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Simple tips and tricks to get your garden started, from mulching, organic pest and weed control, managing soil, and small space gardening.
Mulch is a layer of material spread over your garden beds and around plants to protect plants and improve soil quality.
Mulching your garden will:
The best mulches are organic and can be made from a range of materials. Inorganic materials such as gravel, stones and other groundcovers will also suppress weeds and save water but will not add nutrients to the soil.
For more information on mulching your garden, go to the Office of Environment and Heritage website.
For more information on Council's 'Wheelie Good® Compost' and 'Wheelie Good® Mulch' products, go to our Wheelie Good® webpage.
Herbicides and pesticides contain chemicals that will affect your health, and the health of the living things in your backyard.
There are non-toxic ways to control pests and diseases in your garden, including:
There are a large variety of solutions to all gardening problems without the use of harmful chemicals.
For more information, our libraries have some great books on organic gardening. You can also go to the
Organic Gardener website.
When it comes to gardening, your soil is your most important asset. The soil in your garden will control what plants succeed and what fail. Poor soils can be improved through adding compost, organic matter and mulching.
Knowing your soil type is essential in making it work for you. You can perform the following simple soil test:
If you cannot make a ribbon at all, your soil is sandy and will drain easily. If you can make a ribbon but it breaks off before it protrudes from your hand by 2.5 centimetres, your soil is a loam (halfway between sand and clay). If your ribbon protrudes more than 2.5 centimetres from the hole near your thumb, your soil is clay and will hold onto water and not drain freely.
It's sometimes important to know the potential of Hydrogen (pH) level of your soil, as this will determine how effectively your plants take up nutrients. You can purchase a simple soil pH test kit from most nurseries. Most native plants grow in soils that are slightly acidic, generally you will not need to test the soil where natives grow unless the plant is struggling to survive.
Just because you have limited space does not mean gardening or growing your own vegetables are out of your reach. Across our area there are a number of
community gardens where you can either work with other members of the community or tend your own plot. If you prefer to keep it closer to home container gardening can be the solution for you. Dwarf fruit trees, leafy greens and herbs can all thrive in containers.
When choosing the plants and containers consider the following factors of your space: