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.

The Tribune (NZ) - - ENVIRONMENT -

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 nelson.lebo@pncc.govt.nz.

PHOTO: FAIRFAX NZ

Great or­ganic gar­den beds be­gin with de­sign and rely on high qual­ity compost.

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