Who am I and what is this project all about?

I work as a Permaculture Design Consultant, helping others to develop productive gardens and educating anyone who will listen about the importance and ease of growing your own. My motto is that a garden should look good, smell good and taste good.

My career started about 13 years ago when my Uncle Ronnie gave me a copy of Introduction To Permaculture by Bill Mollison. It was Christmas 1997. I wasn’t really sure at the time why he thought that was an appropriate gift for a seventeen-year-old girl in the suburbs but, as I have since found out, it couldn’t have been more appropriate. It changed my life. I can’t tell you what resonated with me but, it switched something on inside. Since then, pretty much wherever I have gone in the world I have had my hands in the soil.

People who know me will tell you how passionate I am about growing things and cooking with whatever is ready to harvest today. During summer, when there is a glut of tomatoes or zucchini it’s not uncommon to find us up until 2am –  pickling, saucing, jamming, whatever needs to be done to utilise what we have on hand.

Here on our suburban block we grow a good deal of what we consume in a year. Our rubbish bin goes out often with only a small bag in it. We compost all of our kitchen waste, paper and cardboard packaging and repurpose the rest. We don’t do any of this for political reasons. It’s just how we have settled into our lives in this house. We have developed good routines and we’ll never look back.

I had, like many others, been caught up in the rat race for the past few years. I hated it because I felt like I could be doing something really fruitful but, instead I felt like I just was treading water. I told my husband “I need a break. I want to spend next year in the garden”. That’s how the idea for this blog came about.

My main objective here is to help people to overcome the feast and famine cycle that is common in most vegetable gardens. I thought a blog might be a good tool to show people what I am doing at certain times of the year so that they will learn what to plant, when to plant, and how to do it in an environmentally friendly way. Although I focus on temperate climate gardens, a lot of the content will be useful for people in various climatic zones around the world.

This blog isn’t just about gardening because growing things is just one side of the story. We grow because we need to consume. I’ll be posting about what I do with the things that come out of my garden along with produce from friends, family or local producers. What’s important is eating fresh and eating local.

I should state from the outset that our garden is very new. You will have an opportunity to watch our garden evolve. I hope that it will demonstrate that what I do can be done by anyone.

I feel strongly that 30 min in the garden every couple of days can keep you well fed. I think the first half an hour when you get home is the best time. Gardening is relaxing so it’s a very good way to unwind from your busy day. The idea is to chip away your projects. Do a little bit here and a little bit there and before you know it there will be a whole lot going on.

I hope that my blog will inspire others to garden as I do because it’s fun, healthy and very rewarding.

22 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Jodi

    I wish I could spend 30 minutes in a garden everyday, unfortunately I have to settle for walks in the park and some basil in a pot until we move to somewhere with outdoor space.

    I work for a company offering loads of green information and advice and one of the sections we have is about being green in the garden. Some of the topics we cover include rainwater harvesting, allotments, the best types of natural pest predators so you dont need to use poison. The list goes on and on. Anyway, if you think some of your blog readers might be interested in these topics, give me a shout via email and I´ll gladly send you some content to reproduce.

    All the best,

    Julie

    Reply

    • Hi Julie,

      That is very sad to hear.

      I don’t know if you are fortunate to have a balcony but when I read your message I thought that you or perhaps other readers might be interested in a blog written by a fellow Permaculture Designer – Cecilia Macaulay. Her blog is about urban permaculture, design for small space and much much more. Balcony Garden Dreaming.

      If you’d like to garden I’m sure there is a way. There are a lot of garden allotments or community gardens around where you can lease a small patch. They are wonderful because they are very social places. I know that there aren’t enough of them but we need more people to write to councils and tell them that this is what we want. The more they hear it the more we will see.

      Also, there is probably someone out there who has a garden and would like to share it. I was riding down buy the creek one day, i’d stopped to watch the ducks and their ducklings, when I met a woman who was walking her dog. Beverley, I think her name was. We had a chat about the ducks and the surrounding wetlands that had recently been built and how nice it was for the public to have such a space. The lady told me that she lived across the way where the house blocks were excruciatingly small. She mentioned how much she loved to garden and that her neighbour and herself had come up with an idea to double their garden space by sharing each others very small yards. This meant that they were able to grow more things and the two forged a wonderful friendship. I am sad that our paths haven’t crossed again – If you’re out there Beverley, please get in touch =) Anyway, that experience made me realise that there are most likely plenty of people out there who could be coming together and enriching each others lives. Put up notices around your neighbourhood. Let people know that you are out there and have a common interest. You might be surprised at what you find. Certainly let us know if you do. We might start a revolution.

