Raised Planter Boxes

The cooler months are great for growing vegies in containers because the mix doesn't dry out so quickly. Lettuce, spinach, pak choy and other leafy greens do really well, as do beets, carrots, shallots, radishes, potatoes and dwarf peas. These all need a container that's at least 30cm deep and 30-40cm wide. Cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower will grow in containers too but their roots need plenty of room, so just grow one plant per pot, and use a pot that's 40cm wide or larger.

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Fill containers with a premium potting mix that has some fertiliser added. Keep the mix moist and apply a liquid fertiliser every 7-10 days.

Left A lot of winter vegies are highly ornamental and look great in both beds and pots. Below Raised beds improve drainage and are easy to make using untreated, recycled timber. Are repeated, like a lasagne. Use what’s available grass clippings, fallen leaves, weeds, shredded paper and cardboard and chopped up prunings.

If you need to bring in extra organic material, pick up some cow or sheep manure, lucerne, straw, or tree-lopper’s mulch. Variety is the key. It’s also worth sprinkling some blood and bone every few layers, as well as rock mineral fertiliser, to provide additional nutrients. You need to give the layers a good soaking as you’re building them up.

For new beds, start by totally covering the ground to smother the grass, overlapping sheets of newspaper about 10 sheets thick, then build your layers to a height of 50cm or so. This sounds like a lot, but it slumps quickly. On existing beds, pile materials straight on top to about 20-30cm high. Top the lot with straw mulch, and when you’re ready to plant, make pockets in the mulch layer, fill them with compost and plant into that.

Sugar gliders and other wildlife can struggle to find shelter in tree hollows, but nest boxes are a good alternative, writes LEONARD CRONIN

Tree hollows are in short supply throughout Australia, and that means there is a dire housing shortage for a lot of our native animals. Possums, gliders, parrots, bats, owls, frogs and skinks use tree hollows for shelter, roosting or breeding sites.

It takes more than 100 years for trees to develop hollows large enough to support native wildlife, yet these old trees are becoming increasingly rare as they are removed for urban development, roads, farming and forestry operations.

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