TGoG Podcast 094 – Local Food Equals Less Waste

Listen to the Episode Below (00:30:00)

Local food equals less wasteWhen you grow your own food you are less inclined to waste it.  This is the basis of this weeks episode.  My belief is that organically grown local food equals less waste.

I talk about our failed 100 mile diet and how hard it was to stick to it, and the realisation I came to that most of our food is grown with the assistance of fossil fuels.  In the second half of the show, I give tips about how to prevent food waste.

I believe that growing your own food is one of the most radical acts that you can achieve in your own home.  You break that dependence on the industrial food system and become that little bit closer to be able to look after yourself.  Especially that most of our food is grown using oil.

Did you know that for every 1 calorie of food grown, it takes 10 calories of oil to grow it?  That is unsustainable considering that fossil fuels are a finite resource.  Something to think about when you tuck into your next meal.

It you liked the show, please click-through to iTunes using the button below the player, and leave a comment and a rating.  It helps push the show up the iTunes charts where it will reach others who may be thinking of beginning their own simple/sustainable journey.  Every little bit helps.

Also, if you have any questions or observations that you are burning to share, please leave a comment below.  I answer as many as I can and would love to hear from you.

Next week we have our Christmas Special where Kim and I share what we achieved this year, including the highs and lows.  I don’t know if we will be singing this year, but you never know.  I might even belt out a verse or two of a White Christmas, that old Bing favourite that gets a hammering around here at this time of year!

Suburban Food Farm – Summer Fruit

As promised, this post is all about summer fruit, which is something we have in abundance here!

I am so pleased that seven years ago, we decided to plant as many fruit trees as we could possibly fit into our 779²m suburban block.  Only a couple of trees have met their maker, so I would count my fruit-growing as a success.

So what summer fruit do we currently have growing around the garden.  Well let me show you.

Jonathan Apples - summer fruit

Jonathan Apples

No explanation really needed.  These are amazing apples, and we have about 30 on the tree.

Apple and Plum trees

Jonathan Apple (L) and Blood Plum (R) trees

It is on dwarf rootstock, so we have been able to squeeze it in next to the Blood plum tree.  Both are currently being watered with grey water from the washing machine and are thriving because of the regular watering.

Blood Plums - summer fruit

Blood Plums

This is the best crop of plums that we have had in years.  The secret was laziness.  Yes, because of my knee injury in the middle of the year, I just didn’t get around to pruning any of my fruit trees.  Subsequently, they are all heavily laden with fruit.  I was told by a reliable source (Craig Castree) that you prune in the summer for fruit, and winter for growth.  I have come to the realisation that I have been doing it wrong for so many years!

Pepino - summer fruit


The pepino bush has gone wild.  I let it go to see what it would do, because I read somewhere that it was a ground cover.  Well that certainly is true if you look at the photo below.

Pepino bush

Pepino bush

What I have found is that any little branch that comes in contact with soil strikes roots, and therefore it is much greener on the ground than it is climbing a trellis.  Climbing is a poor choice of words, because you have to tie it up, with the bush having no mechanism to hold on.  We have the space on that side, so as it is laden with fruit, I am not going to cut it back yet.

Cocktail Pear - summer fruit

Cocktail Pear

I probably mentioned this somewhere before, but we now have fruit on one of our cocktail pear trees.  Five in total, so hopefully I can keep the pear and cherry slugs off the leaves long enough for them to ripen.

Divinity Apricots - summer fruit


Not a lot of fruit on the Divinity Apricot tree this year as we had a large crop last year.  We are going to net the tree on the weekend.

Sultana - summer fruit


In the pool area we have our grape vines, which although there is no fruit, they are growing very tall now and in the next month will be able to be trained over the arbor.  As well as this Sultana, we have a Ruby red seedless, and two Merlot (for wine making).

ANZAC Peaches - summer fruit

ANZAC Peaches

The ANZAC Peach tree has gone crazy!  Largest peaches ever, which I can only attribute to the grey water that we have been supplying it.  So much fruit that we just had to net it as it was starting to blush.  The last thing we want is to give it all to the rainbow lorikeets.

