At the moment (or just finished in the last month or so):
- pumpkins (about 11 large jarrah and 13 butternuts)
- corn (wasn't a great crop but still tasty)
- tomatoes (loads of tomatoes, all from volunteer plants)
- beans (though the birds are decimating the plants)
- kaffir lime
- lemon grass
And there's a few edible weeds I leave in the garden:
- wood sorrel
- gotu kola
There's probably more I've missed too.
I mostly follow the One Straw Revolution approach. I try not to dig the soil, or to add too much stuff to the soil (once it's set up and can take care of itself, though I do add some stuff to set up the garden bed initially).
When the soil is covered in living mulch I also generally don't water (though I do water if I feel it necessary, due to the soil being exposed).
I prepared the area to the right level (terraced, with rock walls), then brought in trailer loads of free mulch from the tip (although paid the 6 dollars to get them to load it into the trailer with the loader because it's quick and good value, it's free if you load it yourself). and covered all the gardens in a really thick layer.
I scattered a little bit of the original clay/sand soil over the mulch and raked it in (to add some minerals and water holding abilities from the clay, and some drainage and structure with the sand).
Then I gave the new soil/mulch a dose of blood and bone, blood meal, seasol, and a wetting agent.
Some of the garden also got a layer of sugarcane mulch on top, just to top it all off and make it look nicer. Plus it's good mulch.
The top layer of the mulch is dry (usually) and protects the soil. The layer underneath that has already started breaking down into nice humus.
What is considered "mulch" from the tip is half compost. It is already half decomposed (which is good).
Most of those gardens were then covered in pumpkins, corn, and a few other easy things to grow. It's ready now to be planted out again for autumn and winter crops.
I can usually just go and stick my hand into the soil, and pull up a handful, because it's quite loose and airy.
The soil that was there before, no chance of me digging it just with my hands.
When I do that (to see what the soil is like underneath) I almost always see loads of white myceleum, and I'm trying not to disturb it, because that's what will break down the woody part of the mulch/compost.
I also see the mushrooms popping up everywhere. I'll try to get photos sometime so we can ID them.
There's also loads of worm in it, which must have come up from underground.
The myceleum and the worms are my farm hands. They do all the work so I don't have to.
The pumpkins did amazingly well. Some of the other stuff suffered from nitrogen deficiency (which is expected initially as the woody mulch breaks down, and which is why I added blood meal and blood and bone).
It should just keep getting better and better as it breaks down, to feed the soil.
I will add... what I need to do now is go and cut all the finished plants back (such as corn), chop it up roughly, then either scatter it all over the garden (to become new mulch) or make piles of it throughout the garden (to become compost heaps).
This process of constantly adding mulch, which becomes compost, on top of the garden (rather than in a separate location) is what I believe is the backbone of the One Straw Revolution approach.
Mulch is the key (just like in the rainforest).
Once the garden stabilises, that mulch should be the only thing you add to the soil (except maybe seeds).
Shouldn't need water, fertilizer, compost, etc. Shouldn't even really need seeds if you let stuff self seed.