Our organic market garden had its beginnings in October 2000 when we purchased a 10 acre property at Mullumbimby Creek in northern New South Wales, Australia, close to the coast. At this time it was used for cattle agistment and initially we used it for our horses. After our daughter and the horses moved away we thought we would start ‘farming’.
As we had no previous experience in horticulture, we began our venture using conventional farming methods. It didn’t take long to realize that the use of chemicals and the practices that go with it was not the way we wanted to do things. Thus we began the process of converting to organics and became certified organic in 2003- a decision we have not regretted one little bit. It has been one of those life-changing experiences of which we are very proud. For complete novices we have done very well.
2001: View from our house over the paddock.
The white posts are horse jumps.
2003: The same area seen in the image on the left, with the seedling house built.
2004: The same area again; a little more organised.
Creating the gardening area
2003: Starting to plough up the ground and create raised beds for the first crop.
2006: Same area as in image on left.
Some of the challenges we had
How the area evolved
2004: Beds formed and mulched, with grass between rows
2004: Beds and rows mulched to suppress weeds
2005: Adding mulch and compost has raised the beds over time
2006: Weeds are a constant battle, so we placed matting between beds
2011: Road base put down to prevent water from laying around and making the walkways boggy
2011: We loved this natural look but the weeds grew back over the walkways
2012: Weed matting placed over road base again to suppress weeds
How we prepared the beds
Crop residue (if not too chunky) is broken up and laid on top of bed and forked through to break up the soil
Compost spread over bed and forked in
Fertilizers sprinkled over- in this case blood and bone, chicken manure pellets and, if needed, lime
Beds mulched, diluted fulvic acid drench applied, bed rested for up to 2 weeks
New planting of seedlings
Our organic produce after harvest and in the ground
Yellow crookneck zucchinis
Southern European spinach
Southern European spinach plants