Sustainable Living...

If you've never grown your own food, don't be daunted. It's fun and easy. Even if you live in the city, you can start practising your gardening skills. Here's a few tips...
  • Start Small - if you have no garden, start with potatoes. These break up the hard ground, aerate the soil and make a tasty crop. Pick out a patch of ground and clear as much ground cover as possible. Make some holes about 12 inches (30cm) apart and about twice the depth of the potato. Pop in some seed potatoes (or old ones from the kitchen) and cover them with soil and mulch. When the plants die off they are ready to harvest. You can then use this patch for something else while putting more potatoes in elsewhere and slowly expanding your garden.
  • Grow What You Eat - Don't grow exotic coloured spinach and decorative corn if you are trying to feed yourself. Start with staple foods that you already buy from the supermarket, then grow experimental crops in your spare time. Grow continuous small amounts rather than one huge crop unless you plan to preserve it.
  • Save Your Seed - Try to grow heirloom and non-hybrid crops. Allow a few plants to go to seed and keep this seed for your next crop. A book like 'The Seed Savers Handbook' (from the Seed Savers Network) will give you practical information on saving seed. See links section for suppliers of heirloom seed.
  • Protect Your Crops - You may not have much trouble in the city, but in the country the wildlife will eat your crops long before you do. Fence off your veggie and fruit tree gardens from chooks and wildlife.
  • Protect Your Chooks - Chooks not only provide fresh eggs, but they will weed and dig over any area you give them access to. Make sure they have a secure home to return to - warm and dry and well fenced from dogs, cats, quolls, goannas, eagles, snakes etc.
Many people move from the city to the country with romantic ideas of building mudbrick or strawbale houses. Building a house of any kind is a big undertaking, but when you have to make the materials it's an even bigger undertaking. Builders and tradespeople may be hard to find outside major towns, so all these things need to be taken into consideration.

The question is, how long can you live and work in a caravan and shipping container while you build?

If building on a virgin block of land you also need to take into account the cost of getting power poles and lines brought to your block and house site and/or solar options.

For a quickstart option, try to find a block of land that already has a dwelling, tanks, power, phone etc. However if you want to put your heart and soul into building a home, you may find some useful information in the links on this page...

Creating a Self Sustainable Ascending Garden by Mila
Food & Drink
Robinvale Organic Wines (Aust):
Doctor Earth: Organic Foods & Natural Therapies - Bondi Junction Mall, 444 Oxford Street. Ph (02) 9389 3404

Alternative Energy:
Pacific Solar (Aust):
Rainbow Power Company (Aust):

One Moon Tipi's (Aust):
Strawbale Home Building (Aust):

Ecological Homes (Aust):
How to Build a Straw Bale House

Health & Beauty Products:
Trace Essentials (Aust):
Pure Alternatives (Animal Health) (Aust);

Vegetarian Recipes:
Veg Web:
Vegetarian Resource Group: Recipes -
Vegetarian Recipes Around The World -
All Recipes-Vegetarian:
Our Vegetarian Recipe page

Earth Garden Magazine (Aust):
Backwoods Home Magazine (US):
PermaCult (Aust):

Non-Hybrid Seeds:
Eden Seeds (Aust):
The Diggers Club (Aust):
Seedsavers Network (Aust):
Seed Saving Resources (Intl):

Austral Herbs & Seeds (Aust):
Phoenix Seeds, P.O. Box 94619, Tasmania 7331, Australia

Lehman's (USA):

Copyright Linda Johnson -