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It's all in a day's work for Innes Park gardener

ORGANIC GARDEN: Innes Park resident Jassy Watson supplements her kitchen with food from her organic garden. Photo taken 14 August, 2014. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
ORGANIC GARDEN: Innes Park resident Jassy Watson supplements her kitchen with food from her organic garden. Photo taken 14 August, 2014. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet BUNGAR

INNES Park mum Jassy Watson calls herself a lazy gardener, but she often manages to feed her family from what she grows in her backyard.

Mrs Watson prides herself on the organic gardening she does at home, which bans the use of pesticides.

"I have a rule if too many pests come the balance of the garden is out," she said.

While her garden may look untidy to many people, it is a deliberate technique to protect the plants.

"I don't garden in neat rows because that attracts the pests," she said.

"I put flowers and veges together so the bugs get confused."

One of her strategies to confuse pests is to grow nasturtiums, which attract the "bad bugs" away from her crops.

She also deliberately plants some flowers that attract the good bugs.

"Queen Anne's Lace attracts bugs that prey on other bugs," she said.

I don't garden in neat rows because that attracts the pests.

Mrs Watson has a rotation system in her garden, planting new vegetables and flowers in a different area for each new season.

"It takes about a year to work out the seasons and when the pests come," she said.

Mrs Watson is a firm believer in doing her gardening by the phases of the moon.

"There was a full moon last weekend, so you have this small window of opportunity before or after the full moon to plant for a spring harvest," she said.

Mrs Watson says she experiments to find the plants that grow best in Bundaberg's sub-tropical climate.

"I grow beans and lettuce," she said.

"I've also had a lot of success with root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, kohl rabi, swedes and turnips," she said.

But it's not all rosy in the garden - Mrs Watson said she had a lot of trouble growing pumpkins.

Mrs Watson composts as much as she can from her garden, but says she has a cold compost system.

"It's a cold compost system because I'm a lazy gardener and I don't turn it," she said.

One of the most important aspects of an organic garden is building up the soil.

"It's like making lasagne," she said

Mrs Watson said she started with newspaper, then layers of gypsum, blood and bone, straw, manure, straw, good organic soil mix, then more manure, blood and bone and worm castings.

"I love it so much, it's great to be able to go out and pick something for the family," she said.

One of her techniques is to let some vegetables go to seed and self-seed.

"The other day I discovered a whole bed of lettuce I never planted," she said.

"At the end of every three months I harvest, then let the chooks in a chook rotator so I can move them all around the garden."

While she lives on an acre of ground, Mrs Watson said anybody could grow food, even in a small space.

"You can do it on a balcony or a small backyard," she said.

Instead of growing out, you can grow up, using pots and Styrofoam boxes.

"You can grow anything in pots, even pumpkins."

Mrs Watson uses anything that will hold soil to grow here vegetables.

"I go into the garage and if I see something that's broken or getting rusty I start to wonder if I can use it," she said.

She uses tubs with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage to grow herbs close to the house.

Mrs Watson said summer was too hot, and she would let most of her garden rest then.

"I challenge myself, and I think what can I make tonight with what I've got," she said.

She also keeps ducks and chickens, which end up in the pot.

"The ultimate is to make a whole meal out of the garden," she said.

Topics:  gardening, local faces



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