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Learn how to build habitats that thrive alongside you in the book.

The Garden

from what you put in, to what you get out

While the concept of rewilding may initially sound like a return to hardcore hunting and gathering, in today’s modern times perhaps its essence is more a reconnection to the natural environment that supports us all – a yearning to grow and make your own, to be self-reliant or ‘less dependent’. Imagine a life where individuals and families strive to towards minimalism and return to village-style living where bartering, sharing with others and pay-it-forward attitudes are more ingrained.

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Compost is life

Rich soil, healthy garden, full vitality

It is possible to create living soil in your own backyard. Healthy soil = Healthy plants.

Composting is all about creating the right balance of ingredients and managing the right conditions for organic matter to decompose and return to the soil, just as they do in nature. Finished compost is dark and rich in colour with a pleasant, earthy smell and is easily applied to the garden by working into the soil or blending through seed-raising and potting mixes. 

Compost plays a huge role in our lives here on the farm. There is always at least one large hot compost pile cooking away. This is mostly made from Large loads of dairy manure and local woodchip, watered by a high-volume hose and aerated by turning with the baby tractor or excavator. 

The good news is there are composting methods suitable for everyone, no matter where you live. 

What can I compost?

There is a long list of items suitable for the compost, the general rule is if it came from a natural source, it is suitable for composting.

The key components are:

  • Carbon- includes brown or dry materials.

  • Nitrogen- includes green or moisture retaining materials.

  • Oxygen or aeration aids the decomposition process and can be achieved by turning, forking, or tumbling.

  • Moisture in the right amounts to maintain activity without being too wet and causing anaerobic (no air) conditions.

  • Bacteria and Fungi help break down the material and help to decompose woody material.

hands holding a mint seedling and rich soil grown using anna axisa's 5 top tips for seed r

Seed Saving

sow your best growers every year, and save money!

Saving your own seeds involves collecting the seeds from your home-grown, edible vegetables and herbs. You allow the best plants from certain produce to flower and 'go to seed' and then you collect the pods. Saving seeds provides any gardener with great value, and saves you money you would have spent buying seedlings or new seeds. Plus, you reduce the negative impact associated with the packaging, distribution and production of conventional seed or seedlings. Seeds that you save are broken up into three types:

Dry seed crops

Dry seed crops are plants that flower then produce seeds. For example, broccoli and beets. Harvest as soon as the seed is brown and dry and store them in a paper bag or bowl.

Wet seed crops

These are seeds that are wet as they have been collected from inside mature fruit of things like pumpkins, zuchini's and cucumbers. Rinse well and dry on paper towel before storing.


Some seeds, such as tomatoes, need to be fermented before drying. Soak them in water and leave for a few days, stirring regularly before you strain and dry them for storage.

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Our garden

Take a little tour of our garden

Browse the photos,  and go on a walk around our homestead with me. If you want regular updates about our produce and how our garden is growing check out the facebook group where I regularly share tips, crop information and updates about how our little patch of eden is coming along.

Our mountainside property design

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Artwork by Brenna Quinlan for the Homegrown Healthy Living book

  1. Driveway entry and road access around property.

  2. Drop off point for dump trucks delivering compostable resources such as wood chip, sawdust and dairy manure.

  3. Multi-level compost terraces incorporating pig and chicken systems. Piles at different stages. Nutrient run-off is directed onto grazing terraces below.

  4. Tropical tree plantings.

  5. Beehives face north, bees pollinate crops and surplus honey is harvested.

  6. Grazing terraces.

  7. The homestead and kitchen garden, featuring medicinal herbs, flowers, perennials and seasonal crops. Social areas, children’s entertainment and temporary worm-packing shed.

  8. Tank water storage. Solar powered pump transports water from large capacity dams to fill. Water is fed back down the hillside by gravity, to service lower systems including gardens, animals and worm production. 

  9. Small herd mixed species grazing, holistically managed, using solar powered electric fencing.

  10. Intensive garden terrace features 14 netted raised beds for pest sensitive annual vegetable crops. Embankments planted out with fruiting trees including tropical peaches and apples, nectarines and berries.

  11. Animal shelter/milking shed.

  12. Food forest. Ducks provide fertiliser, natural pest control and meat and eggs.

  13. Chain of ponds. Terraces slope slightly backwards and in towards a central gully. Small ponds start high in the gully and flow into each other, connecting with the large dam below.

  14. Worm cultivation. Windrow mounds on the ground are covered by shade cloth material.

  15. Small gully ponds, or charge points, slow the water after rain, holding it in the landscape for longer (water retention). Surrounding vegetation creates an edge for biodiversity.

  16. The largest dam, the family’s favourite place to hang out, canoe and catch fish.

  17. Fruiting trees.

  18. Nutrient rich water cycles through the worm system and irrigates trees, crops and pasture.

  19. Lower pastured areas for cell grazing.

  20. Seasonal creek at the bottom property boundary.

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Tumeric Harvesting!

We've been harvesting lots of turmeric here on the homestead I never get sick of that beautiful orange-yellow colour. Did you know it comes from natural occurring curcumin which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties?

Turmeric Tips:

  • If you will be using the turmeric sometime soon, take straight to the kitchen. There is no need to let the skins harden off. This is only if you are storing for an extended time.

  • I usually don't harvest all the turmeric from the garden, that way I know it’s there each year without any input.

  • When planting Turmeric, mulch well and keep the soil moist but not too wet. You can also plant in a pot if space is limited.

  • You can dry turmeric and ground into a powder to store. Research suggests medicinal benefits are greater when consumed fresh.

I have recipes for use, tips for growing and a whole section on Turmeric in the book (page 143) if you want to know more.

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