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Patch from scratch

Patch from scratch

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Catch up with Patch from Scratch winner Alex Gordon as she talks about the makeover experience with Simon Marnie on 702 ABC Radio Sydney.

Patch from Scratch winners, the Gordon family of Sydney, are featured in the July/August issue of Organic Gardener magazine. To read their full story pick up a copy from your local newsagent, ABC Shops and Centres, or online here.

Here’s a flashback to when we announced the winners.

And the winner is…

After many hours poring over all the wonderful entries to our Patch from Scratch competition we have chosen a winner. Drumroll please…the Gordon family of Dulwich Hill in NSW has won a Patch from Scratch garden makeover from the team at Organic Gardener magazine and Milkwood Permaculture. We’d like to thank all our prize donors (listed below) and everyone who entered the competition. Five runners-up (listed at the end of this page) will each win a one year subscription to Organic Gardener magazine. Stay tuned for progress updates on the makeover, the big reveal in 2015 and meet the winners in our January/February issue, on sale December 4th.

Meet the people who are going to help transform the Gordon’s patch from scratch into an edible paradise. 

Consultation, design, plans and Serious Backyard Vegie Growing Course from Milkwood Permaculture 

Founded in 2007 by Nick Ritar and Kirsten Bradley (pictured), Milkwood is a social enterprise dedicated to skills for smart, simple, regenerative living. “We thrive on sharing practical skills and knowledge that can help individuals and communities move towards a mode of living that’s ethical, abundant, and deeply hands-on,” says Kirsten.


Rainwater Storage from Bushmans

Rainwater is necessary for a healthy garden; it provides a ready source of water which keeps plants and vegetables thriving. Water tanks have become an essential part of the garden in urban and rural areas and Australia’s leading poly tank manufacturer, Bushman Tanks, has been making quality tanks for over 25 years. Bushmans water tanks have been installed in many urban homes as well as the outback where tank water is often the only water available. When deciding on what rainwater tank to install the key things to consider are the amount of water required, the roof area available for rainwater harvesting and the tank location. Bushmans has lots of expert advice on their website which is a great help in tank selection.


Searles Garden soil mix and 5 IN 1 Organic plant food

Registered Australian Organic, Searles Garden Soil Mix is an excellent blend of composted ingredients including real organic compost, organic animal manures, rainforest mulch and leaf mould, washed river sand and high quality loam. The end product is ready to use in garden beds and landscaping jobs, for building up existing gardens beds, breaking up heavy clay soils or improving sandy, deficient soils and very importantly, adding valuable humus. It has very good moisture holding capacity, contains a rich source of essential nutrients, trace elements and assists plant growth – making gardening easier and more successful in many ways. Also BFA certified is Searles 5 in 1 Organic Plant Food. This product promotes strong, healthy plant growth, healthy veggies and better flowering. Because it is in an organic form, when organic fertilisers are subsequently applied, the existing humus and organic material store the new nutrients resulting in a ‘slow release’ effect. Chemical fertilisers have a tendency to leach away very quickly.


Worm habitat & 1000 worms proudly donated by Worms Down Under

Worms Downunder provides solutions for householders and organisations to process their organic waste and create nutrient rich soil products. Worms Downunder manufactures a range of small scale Worm Habitats through to large scale composters which allow waste to be sustainably processed. They also supply worms and high quality worm products which promote excellent plant growth for a healthy organic garden.


V-garden vertical growing system

Sydney landscape architect Steve Batley drew on his 20 years of experience as a landscape architect, permaculture designer and organic gardener to create the perfect vertical garden for Australian conditions. About 5 years ago, after trialling several vertical gardens, I realised that the existing options were not user friendly and unsuitable for the backyard gardener,” Steve says. “I wanted to create a vertical garden that was accessible to everybody – attractive, easy to install and easy to look after, to enable people with no gardening experience to grow lush healthy plants organically.”


Organic seedlings from Wormticklers

Jordan Sly started Wormticklers almost by accident. “My grandfather was a grower so I developed a passion for plants when I was a little boy. I just loved hanging out with him in his patch. We used to go and collect trailer loads of horse manure on the outskirts of Canberra,  “black-gold” he called it thinking he was very funny. Though I didn’t get it at the time I do now. About 4 years ago I enrolled and completed my Permaculture Design Certificate at Milkwood Permaculture. This ignited my green thumb in a massive way and I set out around the world Wwoofing, studying and getting inspired: from harvesting rice in Vietnam, working here in Sydney with councils on “grow it local”  and a stint in a commercial nursery. The the penny dropped: there were no decent quality seedlings available, only chemical-ridden from a weak seed, grown out of season or grown too hot in greenhouses and not hardened off…. And so much plastic!! So I decided to set up my own greenhouse and nursery using permaculture priciples and organic techniques and Wormticklers was born.”


