Mastering organic veges
Former market gardener, and now the city council’s eco design advisor, has plenty of experience and is holding an organic gardening workshop later this month.
Growing plenty of fresh, abundant veges organically is a matter of holistic garden design and management.
Being efficient with space, materials, time and effort are all keys to low-input and highproductivity gardens.
I’ve been a market gardener off and on for over a decade, and have learned and developed many strategies and techniques that maximize food production for any given space – be it large or small.
It all begins with layout and design. For example, no-dig systems seem to work best with beds that are 1.2 metres wide, and a good rotation plan helps to minimise disease and pest pressure while maintaining soil fertility.
Of course there are also a lot of nitty-gritty details that help the garden design come to life – literally. Growing abundant, healthy organic veges relies heavily on copious amounts of high quality compost.
The best way to get access to heaps of great compost is to make great heaps of compost! It’s easier than you think to make superb compost by the cubic metre.
Tools are also key to getting more done in less time. I’ve got my favourites, some of which may surprise you. For example, a stirrup hoe is the best garden tool I’ve ever run across, but virtually unknown in New Zealand.
And one tool never to use when turning a compost pile is a pitch fork. Surprised?
A few other strategies and techniques that come in handy for getting the most from your time in the garden include successive planting, garden hygiene, and garden ergonomics. All of these topics and more will be included in a free workshop for Palmerston North residents aimed at intermediate and advanced level gardeners on Thursday, January 28 from 3.30 – 7.30pm. Participants are invited to meet at the clock tower in The Square. A halfhour break is included. For further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Great organic garden beds begin with design and rely on high quality compost.