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Is your garden’s soil laced with herbicide?

Tim sansom discusses the idea of creating your own soil by composting and growing green manures at home.

Years ago, I helped run a community permaculture garden in Bendigo, Central Victoria.

We established a market garden on a disused football ground, which had very poor soil for growing vegetables. Being resourceful permaculturalists, we contacted the local council and a number of local mowing contractors seeking donations of ‘green waste’. We soon had truckloads of autumn leaves and piles of grass clippings – perfect ingredients for our composting program. We made hundreds of cubic metres of compost that built the garden. We never stopped to think of the source of the material we were bringing in and what might have been sprayed on the lawns and streets where the leaves and clippings came from.

When I heard recently that hundreds of home gardeners in Melbourne and Central Victoria had discovered that active traces of broadleaf herbicides were deforming and killing their home-grown crops, and the source of the issue was traced back to commercial compost made from green waste, I got to wondering if the nutrient issues we were experiencing in some of our crops back then may have been caused by the same thing.

The presence of selective broadleaf herbicides in garden soil being sold through garden centres highlights an issue that concerns all gardeners who want to grow organic food in chemical free gardens.

Do you know what materials are being used to create the garden soil you buy to fill your new raised garden or top up your vegie beds? The fact is, at the moment there is little control of the inputs for garden soil production and regulation is still catching up, so it’s a bit ‘buyer beware’ out there.

If you can, it’s best to create your own soil by composting and growing green manures at home – that way you know where all the ingredients come from.

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Member Exclusives
GERANIUM 'WHITE GUERNSEY' 3 PACK
GERANIUM 'WHITE GUERNSEY' 3 PACK
PLANTS: WGMW3
A cool-white selection of giant geranium with large incised palmate leaves up to 25cm across, topped by a huge bouquet of abundant starry white flowers with subtle pink centres from late winter to Christmas. Rarely offered (you'll never see this one in the box stores), it is an eye-catching feature in moist, sunny or part shaded areas protected ...
Member $12.00
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SEED POTATO - GAMBLERS CHOICE
SEED POTATO - GAMBLERS CHOICE
BULBS: TMINI
When there are too many varieties to choose from, let us make the decision for you. This Gamblers Choice collection of potatoes includes 4 bags of spuds, and what you get... well, that’s in the hands of our potato pickers. You’ll receive four different varieties in individually labelled bags. End of season line so stock is limited. (4 pack)
Member $24.95
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2 year membership  + Free Seed Sowing Poster and 2 seed packets
2 year membership + Free Seed Sowing Poster and 2 seed packets
Membership: MNE2SP2
A beautifully illustrated heirloom ‘sow what when’ poster for all areas of Australia so that you'll never have to think about what to sow this month again! You will also receive some free Kale 'Red Russian' and Broccoli 'Green Sprouting' seeds to get your garden started.
Member $79.00
Non-Member $79.00
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