We believe that the urban garden is one of the solutions in the face of rising cost of living. By applying permaculture principles in the design and lifestyle, we seek to maximize onsite resources to meet most of our needs with minimal impact on the land.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Food price crisis

This is a timely reminder for me to keep up the motivation to grow as much food in my urban garden as possible, and to eat locally and not depend on imported food.


For a start, I should think of providing carbohydrate through locally produced staples such as potatoes, pumpkins, yams, kumura etc. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. Most of these could be grown in our backyard


Also, I’m working on building networks to find out where I can buy directly from the farmers locally. I love the PYO concept where the middle man is removed from the picture; people can harvest the produces themselves. The farmer doesn’t get ripped off by the supermarket but be paid for their effort and be compensated fairly.  It also reduces their cost, thus the price can be kept low and affordable.


I’m thinking

local = sustainable



Food price crisis may hit world growth, security - UN

Reuters | Monday, 21 April 2008

The surge in global food prices risks setting back the world's anti-poverty efforts and, if not properly handled, could hurt global growth and security, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.

Opening a UN trade and development conference in Accra, Ghana, Ban said the huge increases in prices of food staples like cereals since last year could erase progress made towards UN-set goals of halving world poverty by 2015.

"The problem of global food prices could mean seven lost years. . . for the Millennium Development Goals," he said.

"We risk being set back to square one," Ban told the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting.

The food price surge has sharply increased the risk of hunger and poverty in developing countries and has already sparked food riots in parts of Asia and Africa.

The UN chief noted that several countries had moved to try to offset the food squeeze by barring exports of rice and wheat, or introducing incentives for easier imports of foodstuffs.

"This threatens to distort international trade and exacerbate shortages," he said.

"If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others . . . and become a multidimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world," Ban told the conference.  


Friday, 11 April 2008

What' I"ve learnt this season

I've observed and learnt some things that I would like to remember for next year:

1) Sown first lot of corn in September, and second in October
2) Plant something every month - first week.
3) Italian tomatoes aren't that great, disease prone - won't plant it again
4) Start eggplants, capsicums, tomatoes indoor in July - keep this season's plants from frost and they will come back again, and you'll get fruits earlier next season. Repeat the cycle for the new plants.
5) Start Austrian Oil seed pumpkins in icecream containers in the hotwater cupboard - germinates in 3-4 days
6) Zucchini Ambassador F1 - extremely prolific especially if a scoop of cow dung is dumped into the planting hole first before putting the plant. 1 plant is more than sufficient for the entire family with more to give away.
7) Japanese eggplants is prolific and tasty, eggplant Golden eggs is late so not worth growing in NZ climate
8) Butternut Chieftain - Prolific - each plant has at least 3 good size squash (it will keep longer if allowed to harden properly)
9) Plant Basil with Capsicums, eggplants.
10) 2 crops of dwarf beans possible - Sow first in November, second January
11) Only grow the Purple Fred climbing beans - early and prolific - two crops in the season
12) 2 telegraph cucumber plants sufficient for a family
13) 4 gerkin plants if you want to preserve
14) Mulch, mulch, mulch

More to come in the next blog

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Veggie gardens a growing love

By LIZ WILLIS - North Shore Times Tuesday, 08 April 2008

BEN WATSON/North Shore Times

GOOD LIFE: Growing enough veggies for salads saves money and the planet, says Beth Hansen.
The secrets behind a Devonport plot to foil the looming oil crisis are about to be revealed. It’s a down-to-earth approach rooted in Beth Hansen’s strong belief that even the smallest backyard can be home to a beautiful organic veggie garden.

At 63 after a lifetime of gardening she says it’s time to share her knowledge. She’s warning that vegetable prices will skyrocket as fuel prices rise. It wouldn’t surprise her if lettuces sold for $6 by Christmas.

"I don’t want to panic people but we need to start growing our own produce."

Ms Hansen’s garden is testament to just what can be grown in a small space. In her average-sized front garden she grows basil, parsley, lettuce, rocket, carrots, onions, kumara, spinach, capsicum and bok choy.

"You don’t need a lot of room. This is one thing I want to teach people." If you prepare the soil correctly you can plant intensively which also keeps the weeds down, she says.

As a watercolour artist she’s conscious of colour and veggies and flowers grow happily alongside each other in her cottage garden.She’s now devoting more time to giving organic vegetable growing lessons than painting watercolours.

"It’s all very well painting nice pictures but if I can inspire half a dozen people to start growing their own veggies I would be thrilled."

The old-fashioned art of veggie gardening has waned as people move to smaller properties, she says. Children aren’t taught to grow plants so vegetable gardens have started to disappear. But Ms Hansen says you can grow a lot in a small area, saving money.

Her recipe for a good veggie garden includes:

- Planting veggies in raised beds near the kitchen
- Getting family involved
- Using a mix of organic soil, water crystals and crushed metal aggregate
- Running the mower over dried seaweed then spreading it on the garden
- Having an automatic watering system