by Spencer Shaw, Forest Heart ecoNursery
As the Covid 19 lockdown restrictions ease and life returns to some degree of normality (for now) I’m heartened that many of us turned to our gardens (if we’re lucky enough to have them) for emotional and physical sustenance in these trying times that we find ourselves in. For me backyards and gardens are our own little bit of the natural world that we can for example – grow our own food, share with the local wildlife, preserve endangered species, enjoy the beauty of Australian native plants and last but not least gardening itself is good for us physically, mentally and spiritually.
For now, let’s focus on what an abundant garden you can be growing for yourself by growing your own bush foods, fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. Harvesting your own produce is fun, healthy and convenient. There’s nothing quite like popping out into the backyard to harvest some fresh produce. For example grab a fresh lime and add tang to a salad or fish. Harvest fresh from your trees the fruit of Blueberry, Grumichama, Jaboticaba, Pomegranate, Oranges, Mandarin, Lemons, Carambola, Figs, Pawpaw, Tamarillo, Avocado or Chocolate Sapote, to name just a few. Closer to ground level you could plant an ever-growing range of herbs and vegetable seedlings that we are now stocking at Forest Heart ecoNursery.
Back to bush Foods and the bounty of this land is considerable. Bush food must haves that you should plant in your yard include: Midyim (Austromyrtus dulcis) a great low growing shrub/groundcover with attractive weeping foliage and tasty white berries, fresh from the bush – kids love them; Lillypilly’s (Syzygium spp.) are edible all edible, if you are hungry enough, but from our local ones the Riberry S. Luehmannii, is not only bountiful, but tastes good raw and even glaced in a sugar syrup; Davidson Plums (Davidsonia spp.) although not strictly local, are spectacular foliage specimens with their large leaves and large beautiful looking plum like fruit. However they are a tad sour, but nothing that a few spoons of sugar can’t fix to make a great jam or syrup; Plum Pine (Podocarpus elatus) also produce a juicy succulent, plum like fruit with a pleasant pine taste and again, fantastic for jams and syrups. Native Tamarinds (Diploglottis spp. and Mischarytera lautereriana) are sour but tasty delights that make great syrups, cordials, jellies etc…Native herbs we stock include Native Celery (Apium prostratum), Pig Face (Carpobrotus glaucescens) , Native Mint (Mentha satureioides) and Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum).
There’s never been a better time to plant out and manage your garden for food and for fun, so remember Don’t Panic, Just Plant It!
ps. check out our great range of vegetable seedlings available from .50c each for 4 or more!