How we Grow

How we grow it

We grow everything using organic, bio-dynamic and natural farming practices and have recently achieved organic certification with National Association of Sustainable Agriculture Australia [NASAA].

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

1. The structure and fertility of the soil. Our key source of soil improver is compost made on farm, but we also plant green manure crops such as Dunn peas for nitrogen and fibre to feed the living soil. We allow fallow times and rotate crops. Because we have mineral rich but acidic clay soils, we add lime and sand to improve the soil structure and ph balance to make the minerals more available to the plants and improve 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 availability and micro climates. When preparing our whole farm plan, a long time was spent studying our farm’s micro climate to understand where cropping plants, animals and native vegetation should be placed. We’re installing dripper lines for fruit trees and have put in sprinkler systems for row crop areas and apply compost and mulch to maintain moisture during key stages in growing cycles. We’ve modified the landscape to improve water management and productivity, and increase biodiversity.

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 seen a row 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 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 consideration for longer term storage early in the growing cycle. Our waste produce is composted to complete the growing cycle.

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)