Monday, January 23, 2012

Front garden production

When you're a keen gardener and live in the burbs there inevitably comes a time when you run out of room to plant things. Our back garden is full to the brim with productive trees and vegies, so we've started to develop the productive capacity of our front garden and verge. This garden has mostly hardy, waterwise native plants and we love it for its beautiful flowers and the fact that it is low maintenance and attracts native animals.We planted a Macadamia tree a few years ago and it has struggled along without regular water since then. The same goes for our olive trees, so recently I bit the bullet and installed some drip irrigation out the front (I modified the old overhead system so it wasn't too hard). What a surprise, a few months later and the plants are positively thriving. We now have the following productive plants out the front:

Macadamia, which will be a large tree with delicious nuts. It's in the proteacae family, so it's sensitive to phosphorous. It seems to do well on straight compost.

Three olive trees (varieties are Mission, Coratina and Manzanillo), two for oil and one for pickling. Olives do well in our Mediterranean climate. They will take up to ten years to fruit without retic, but five years or so with. Water is valuable, but so is local organic food so they're on the retic. Note that the trees are trained to a vase shape in order to make harvesting and pest/disease control easier and to give the fruit enough light and air.

A curry plant. An Indian curry's not a curry without some of these yummy leaves.

A bamboo (Bambusa ventricosa), which we hope will grow us stakes for the garden. I got this from a friend and although it may not be the perfect variety I like to get plants from friends. In time I can say that's Wally's fig, Amir's pomegaranate or Wayno's bamboo and it will remind me of those people. This bamboo is a clumper and should grow big healthy shoots for staking tomatoes and beans.

Four Acacia plants. These will eventually become hosts for a parasitic native tree called the Quandong (closely related to another well known parasite, Sandalwood). I've planted the hosts now so they will be well established by the time I plant the Quandong in spring this year (two hosts per tree). Quandongs make the best jam in the world by the way.

That's it out the front for now. We are still fossicking around for more space. Just this afternoon Amy and I talked about taking over Quin's sandpit (unused for at least 18 months) for a plum tree...


  1. Hi there, it was good to meet you when in WA, sorry if it was all a wee bit 'stalker-ish'!
    I do enjoy your blog though - very inspiring.
    Great verge use! Can't believe the sandpit is not used - ours gets a heap but then so does every pile of mud, rocks, sand, sticks, etc etc which i am sure is the same at yours!
    go well.

  2. not sure if you are into it or not but renew mag have a blog comp and i reckon you should put yours in
    could win you some more solar panels!

    1. Hi, It was good to meet you too. Next time you're in Perth let us know and we'll give you a tour. Thanks for the competition info, i'll try to follow it up.