      Good luck!

      Reply

  2. Hey there! I just wanted to stop by and write. I love your blog! Really great articles! Hope to find you on twitter!

    Reply

    • Hi Zach,

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m really glad enjoy reading what I have to say and I’m thrilled that you stopped by. I called by your site page. I love the concept and I look forward to seeing it when it is launched.

      Regardeners,

      Jodi.

      Reply

  3. Fantastic! I really am so glad you popped over and visited because we sound very similar! If you have any ideas about what edibles to plant in an area that gets no direct sunlight…let me know! I’ll have to meet you and Rob for coffee one of these days…

    Reply

    • Hi Mrs Bok, so lovely to see you here. Yes, I think we do sound a bit similar. And I think we should definitely meet up at Robs for a coffee sometime.

      I’ve been thinking about your light problem. You know we are very fortunate here in Australia, in some respects, when it comes to light. It is just so much brighter here than it is back in the mother country. Have you ever noticed how colour is a bit washed out here compared to how it appears over there? Everything looks so green and so rich. Yes, water makes some difference but, the intensity of light has a great part to play here. Just look at the depth of colour of a photo taken on a cloudy/overcast day compared to one taken in full sun. It has been my experience that, although the brits would want their vegetables all out in full sun, we can get away with a bit of shade, particularly in summer. I had a bit of spare space in a bed that received virtually no direct sunlight. Rather than waste the space I decided to plant some cherry tomatoes there. They proved to be my best and longest crop to date. They certainly got very tall because they were reaching for the sunlight but, the fruit were abundant. It was late may/early June before the bush came out, which for me was quite impressive. I know this might not be the answer to your problem but, I’d just have a crack at a few different things. Perhaps, if they are fruiting like the tomatoes, get them in a bit earlier to give them a bit longer to ripen. Faster growing or smaller varieties are probably another good idea.

      If you have evergreen trees blocking the light you may be able to open up little pockets in the canopy to allow enough light through. Whenever I do this I stand back, look at the canopy, move in take a snip, move back, look at the canopy, move in take another snip, move back look at the canopy and so on. Its a slow and careful process but it might do the job. Although, you will have to keep doing it from time to time.

      One last thing – mirrors? It might take a bit of effort but you can use mirrors to increase light in low lit areas of the garden. Check out this fascinating clip on Bachenbach L’chtlabor Gmbh from Austria and the work they did for Changi airport. Real lighting design – I love it.

      Enjoy!

      Reply

  4. Hi Jodi,
    Nice to find your blog. I’ve just started doing lots of work in my garden. My mother and grandmother is/was a keen gardeners and I thought I hadn’t got the green thumb gene, but am happy to say that I’m loving it. I’ve started my blog too to help get me going. I’ve also dug up some of the back lawn to begin growing my vegetables. I look forward to following your adventures on your blog.
    Leanne

    Reply

    • Hi Leanne,
      Welcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave me some feedback. I’m so glad you did. I stopped by to check out your blogs Dirt and Flowers and Leanne Cole – a fellow cycling fan I see. Lovely =) I love the path to your studio. It will look beautiful when that Jacaranda has grown tall and shady and you can meander in and out of the studio. Very inspirational. You take care and I’ll be sure to watch as your garden grows.
      Enjoy today – it’s going to be yet another blissful autumn day in Melbourne.
      – Jodi

      Reply

  5. Posted by Kylie on May 3, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Jodi…Just discovered your blog…I love it and I’m really excited to follow you on your adventures…thanks, Kylie

    Reply

  6. Hi Jodi, loving reading your blog. I too am in Australia, in the very wet Melbourne (and feeling very lucky to have the rain). Your recent entry about your smail issue made me laugh. Anyway, fantastic to find another gardening blog in Australia, and I will read it keenly. Cheers, melissa

