Seasonal subtropical vegetable planting guide for eastern Australia
It makes perfect sense to support your local food production. Sending food thousands of miles is not logical. It means that the food loses its nutritional value and with all the pollutants our bodies are having to deal with we need all the nutrition we can get these days. This is just one of the many reasons.
Knowing your area, what grows well there and what you can plant are pieces of knowledge you will have to hunt down. Elderly gardeners, neighbours that look like they know what they are doing, local community gardens, These are some of the places to start.
It does not matter if you dont know much, local councils realise the implications if we dont start to go local so in some areas they are increasingly providing subsidised courses on how to grow your own food. In our area some of the things you can learn are, how to compost and make your own soil, build a straw bale garden, plant perennial vegetables, save your own seed and about the herbs to grow to make your own preventative remedies. See what is happening where you live. Another of our local initiatives in this direction is a thriving community garden, Mullumbimby Community Garden Inc. Part of this little piece of heaven is a fledgling Local Community Seed Bank. We are collecting, replanting, saving and distributing our local seed that is adapting happily to it’s local conditions. There is so much abundance just waiting to be harvested, it just needs education, a watchful eye and good timing to reap the benefits. Plant seeds and buy seeds carefully.
Threats to open pollinated seed are real, get your little collection of local seed so you can always plant some of your favourite vegetables, roots, herbs and flowers.
In late 2011, a Local Seasonal Planting Guide was published for our area, that is Subtropical Eastern Australia. The area it covers is from Coffs Harbour to north of Brisbane. It lists what to plant each month of the year, so you can plan ahead and get everything you need to prepare for the seasons. This is quite a broad area and you can definitely go even more local than that. There are microclimates within that and these extend to microclimates on your own property, This is where experience is the best teacher and the local community is our greatest asset for information. It is a wonderful resource for people starting out on this road to more local self reliance.
Introduced weeds have become a real problem in our fragile ecosystem in Australia. This is also localised knowledge. Plants like Coffee are a real problem in our area. In our haste to plant food, we may be creating a disaster. This Planting Guide has the potential threats to our native biodiversity highlighted in red, so enthusiastic gardeners can be aware from the start. If plants are harvested and tended then they should be alright, but if left abandoned…..