Gar­den­ing with bul­locks

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR BACKYARD - Shirley Way

FIONA Mor­ris’s or­ganic gar­den has evolved from chaos to the ap­pear­ance of or­der since it was first planted five years ago.

The one-time pad­dock at Glene­den Or­ganic Farm was fenced by her hus­band Rohan, who is known for his work­ing bul­lock team.

“(Rohan) ploughed it up with the bul­locks for me, which was very en­ter­tain­ing as I’m not heavy enough to stand on the end of the plough,” Ms Mor­ris said.

“There were no es­tab­lished beds – we just planted a row of this and a row of that (and) mulched the whole thing.”

A cou­ple of years later, Ms Mor­ris de­cided to cre­ate beds and re­gain con­trol of the gar­den.

Chook poo mixed with saw­dust has been spread thinly over each bed, with the mix­ture not strong enough to burn the plants.

“I put mulch over the top and wa­tered it re­ally well,” she said.

Be­tween each bed is a thick layer of pa­per cov­ered with two inches of un­treated saw­dust from Slack’s Sawmill to de­ter the couch grass and to keep the mois­ture in.

“I re­cover the paths ev­ery six to 12 months, and the beds, be­cause they’re so thick with mulch I don’t re­ally have a big weed prob­lem.”

Ms Mor­ris said the gar­den has thrived on “chaos the­ory” with­out chem­i­cals and fer­tilis­ers.

“I don’t re­ally have an or­der of ro­ta­tion – I go with chaos the­ory,” she said.

“I think it re­ally de­ters peo­ple if it’s too or­dered.

“The only rule of thumb I go with is ‘if you take some­thing out, put some­thing in’.”

Her sec­ond piece of ad­vice was to never im­me­di­ately re­plant what has been there be­fore.

“If I take a crop out, I put com­post on it and get some­thing grow­ing – even if it’s just chuck­ing out seeds from my spice rack,” she said.

“Here, last time I grew beans, be­fore that it was cu­cum­bers, be­fore that it was toma­toes.

“So (plant) some­thing else and gen­er­ally, prefer­ably not the same fam­ily (such as toma­toes and pota­toes).”

This year the Euro­pean veg­etable va­ri­eties had suf­fered, but with the rain

and change of sea­son, she was now plant­ing some win­ter veg­eta­bles – peas, bras­si­cas and cab­bages.

“This time of year, I prune the cap­sicums back and the egg­plants back,” she said.

“They’re ac­tu­ally a peren­nial plant that will last more than one year if you prune them down, so the frost doesn’t hurt them so much.

“I planted some marigolds through­out and that at­tracts the good in­sects, but also ne­ma­todes and bad un­der­ground things don’t like it.”

Ms Mor­ris has planted non-hy­brid veg­eta­bles, mean­ing “they will grow true to form”.

“It means if that seed falls down, 50 of them come up, then you just trans­plant them wher­ever you want them and you’ve got a seed bank.”

Ver­sa­tile plants in­cluded ar­row­root and com­frey, which dou­ble as emer­gency feed for their small an­i­mals – goats, pigs and sheep – and the loofah.

“When you take the skin off that it be­comes the body thing you wash your body with,” she said.

“That’s fan­tas­tic be­cause it grows like a weed (and) out of ev­ery two or three plants, I’ll get 50 loofahs.”

But Ms Mor­ris most ad­mires the plants that “just ap­pear”.

“The plants will tell you when they’re ready.”

“The let­tuces will start ap­pear­ing in the gar­den now from the sea­son be­fore, and I’ll go ‘great, I’ll move you over here and move you over there’.”

Each Satur­day at 2pm from April through Septem­ber, the Mor­ris fam­ily hold a bul­lock team demon­stra­tion and con­duct tours of their or­ganic farm and gar­den.

To book, phone: 0429 137 224.

Rose­mary grows in Fiona Mor­ris' gar­den, Glene­den.

Ar­row­root needs to be soaked for a few hours be­fore cooking, or can be used as emer­gency food for sheep, goats and pigs.

The ten­drils of sa­lon spinach in Fiona Mor­ris' or­ganic gar­den, Glene­den.

VI­BRANT: The Glene­den Val­ley pro­vides a pic­turesque back­drop to Fiona Mor­ris' gar­den.

Marigolds are planted through­out Fiona Mor­ris' gar­den to at­tract good in­sects and to de­ter nemo­todes.

Veg­eta­bles thrive with­out chem­i­cals and fer­tilis­ers in the Glene­den Or­ganic Farm gar­den.

A hedge­hog gourd grows in Fiona Mor­ris' or­ganic gar­den in the North Bur­nett's Glene­den Val­ley.

Rohan Mor­ris used his bul­lock team to plough up a pad­dock for Fiona's or­ganic gar­den.

A scare­crow adds colour and a bird de­ter­rent in Fiona Mor­ris' gar­den at Glene­den Or­ganic Farm.

Young toma­toes on the vine at Glene­den Or­ganic Farm's gar­den.

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