    Reply

    • Hi Melissa, I’m so sad that I haven’t stumbled across your blog before now. So, thanks very much for leaving a comment. Honestly, I haven’t had a minute to sit down and have a proper read but, I had a look and I can’t wait to slink into my warm bed tonight and have a read =) I’m glad you enjoyed that post – I was laughing too. Have fun out there today.
      Jodi

      Reply

  7. Posted by Mary Jordon on June 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Jodi,
    Just catching up with you after our course at CAE. I enjoyed reading your blog posts about growing your own food, cooking, preserving and recycling food scraps. You’re a great inspiration!
    ~ Mary

    Reply

  8. Hi Jodi, just joining the conga line – love your blog and your careful attention to detail – is a pleasure to read. We are in the midst of the transition from rat race to living sustainably and independently, and it is a learning process in itself.
    Have read and re read about permaculture and ideas like not weeding until there you have something ready to plant in place of the weeds.
    That is what attracted me to permaculture – the labour saving and productive benefits of well managed land. Initially we were going for a complete native landscape, but we can see how much more productive and engrossing a permaculture garden is. Cheers.

    Reply

    • Hi Brendan, thank you – your comments were so beautiful. I’m very chuffed and happy to have you on board. I stumbled across your blog a short while ago (via blogcatalog perhaps) and I have been gradually working my way through to your current post. I’m enjoying it very much=). It makes me realise how much I miss the beach. Good luck with your chook run. Jodi

      Reply

  9. Posted by Rebekah on July 14, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Hi Jod,

    So sorry that its taken me so long to visit your blog. I’m now looking forward to reading and seeing what you’ve been up to regularly. As usual our winter vegetables are fairly meagre – we’ve got things growing but nothing is growing with the same vigour that we enjoy in the spring/summer. We’re hoping for a bumper crop this coming summer. I’d really like to see how close we can get to being self-sufficient from a fruit and vegetable perspective, for a period of time anyway. Ambitious, I know, but we have the space and the will (and some very lovely soil) which has got to help. I’ll be reading with great interest when you begin preparing for spring.

    Take care,

    Love Bek

    PS We have almost finished our tomatoes from last summer. We ended up with so many of the little ones that we froze them in small bags and have added them to curries, soups and sauces. They’ve been wonderful.

    PPS Tarky is planning on being on Junior Masterchef in a year or two. Cooking and food criticing has reached a new level in our house.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Melissa on December 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Jodi,
    So glad to have met you today.. Im totally inspired already by our brief chat and really look forward to learning more and getting GREEN in the new year!

    Hope to see you soon..
    Merry Christmas Sweetie.. Say Hi to P.
    xx Mel

    Reply

  11. HI Jodi,
    My four little kids, husband and I have been tinkering away in the yards of a home we bought last year. Your blog is really helpful, so thanks! We’re home educating and the two bigger kids (5 & 7) will be keen to read your posts on seed saving soon. And love the photos!
    Hope your year continues to be fruitful in many ways.
    Cathy

    Reply

    • Hi Cathy, thank you for leaving a comment and what a lovely one it was too! I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to hear how useful my posts are proving to be. And I love the thought that your kids (and possibly others) are able to use this information to learn about the all important things they rarely teach in school. Times are changing of course but, it always seems to be the most simple and practical things that they don’t teach kids.

      Actually, when I write my posts I am often inspired by the kids I have taught along the way. In particular the Jardine-Williams and Healey kids. They have shown me how important it is to learn these simple things from a young age. Those kids are engaged with their food in a very natural way. They have known from the age of two (sometimes earlier) when things are ready to pick and as a result their tastes have developed quite highly. So, I love to think that there are other kids out there learning not only when to pick but, also how to save seed and be empowered by being able to grow something from virtually nothing.

      I have plenty more seed saving stuff coming so stay tuned. I look forward to hearing from the kids =)

      Reply

  12. Posted by explorergarden on August 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Great Blog! I am totally a feast or famine gardener, but am really trying to learn how to be more productive. I appreciate your intent to learn to improve how you grow — gives me hope I can learn and grow more in my little suburban plot!
    Cindy

    Reply

    • Hi Cindy! Thanks for leaving your lovely message. I really hope that I can help you to fill the gaps between those feast and famine times in your garden. What part of the world are you in and what do you have growing at the moment?

      Reply

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