Simple living and false economy

The patch - Summer 2014

The patch – Summer 2014

I tend a plot of land to feed a family. I learnt those skills by watching my dad when I was a little girl, but mostly, by experimenting and by making some mistakes.

Over the months, my skills sharpened, my tools collection grew, my seed bank expanded and my harvest basket got heavier. And now, two years later, we supply 98% of our veggies, eggs, and meat intake for the year.

Here are three tips for this month:

Start small

  • Go for one pot of some edible herb of your choice, be it thyme, parsley, mint, rosemary, etc.
  • Later, install a raised garden bed with salad greens.
  • Then, remove some of that front lawn to plant spuds, beans and edible flowers.
  • Finally, make a mandala garden around the Hills Hoist that you’ll plant with the whole shebang!


Buy the seeds or seedlings of the food you know for sure you will eat – if you don’t like chewing on Stevia or if you never sprinkle thyme on your lamb chops then there is no point in planting them!

Buy seeds grown in Australia – most seeds sold in nurseries come from the USA or Europe! Quite a difference in climate and soil/moisture conditions!

Most seeds come from large seed companies, many under the Monsanto umbrella, many genetically modified. Opt for local and organic seed suppliers or hit your local seed savers group.


Some of my few trusted tools

Some of my few trusted tools

You only need a few good tools: a rounded-tip digging spade (if you’re planning to plant trees), a weeder (I use a Korean Ho-Mi tool), and a sturdy hand spade – and that’s it. Your gloved hands will do the rest.

On that note of tools, this is false economy to settle for cheap garden tools. Only buy few but top of the range tools. And that usually means more expensive – but they last a lifetime.

Look for tools (like for secateurs) that can be dismantled easily for servicing (oiling, sharpening). Stay away from plastic tools or those with plastic components – they’ll break I promise.

Happy gardening!

See you at one of our courses to learn more about permaculture design and gardening.


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