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Gardening Resources

This page aims to direct you to gardening resources for top end and arid Australia:

Useful Bush Plants – Technical info, Gardening & product development resources

Select Bush Food references & projects – see ‘Links’  for more web based info.

Bush plant product development resources, courtesy Aboriginal Bush Traders

“Our community wants a community garden or a market garden” - but where to start?

Gardens ‘in community’ can be developed for a wide range of reasons,  benefits, and in different ways and sizes. It can be hard to know where and how to start. There’s no one simple ‘answer’ or how to! It’s about finding the right garden type that ‘fits’ and that might work for you and your community – from small home and homeland gardens, to shared community  gardens, market gardens, landscaping projects, to placemaking gardens at special places that might also focus on cultural and healing garden themes.

The NEW RIG resource, Guide Food and other gardens in and about remote communities, published October 2013, provides information about key planning considerations, garden building blocks and descriptions of different types of gardens, their benefits, opportunities and challenges. A great place to start! You can download it in full by going to the NEW Gardens Guide page on this website.

To illustrate some of the different horticultural and gardening techniques and planning considerations that fit different ‘scale’ and types of gardens, many of which are included in the above Gardens Guide, below are some key resources that may help you ‘map’ where you’re at and consider where and how you might ‘start’ or build upon what you have underway.

Gardening in Community – Home Gardens, Community Gardens (collective or allotment gardens) …..

  • “Growing at Home” step by step ‘how to grow’ downloadable posters for home gardens, from the NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries – includes how to grow bananas, pumpkins, watermelon; tips on how to use fertiliser.

Commercial type market gardens and farms – useful resources to review before you start…

  • Indigenous Horticulture Development Decision Model – This was produced by the NT Department of Primary Industries several years ago. It provides a very useful flow chart of factors to be considered when contemplating commercial farming and larger scale horticultural activities.
  • Vegetable Growing Manual NT DPI March 2012 – This manual provides great technical information about growing vegetables, at a commercial scale, in the top end NT.  For example, mechanised horticultural production techniques to grow many crops at a large scale may require involve plastic mulching – an approach that contrasts with many smaller scale home and community gardening techniques.

Good Gardening Books for Top End and Arid Conditions

Most frequently recommended to RIG Network:

Click on title to download. This publication was made possible through the Healthy Communities Bloomfield Track Initiative funded by the Australian Government, supported by Cook Shire Council and the Gungarde Community Centre. With kind permission, Cook Shire Council.

  • New, March 2013:  Julianne Hartmann, Highland Tropical Staples, click left to download, with kind permission, Julianne Hartmann.
  • Leonie Norrington, Tropical Food Gardens – A guide to growing fruit, herbs and vegetables in tropical and sub-tropical climates. 2001, Bloomings Books.
  • Carolyn Nuttall and Janet Millington, Outdoor Classrooms, 2009 – this is an excellent resource for school gardens and how to link outdoor learning through all levels of the curriculum.
  • Annette McFarlane, Successful Gardening in Warm Climates, 2008
  • Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), et al, Alice Springs Vegie Garden Companion – a handbook for growing food in arid Australia, revised second edition, 2010. Kindly provided with permission from ALEC, can be downloaded by clicking on the link:   Alice Springs Vegie Garden Companion – A handbook for growing food in arid Australia
  • Lachlan McKenzie, Melanie Bradley & Nicholas Gouldhurst,  Top End Gardening – Your practical guide to establishing a productive garden, Environment Centre NT, 2010
  • Judy McMaugh, What Garden Pest or Disease is that? Organic and Chemical Solutions for every garden problem,
  • New August 2013Nutritious Leafy Green Vegetables for tropical areas – FACT SHEETS - with permission, courtesy the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • N Smith, Native Plants for Top End Gardens, Greening Australia
  • Peter Cundall, Jerry Coleby-Williams, Annette McFarlane and Penny Woodward Organic Gardener: Essential Guide, ABC 2009
  • Organic Gardener has also released its Essential Guide – Getting Started, a compilation of articles by some of Australia’s top gardeners giving all the secrets of starting and maintaining an organic vegie patch. See about how to obtain a copy.
  • Queensland Planting Guide – A Basic Guide to Organic Gardening published by Brisbane Organic Growers Inc (BOGI). Google to find out how to obtain a copy.
  • Growing Food for Healthy Communities - a permaculture workbook for Aboriginal communities by Josh Burns and Martin Anda (you can download this resource directly from our links page, go to the Permaculture section!)

Remote and Regional? What’s best to grow, when and where?

The best resource I’ve found is from Green Harvest. Visit their website to identify your climate zone and access links and other resources on what’s most suitable to grow and when.

Good websites for fruit and veggie info for Top End gardens

See:             “Growing at Home” agnotes and step by step ‘how to grow’ dowloadable posters for home gardens, from the NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Growing at Home series – includes how to grow bananas, pumpkins, watermelon; tips on how to use fertiliser. Go to: Growing at Home

See:             The Gardening Australia, ABC   - A great range of fact sheets and stories from key people such as Leonie Norrington and Josh Byrne

See:             subTropical Gardening and Landscaping in warm climates, This is a quarterly magazine, that requires a subscription, but is well worth looking at as it provides good information about fruit and veggies for northern conditions.

See            Green Harvest Australia’s website for good organic gardening references

See             The NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries Growing Advice fact sheets and other information for Asian Vegetables and Traditional Vegetables

See              The NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries Growing Advice fact sheets and other information for tropical and sub-tropical fruits.

Aboriginal Landcare Education Program (ALEP) – Greening Australia

ALEP, the Aboriginal Landcare Education Program, an initiative of Greening Australia, has developed a comprehensive suite of resource guides for Certificate 2 level units in Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management training packages. There are 14 guides in the complete set and all are now available. The guides are known as the Green Cadets – Grinwan Geing learning guides.

To learn more about the complete set of guides go to:

One Response Post a comment
  1. B-ryan permalink
    October 23, 2015

    Yeah not too bad, hey

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