How we Grow

How we grow it

We grow everything using organic, bio-dynamic, permaculture and regenerative farming practices. In 2014 we achieved full Organic Certification with National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia (NASAA) and are NCO producer number 3815.

We have a staged process for when and where we plant, nurture, harvest and process our produce:

1. Build the structure and fertility of the soil. Our key sources to build and improve or soil  is our compost made on farm and green manure crops to add nitrogen and barley for fibre to feed the living soil. Our green manure seed mix combines legumes such as Dunn peas and Lupins with fibre plants like barley and sorghum. We allow for fallow times and rotate crops. Because we have mineral rich but acidic clay soils, we apply a mix of aged rice hulls, gypsum and compost. We usually spread this mix as a topping on our row crops. This blocks weeds whilst improving the soil structure and ph balance and as it weathers it makes minerals more available to the plants and improves water permeability.

2. Seasonality. We see evidence of climate change all around us, and are monitoring the markers of seasonal changes – things such as native plant flowering and insects rising, and overall weather patterns, temperature and rainfall.

3. Water flow and availability and micro climates. When preparing our whole farm plan, a long time was spent studying our farm’s micro climate to work out where cropping plants, animals and native vegetation should be placed. Over the seasons we observed water flows across the land to understand where it became waterlogged in winter and where it dried out first in summer. We’ve modified the landscape both by hand and with machinery so as to improve water flows and management and increase biodiversity and productivity. We’ve repaired on-farm dams and installed dripper lines for fruit trees and set up sprinkler systems for row crop areas. We apply compost and mulch to maintain moisture during key stages in growing cycles.

4. Suitability of the plant for the location. Not only what we are planting, but what other plants grow in the area and the insects that can affect our crops are also considered. Being organic we look carefully at pest and disease control and use only natural methods. A weed is a plant in the wrong location at the wrong time. For example, a pest insect may be a food source for another creature. We strive for a balance, rather than a sterile planting environment. Companion planting principles have much to offer – for example aphids don’t like garlic, so the drip line of fruit trees are planted out with a circle of garlic.

5. Time for planting. Just as the seasonal cycle is important, the lunar cycle also provides a finer tune for timing the various stages in growing of crops – indicating optimum time for cultivating, planting as well as weeding. The lunar cycle informs when to plant leaf and fruiting crops, and bulb and rooted plants. We’ve had rows where half was planted in the ‘optimum’ time and half in the ‘barren’ time of the lunar cycle grow with remarkable difference in vigour and productivity.

6. Harvesting, processing and storage. Our aim is to get our fresh produce direct to the consumer quickly for maximum freshness. We avoid using plastics, and wherever possible use natural materials for packaging. Some crops such as garlic and pome fruit [apples and pears] require longer term storage. Our waste produce is composted to complete the growing cycle. We value-add much of what we grow as key ingredients in our range of 22 Certified Organic sauces, marmalades, jams, pickles, chutneys and relishes. 

Books we find really helpful in organic farming

Australia and New Zealand Organic Gardening by Peter Bennett (first published 1979)
WEEDS Guardians of The Soil by Joseph A Cocannouer (first published The Devin-Adair Co.1950)
Companion Plants and how to use them by Helen Philbrick and Richard B. Gregg (Watkins, London first published 1966)
The Complete Book of Garlic by Ted Jordan Meredith (Timber Press 2008)
The New Organic Gardener by Tim Marshall (ABC Books 2011)