get your summer fruit & veg comfy on a bed of mulch & I take the plunge into permaculture

Posted by on Feb 8, 2015 in Home | 24 Comments

I doubt this will be the most fascinating read you’ve had in a while so I’ll get to the point; if you’re growing food and it’s crazy summer hot, do yourself a favour and throw heaps of mulch around. Preferably on your garden. Particularly in Brisbane where we’ve had weather extremes from fry-an-egg-on-the-road heat followed by flash flood inspired downfalls. Mulching keeps the moisture in the soil which reduces the need for watering and keeps the soil temperature more constant. It is essential for good soil health, prevents soil erosion and weeds from growing (and me wasting my life pulling out nut grass). So so important….mulch, mulch, mulch all year round! Don’t forget to re-mulch and keep everything topped up.


There are many different types of mulch and favourites for veg gardens are usually sugar cane, lucerne and pea straw. I use organic sugar cane (organic mulch breaks down to lovely matter for great soil health) as it’s cheaper and available. I lay it on pretty thick (probably a large handful width-about 7cm) and this seems to do the trick. Mulch after watering and keep mulch clear of plant stems, especially young seedlings. It also looks very neat and tidy so you can pretend you’re a super organised gardener that has it together. Another mulch benefit includes kitty crowd control; deterring my cats from using garden beds as kitty litter. Unsavoury but harsh reality in gardening life.


In slightly more uplifting news, I cannot wait to start my permaculture design certificate course this month at the wonderful Northey Street City Farm in the heart of Brissie. I’ve been dying to do it for ages but had to get that pesky masters degree out of the way. Permaculture (defined by Graham Bell) β€œis the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.” Check out the principles below :: Jem x

24 Comments

  1. Jan (A gluttonous wife)
    February 10, 2015

    Love the look of your blog Jem and looking forward to reading more! Good luck with your course, sounds like it is the perfect next step for you….cheers Jan x

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 10, 2015

      Thanks so much Jan, I really appreciate that. So glad I found your blog x

      Reply
  2. Emma
    February 10, 2015

    This is brilliant. I mean I don’t have an actual garden yet, just a few deck plants but have bookmarked so much of your advice.

    We need more people like you in the world Jem!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 10, 2015

      The principles and ethics of permaculture are definitely brilliant Emma! I’m very excited about learning ‘ancient’ information that is new to me in many ways. Thank you so much for your feedback πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    February 10, 2015

    I need easy lessons like this! I tend to kill so many plants so I need all the help I can get πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 10, 2015

      Lol Lorraine…I’m sure you’re capable enough to keep plants alive!

      Reply
  4. Gourmet Getaways
    February 10, 2015

    Thank you once again for a piece of your “growing” world, Jem! You provide us with a greater appreciation of plant and food πŸ™‚

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 10, 2015

      Thanks guys…really appreciate that Julie & Alesah πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Jean Burke
    February 10, 2015

    Good luck with your permaculture course at Northey Street. I like your tip about the sugar cane mulch, I give my plot a good thick layer during the worst of our summer heat.

    You do so well with your tomatoes, even as far as organic tomatoes self sewing. How good is that. I wish I was as successful, my main problem, here in Brisbane, is the dreaded fruit fly. Do you have any tips for success in beating this pest? I wonder if netting is the only answer in the end.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 10, 2015

      Thank you Jean, I’m hoping to learn practical info & ‘a way of thinking’ differently to also share with others. I’ve just been lucky with tomatoes growing unexpectedly (I’m a lazy gardener). Funnily enough when this happens & they grow slightly out of season, I’ve experienced less pest problems & apparently that’s not meant to happen! I haven’t had that many problems with fruit fly where I am (I would imagine netting would be the only solution) but big problems with aphids. Soap flake spray & a chilli & garlic spray has helped a bit with it. Brisbane is such a challenging climate at times-can drive you crazy!

      Reply
  6. Nicole- Champagne and Chips
    February 11, 2015

    Gosh your gardens look lovely. I would love to grow my own vegetables. I have a tiny patch of dirt out the back of my townhouse but I need to get my cattle dog pup past the stage of pulling up plants first πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 11, 2015

      Thank you for that Nicole. It sounds like growing is definitely in your future however I think that is a very wise decision to let your fur baby grow up a bit first! Often pets and gardening don’t go together lol…I have to micro manage my kitties.

      Reply
  7. E / dig in hobart
    February 14, 2015

    I had no idea permaculture was so pretty! I admit i don’t know much about it really; i think of it as being both a bit hippy but also complex and therfore intimidating.
    I’m also a big fan of mulch in the veg garden – i use sugar cane mulch because it is easy to handle and spread easily.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 14, 2015

      It’s pretty amazing stuff and I’m slowly learning to think ‘permaculture.’ You may not know it E but you would be already living out some of the principles and ethics especially in your garden. I don’t think I will ever view the world the same again!

      Reply
  8. Function 9
    February 15, 2015

    Good luck with the permaculture course Jem! Keep us informed with how it goes along the way…

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 15, 2015

      Thanks Function 9…Don’t worry I will be sharing the love lol.

      Reply
  9. Wormly Organics - Great Lakes Gelatin
    February 18, 2015

    Mulching really does work wonders in your garden as it nurtures your plants better with moist and cool soil. Very informative post, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 18, 2015

      It certainly does. Especially in our Brisbane climate.

      Reply
  10. Alessandra // the foodie teen
    February 27, 2015

    I love that graphic at the end – so helpful! You’ve inspired me to start a small garden as well in preparation for the summer – thank you!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      February 28, 2015

      Thanks Alessandra…I’m so glad you’re thinking about starting a garden!

      Reply
  11. sherry from sherrys pickings
    March 2, 2015

    such cute little eggplants and melons! good luck with the course.

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      March 2, 2015

      They’re really growing now after all that rain we had Sherry. And the course is amazing thanks πŸ™‚

      Reply
  12. Nagi@RecipeTinEats
    January 15, 2016

    The idea of having my own garden really fascinates me. Thanks for giving a heads up with the idea, Jem!

    Reply
    • lostinutensils
      January 18, 2016

      Do it Nagi! I always think it’s important if you love food to connect to where it comes from and how it’s grown πŸ™‚

      Reply

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