Taj Mahal chook house from Backyard Chicken Coops

Backyard Chicken Coops is run by poultry enthusiasts who design, manufacture and sell beautiful backyard chook houses. They also sell other great poultry products that’ll keep your flock healthy and happy, and your life as a chicken keeper a breeze – such as automatic door openers.

Check out their website Learning Centre for handy hints and helpful articles about chicken keeping (for both beginners to seasoned enthusiasts), as well as information on gardening, landscaping, recipes, fresh produce and much more.




Treadle chook feeder from Red Comb Chook Feeders

The overall health of your backyard flock is very important. Keeping their feed safe from rats, birds and mice is crucial as pests spoil feed with their urine and faeces, bringing unwanted disease into your chicken house. A Red Comb Australian-made step-on chook feeder solves this problem by keeping pests out.



Raised garden beds from Birdies Garden Products

Grow your own at home with Birdies heritage range of veggie beds. Made using Australian certified grown white cypress timber, the beds are naturally termite resistant, chemical free and easy to assemble.



Two heritage hens plus feed from New Leaf nursery

New Leaf Nursery specialises in sustainable living that is fun for the whole family.  With a great range of backyard pets, including heritage hens, they also stock edible and landscaping plants (including natives), raised beds and other garden  products, plus they offer a free in-house consultation service.



Custom-made herb planters from Bondi’s Fresh Prince

Fresh Prince was born from a passion for home grown food and good design. Founder Richie Northcott (aka Fresh Prince) believes everyone can grow their own food and his hand-crafted, self-watering planter boxes are designed to make this a reality.

(Photo: Alana Dimou for Broadsheet)



$150 gift voucher from GreenHarvest

Greenharvest is a comprehensive Australian source of organic gardening supplies including seeds, tools, books, natural pest control and more, encouraging food growing within communities, schools and at home.





 $50 gift pack from Netpro

Never spray again with the garden net combo from Netpro. Suitable for both beginner and established gardens alike this gift pack includes: weedmat (2mx5m), birdnet (5mx5m), vegenet (yes, it excludes fruit-fly!) (2.87mx5m), and a free guide to using these products effectively.




Membership, fruit trees and seeds from The Diggers Club

The Diggers Club is here to help Australians grow beautiful and productive gardens. We offer a huge range of heirloom vegetable and cottage flower seeds, flowering perennials and incredible edibles that can be delivered direct to your door. Our six magazines covers the big issues affecting gardeners and offer practical gardening advice. By supporting The Diggers Club you are supporting The Diggers Garden and Environment Trust, a charitable trust that aims to preserve the best gardening traditions.



 A year’s supply of Seasol and Seasol PowerFeed

Since 1974 Seasol has manufactured and marketed organic liquid seaweed and environmentally friendly fertilisers. Seasol is derived from a blend of the finest brown kelps, sourced and harvested sustainably from around the world: King Island Bull Kelp (Durvillaea potatorum) from Australia¹s Southern Ocean and Knotted Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) from the North Atlantic Ocean. Seasol’s garden product range is scientifically proven to promote strong healthy growth in all plants. From the signature garden health treatment Seasol, a liquid plant tonic to organic and organically based fertilisers, soil conditioners and innovative water saving products, Seasol makes it possible to create a beautiful, productive garden in any soil types.


Automatic solar-powered watering system by Irrigatia

Irrigatia makes an innovative watering system suitable for all small watering jobs. Chris Beardall said “My brother invented the system in the UK and talked me into trying one out in my garden just before Black Saturday. I was astonished at the difference it made and resolved to provide every gardener in Australia with one!” The system waters everything from living walls to vegetable gardens, automatically every three hours whether you are home or on holiday and adjusts the water delivery to the weather conditions so that you always get the right amount, without wasting a drop.




Five runners-up will each win a one year subscritpion to Organic Gardener magazine:

Michelle Perisic, Wembly Downs WA

Jodi Phillip, Panania NSW

Tess Ley, Elwood VIC

Jacquelyn-Ann Lawrence, Melton West, VIC

Helen Oakey, O’Connor ACT