Dedicated to promoting sustainable practices and healthy landscapes.

 

Peter is a freelance consulting horticulturalist, totally independent and not aligned to any commercial company or products, but proud to be professionally associated with Beyond Gardens, Great Gardens and the Horticultural Media Association.

It doesn't matter if you have a commercial property, hobby farm or backyard garden, your desired result is always the same - a rewarding success that is sustainable, as well as cost and time efficient. The foundation for this success is 'growth through knowledge'.

Hi everyone:

Just a quick hello to say all the best for Christmas and the coming year. I need to explain that I've had some serious health issues and will take at least a couple more months off.

Cheers, Peter

22nd December 2016

How I can assist you:

* Reacting to frost damage on plants - do very little! Here is an article I did some years ago - read it here

* New pruning & fruit care videos now uploaded! Click on the 'Video Clips' menu button to view a new series of videos (thanks to Peter Hipe for the filming & editing). More detailed videos available soon.

* Assessing soils - here is a great little guide from NSW - read it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #17 for June/July 2015 is now online - read it here

* All about Zeolite - the forgotten soil amendment. I was commissioned to research the use of zeolite - see here: 'Zeolite at a glance'; 'Zeolite - a technical summary'; and 'Zeolite - abstracts, citations & references'

The 'grow it at home' revolution has grown exponentially, and it's amazing how many so-called 'experts' are suddenly out there with expensive, impractical advice; eg, fancy espaliers might look good in glossy magazines but are rarely practiclal, and few fruits really need it. Or raised garden beds - expensive, rarely justified and difficult to implement sustainable practices. I've been promoting food growing for thirty years, in ways that are efficient, sustainable & cost-effective for the majority of householders and landowners.

Recent Posts :

* New E-letter - My E-letter #14 for August/September 2014 is now online - read it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #13 for June/July 2014 is now online - read it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #12 for April/May 2014 is now online - read it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #11 for October/November 2013 is now online - read it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #10 for September/October 2013 is now online - read it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #9 for July & August 2013 - view it here

* New E-letter - My E-letter #8 for May & June 2013 - view it here

* Growing fruit trees in pots - I have completed my three part video series. The first is on the size & type of pots (click to watch), the second is about the soil/potting mix (click here to watch) and the third shows planting & establishment of the new trees (click here to watch

* The threat of more exotic pests & diseases: With globalisation, more 'free' trade and increasing movements of people and products the risk of getting new pests or diseases also increases, and WA has more to lose than other states. Our Department of Agriculture and Food is so concerned it has issued this press release - details here

* Own more than a couple of acres? - The great news is that funding has allowed for more 'Heavenly Hectares' workshops and Property Planning Courses that will help you get the best out of your hobby farm or small property - click here for details

* Amended factsheets on soil amendments - I have updated my factsheets on amending sands, including a new one on how Bentonite clay works - view it here

* We really need to re-appraise 'modern' food production - You may know I'm a real fan of Joel Salatin, an organic beef producer from Viginia in the US, who has proven that intensive strip grazing is the way to go and has turned thrashed out grassland into very highly productive and profitable multiple use farmland (his farm is called Polyface - check him out on YouTube). Today I watched this mind-blowing talk by Allan Savory which should get everyone thinking real hard - click here for details - a MUST watch.

* Updated fruit-fly fact-sheet. I have updated my fact-sheet on fruit-fly - click here for details

* 'Dwarf' fruit tree varieties. There is some confusion about what fruit trees are dwarf or not. I have added new fact-sheets listing dwarf & semi-dwarf fruit trees - for stonefruits click hereand for apples, pears & citrus click here

* Excessive use of organic matter is a big problem. I have become increasingly concerned about the use of excessively rich 'soil' mixes, especially in veggie beds. The concept of using 50:50 mixes of composts:manures, etc, is not only unnecessary, it's not sustainable and downright damaging to the environment. It's also sad that this practice is being widely promoted in the garden media. Excessive organic matter is a very serious problem - ask the Swan River Trust - it's not just nutrient leaching but also the build up of sludge on the bottom of the Swan & Canning rivers that is helping to kill our waterways, and much of this comes from organic matter. I have also done a number of consults where this type of mix has quickly become anaerobic, clumpy and water repellent. The fact is we only need 10-15% OM for successful food gardening (20% maximum). We CAN grow healthy food successfully in soil-based mediums - we just need to get the OM right and together with soil amendements, cap it off with a water-wise mulch.

* Artificial Turf - don't buy it! Before you consider buying artificial or synthetic turf, please watch this video and then do more research - click here to view it. There are enormous health & environmental concerns about using it, and there are nearly always much better alternatives.

* Coles & Woolworths continue to be shameless. The two big supermarket chains, despite their hollow publicity claims, are doing everything to destroy food production in Australia and therefore what little 'food security' we have. Their latest attack is by refusing to buy locally grown and canned beetroot, prefering to buy cheap imports. Plus there is the price war they are commencing on fresh fruit & veges, which will have devastating effects on our growers. What can we do? - DON'T buy from them, rather go to smaller grocers or butchers, ideally specialist outlets.

* Information & Resource List. I have added a new fact-sheet listing good products & services - click here

* Sod Culture in Orchards. I have added a new fact-sheet about ground (soil) management - click here

* Conifer Die-back Rampant Again. Also called Cypress Canker, this swift and deadly disease is caused by a Seiridium fungus. Unfortunately, many trees are lost because people are told there is no treatment, when just the opposite is true. To read my new fact-sheet click the Factsheets button, then click Pests & Diseases.

* Insect Pests Coming Indoors.I have added a new fact-sheet on household pests - click here

* Improving Our Gutless sands.I have written a new fact-sheet on amending & improving sands - click here

* Ikra rechargeable hedging shears: The key to maintaining any woody plant is regulay light pruning, especially important for ornamental hedging plants & fruit trees. I have been using a set of Ikra hedging shears for over three years and am very impressed with them - they make the job so much easier. Because they are not sold in shops (and are much better than those that are), I am now selling them. For more information click here

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The 'grow it at home' revolution has grown exponentially, and it's amazing how many so-called 'experts' are suddenly out there with expensive, impractical advice; eg, fancy espaliers might look good in glossy magazines but are rarely practiclal, and few fruits really need it. Or raised garden beds - expensive, rarely justified and difficult to implement sustainable practices. I've been promoting food growing for thirty years, in ways that are efficient, sustainable & cost-effective for the majority of householders and landowners.