Resources

Books

There are probably millions of gardening-related books out there, far too many to list here. I will however recommend that, if at all possible, you look for books that have been written for your climatic area/zone. For instance, I live in sub-tropical Queensland, so anything written for a cool or temperate zone is going to have the wrong advice in it regarding what to grow when – eg we grow things like broccoli and potatoes through winter, not summer, because we don’t get frost and our summers are too harsh for these temperate vegetables. Also, it warms early here, so we can get away with planting ‘summer’ crops like corn and pumpkins as early as August, and thus give us multiple crops through the warm growing season. People in temperate zones can’t do this unless they start the seedlings off inside a greenhouse first and plant out after the last risk of frost has passed.

Unfortunately, most of Australia’s population resides in south-eastern Australia, with a cool, temperate or cool-arid climate so most books will focus on these climate zones. So be aware, sub-tropical or tropical gardeners!

If you’re looking for expertise outside south-eastern Australia, do what I did and watch/read Gardening Australia. They have ‘experts’ from around the country and many of these have written their own books. For a sub-tropical area, I look towards the likes of Jerry Colby-Williams and Annette McFarlane. Annette has also written many books on sub-tropical gardening (some are listed below) and has a radio segment every Saturday morning. Both of these gardening celebrities live in Brisbane.

Having said this, some of my everyday go-to collection includes:

Organic Vegetable Gardening, by Annette McFarlane

Organic Fruit Growing, by Annette McFarlane

Vegie Patch: How to grow your own food, by Alan Buckingham, with Australian Consultant Jennifer Wilkinson

Grow Vegetables: Gardens, courtyards, verandahs, balconies, by Alan Buckingham, with Australian Consultant Jennifer Wilkinson

Grow Fruit: Gardens, courtyards, verandahs, balconies, by Alan Buckingham, with Australian Consultant Jennifer Wilkinson

Companion Planting, by Brenda Little

Australian Gardening Calendar: What to do in your garden each month, produced by Penguin Books

Growing Herbs: Herbs for all seasons. Grow, harvest, use, by Meredith Kirton and Dr Judyth McLeod for Murdoch Books

Growing Vegetables: Vegetables for all seasons. Grow, harvest, use, by Steven Bradley, John Fenton-Smith, et al, for Murdoch Books

Easy Organic Gardening and Moon Planting, by Lyn Bagnall

A History of Kitchen Gardening, by Susan Campbell

Kitchen Gardens of Australia: Eighteen productive gardens for inspiration and practical advice, by Kate Herd

Down-to-Earth Garden Design: How to design and build your dream garden, by Phil Dudman, published by Gardening Australia

Composting: The ultimate organic guide to recycling your garden, by Tim Marshall, published by Gardening Australia

No-Dig Gardening: How to create an instant, low-maintenance garden, by Allen Gilbert, published by Gardening Australia

Habitat Garden: Attracting wildlife to your garden, by Peter Grant, published by Gardening Australia

Creating an Australian Garden, by Angus Stewart

Small Native Plants for Australian Gardens, by Nola Parry and Jocelyn Jones

Practical Self Sufficiency: An Australian guide to sustainable living, by Dick and James Strawbridge (Note: Dick and James live in the UK, so although not all the information will be relevant to your climate zone, overall it’s still quite an interesting and useful book)

More heavy-duty permaculture and market gardening reads include:

Permaculture in a Nutshell, by Patrick Whitefield

Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture, by Rosemary Morrow

Permaculture Principles & Pathways Beyond Sustainability, by David Holmgren

Retrosuburbia: The downshifter’s guide to a resilient future, by David Holmgren

The Market Gardener: A successful grower’s handbook for small-scale organic farming, by Jean-Martin Fortier

The Permaculture Market Garden: A visual guide to a profitable whole-systems farm business, by Zach Loeks

Regarding native stingless bees and honey bees:

The Australian Native Bee Book: Keeping stingless bee hives for pets, pollination and sugarbag honey, by Tim Heard

Australian Stingless Bees: A guide to sugarbag beekeeping, by John Klumpp

Backyard Bees: A guide for the beginner beekeeper, by Doug Purdie

The Bee Friendly Garden: Easy ways to help the bees and make your garden grow, by Doug Purdie

(The links above are (mostly) for BookDepository.com, which is the cheapest source I could find, but most of these books are also available in ABC stores/online, bookstores such as QBD, as well as occasionally in stores such as Big W, Post Offices and Aldi)

Magazines

When I was first starting out and learning as much as I could to try to grow something, anything at all, the Gardening Australia and Organic Gardener (OG) magazines were absolutely invaluable.

A few years ago, however, I made the hard decision to stop following Gardening Australia (a few issues I received seemed to have more ads than articles, and I don’t buy a magazine to look at the glossy ads …) and instead focus on OG, Pip and Warm Earth (Australian permaculture magazines), Junkies, for all your upcycling pleasure, and Peppermint magazine, which is awesome if you’re wanting to learn about new sustainable enterprises, products and charities – it would have to be one of my fave magazines now.

Warm Earth, unfortunately, has now gone out of print, and I’ve also stopped my subscription to OG, for the aforementioned ads:articles ratio. I now focus primarily on Pip and Peppermint. These are always extremely informative and well worth the read.

I would also recommend the Earth Garden and Grass Roots magazines. I usually only buy these when there appears to be articles that I’m interested in, but this does seem to be more often than not.

For a few years, I was also subscribing to Sanctuary magazine, which looks at ‘sustainable’ housing and innovations. I’ve put ‘sustainable’ in inverted commas because they seem to have a differing opinion of what ‘sustainable’ is compared to what I do; it’s great that they show all these beautiful houses with solar on the roof or passive heating/cooling technologies, but the houses are all still massive/way larger than necessary, usually on a postage-stamp-sized lot or on acreage that is just mown lawn and not being used for anything productive, so to me, they’re only ‘sustainable’ in looks.

Webpages

I don’t tend to use webpages a lot – I like to be able to take the book or magazine out onto the patio to read/research something – but if I do want to quickly look up a topic, I head straight to the Gardening Australia website. You can search for anything on this site and they’re bound to have a few articles on the topic.