of the water from the sink and place in your recycled water bucket. Or for a long term solution, you could direct your sink or dishwasher drain directly into the garden. IMPORTANT: Greywater can hold some pathogens so it is important to only use it on fruit trees and non-edibles and not straight onto your veggie patch. Check your local council restrictions.
🌱 WASHING MACHINE | The same as above you can either put the drainage hose in a container or bucket (ensure it’s large enough and only clean, eco-friendly products are used) or direct the pipes straight out into the garden for a long term solution. If your laundry is next to a window or door you could have a water container with a tap set up off the ground that you can place the hose into and then empty it into your watering can as needed. IMPORTANT: Greywater can hold some pathogens so it is important to only use it on fruit trees and non-edibles and not straight onto your veggie patch. Check your local council restrictions. Also, be aware that clothing will release microplastic if you have synthetic clothing.
🌱 SHOWER AND BATH | Showers can use a lot of water if you don’t restrict the flow and length of use. Place a bucket underneath to capture as much of the wastewater as possible or if you have a shower over bath set up, put the plug in and scoop the water out after. Make sure you have set up your shower with only eco, greywater friendly soaps, face washes and shampoo. IMPORTANT: Greywater can hold some pathogens so it is important to only use it on fruit trees and non-edibles and not straight onto your veggie patch. Check your local council restrictions.
🌱 RAINWATER CATCHMENT | Another great way to get more water is to set up catchments to harness the water that runs off your roof surface. Whether that is your house, garage or garden shed you can direct downpipes into water storage containers to use on your gardens. Rainwater is the absolute best kind of water for thriving gardens. Mains water that is provided by the City has chlorine and other additives in it that can slow or restrict growth.
MORE WATER-WISE GARDEN TIPS
Now that you have more water to use in your garden it is important to distribute that water in the most efficient and effective way. You don’t want to waste any of that precious water by evaporation or poor soil structure.
🌱 SLOW AND STEADY | The best way to get your plants to effectively absorb the water is to slowly distribute it and allow the plant time to absorb it. If you simply pour it on and walk away a lot of water will spread and run away across the surface and not be drawn down to the roots.
🌱 WATER UNDER MULCH | If you have a thick layer of mulch and only a limited amount of water, it is a good idea to pull back some of the mulch around the plant and pour the water directly onto the soil. Mulch can sometimes absorb ALL the water and not leave any for the plants. Mulch is great for protecting the soil and stopping evapouration so once the water is on the soil, push the mulch back around to keep the moisture locked in.
🌱 TIME IT RIGHT | Timing is everything. Choose cooler times to water your plants such as the early morning or late evening. This allows the plants to absorb as much of the water as possible before the sun and heat evapourate it. I tend to water any plants that are prone to mildew such as pumpkins, melons, cucumbers etc early in the morning rather than at night. That way they have time to absorb the moisture but they will also have all day to dry out if any moisture has reached their leaves. The rest of my gardens I tend to water in the evenings.
🌱 IMPROVE SOIL | Poor soil structure will be so hard to keep well watered as it will just let the water runoff or filter away. Sandy soils can become aquaphobic and be basically waterproof. Clay rich soils will become hard and compact restricting water flow to the roots. The best way to improve soil structure is to add fibre to your soils. Adding fibre means adding more plant matter by either compost of composted manure. Compost rich soil will retain more moisture and feed your plants. Healthy well-feed plants won’t require as much watering as their roots will be more developed and widespread to capture water more effectively.
🌱 SELECTIVE PLANTING | If you often have water restrictions or know there is likely to be a real water shortage in your area then make sure you are selective in what you choose to grow. Some plants will require more water than others so do your research and select plants that will work best for your conditions. Plants such as watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce will require a lot more water than plants such as chilli, natives, citrus, corn, sweet potato or mini eggplant.
My favourite watering tools are:
Retractable Hose with 7 spray nozzle and water flow adjuster: Control exactly how much flow you want to each plant with this flow adjusting hose. CLICK HERE for more info.
Deep root waterer and soil breaker: Helps get water directly to the roots without any runoff or loss of water from evaporation. CLICK HERE for more info.