ANZAC Peaches netted

ANZAC Peaches netted

So on Saturday, Kim, Ben, and I netted the beast of a tree.  It took us about an 45 minutes with a bit of swearing.  It is now so tall that we had to let some branches stick through and close the netting around it.

There are no gaps, but Kim’s peg basket is a little light on, now that we have used about half of them to keep it all together.  I used twine to gather it around the trunk.

ANZAC Peaches Netted Side view

ANZAC Peaches Netted Side view

Here is the side view.  It is also on dwarf rootstock, but you wouldn’t think it.  We are going to have so many peaches!

Goldmine Nectarine - summer fruit

Goldmine Nectarine

Lastly, our Goldmine nectarine tree.  Not as much fruit as last year because I intentionally knocked off every second fruit as they developed.  In 2013 the fruit was so small all we could do was make jam out of them.  There was not enough flesh on the fruit to preserve.

So there you have it.  We have fruit, lots of fruit!  I left a couple of plum trees and an apple tree out, because the photos didn’t turn out very well.

Now what else did I miss?  Well we also have blood oranges, navel oranges, mandarins, lemons, Tahitian limes, and lemonade but I will leave that lot for another post.  They won’t be ready to eat for a few months or until winter, depending on the variety.  Not really summer fruit, so I didn’t show them here.

My fruit tree philosophy is simple.  Get them in the ground, the sooner the better.  Which reminds me of this chinese proverb I read a few years ago;

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

So true.   Get planting!

What sort of fruit trees do you have planted in your yard, or what are you planning to plant?

How to Move Away From Plastic

Plastic is everywhere.

Just take a second to look around you and I bet you spot at least 10 objects that have plastic on or in them.  Case in point, I am typing this blog post on a plastic computer keyboard, pointing with my plastic mouse, and editing the words with my plastic computer monitor.

It is everywhere and that is not a particularly good thing.  There are many types of plastic, usually numbered from 1 to 7 to indicate the composition of the item made from it.

Plastic Recycling Codes

Plastic codes and common uses

Many petroleum-based plastics take many, many years to break down in the environment around them.  In truth, they don’t really break down, they just shatter into smaller pieces and persist in our soils, waterways, and oceans and killing wildlife when they ingest these pieces.  Compostable plastics are now entering the marketplace, but still in very low volumes.  These are usually made from plant starches and breakdown over a few years.

There are so many simple ways to make the move away from plastic easier.  Refusing to buy food in plastic containers is one of the easiest I can think of, which also includes disposable coffee cups; even the paper ones that are lined with plastic.  Ironically, I use a KeepCup.  Although it is made from plastic, it is better than using disposables, and can be used over and over and recycled at the end of its life.

Plastic shopping bags are easy to refuse.  Take along your own canvas or market bags to the shop.  We always have a bundle of canvas bags in the boot of our car for such a purpose.  If you do get given a plastic shopping bag, you can recycle them at our major supermarkets as well as other soft plastics.

If you do get stuck without an alternative to plastic, make sure you recycle the item.  So much recyclable plastic gets thrown into landfill.  Recycled plastic can be turned into things like ceiling insulation, park benches, thermal filler in jackets, and all sorts of useful things.  Curbside recycling is available in most suburbs in most cities in Australia, so there is no real reason not to recycle these items.  There are now even many recycling bins on our city streets.

By taking small steps to move away from plastic is an easy way to start, and poses less of an impact on the environment.  All I ask is take the time to think about the plastic you use in your daily lives, then consider an alternative solution.

Now as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so during my research for this post, I came across the infographic below.  Even though it has stats for the United States, much of it is similar for Australia and other western countries.  From what I can tell, the volumes are way higher than here in Oz, but the percentages are similar.   Check it out.  Some of the information will astound you!

Click to Enlarge Image

Put Down The Plastic

Put Down The Plastic
Infographic by CustomMade

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