Thursday, 31 December 2009

Summer Garden in Adelaide December 2009

December Garden 2009

Welcome to our garden, we took these photos a couple of days ago, before the temperature rose to 40 degrees Celsius.

Today the whole yard is covered in shade cloth, which will come down tonight as the weather cools down.

The left top is turmeric, right top is a large female Romanesco zucchini flower, centre left is a curry leaf tree, centre right is some produce from the garden (pepino, salad onion, tomato & chilli), bottom left is society garlic flowers & bottom right is our Bari cucumbers.

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We are picking zucchini, a few little tomatoes, pepinos, chillies, parsley,  lots of herbs,  lots of mint, chives, salad onions, lemon verbena and lemon myrtle for tea, sorrel, red shiso, basil, land cress, a little errbet spinach, purslane, parsley seeds, wild rocket and a few lemons.

So brown rice Tabouli with mint, tomatoes, parsley and salad onion; Persian zucchini, mint, spring onions fritters; chimichurri sauce; potato and curry leaf samosas; yoghurt and herb dip; salads of herbs, flowers and garlic; hummus with parsley, garlic and chilli; spinach and onion pakoras; gazpacho with fresh basil, garlic, cucumbers and tomatoes; onion tops frittata; eggplant chutney; zucchini slice; salads with garlic and herbs; pasta with parsley, anchovies, garlic and capers; pizzas with tomatoes, basil, onion and garlic; sliced pepinos with mint and yogurt; zucchinis stuffed with rice, tomatoes and herbs; potato bake with herbs, chives and cream; chickpea and pepino salad with parsley and mint; wild rocket pesto; polenta with butter, herbs and chives; rice noodles with chopped onions and basil; sushi with cucumber, spring onion and shiso; blackeyed beans with coriander, parsley, onions and tomatoes; Peruvian casserole with winter pumpkin, potatoes, cumin, tomatoes, garlic, coriander and lima beans are all on the menu at our home this summer.

When you have a kitchen garden your world expands, you have a lovely setting to relax in. Somewhere to enjoy the beauty and magic of the seasons, bird and insect life and all the things growing in your garden.

You are able to experience joy and beauty when you gaze at a chicory plant and a lettuce plant going to seed, leaning on each other and showing the world the exquisite beauty of their flowers.

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I watched neighbour’s pack up their very large boat and SUV vehicle, ready to head off some where. Then I wandered through the garden, looked at all our baby tomatoes, eggplants, tiny cucumbers and figs, parsley plants going to seed everywhere and masses of bees on every flower and I thought of simple things.

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Simple things are often disrespected, not noticed or ignored but simple things are life, they are the essence of being a human on this planet.

I hope 2010 is a great year for you all, a year when you can accept life as it is, enjoy your friends, neighbours and family, enjoy your garden as it keeps you healthy and gives you good exercise.  Next year let’s continue to reach out to others who have never even tasted how great home grown organic food is.

Have a Happy, Healthy, Go Organic New Year. We shall gather soon and check out someone's garden, share food and enjoy each others company.

Happy New Year

Maggie

THE AUSTRALIAN YOUTH CLIMATE COALITION

Thanks, Gavin, for sharing this video link with us.

Having 2 boys in their 20's makes this very relevant to me. Young adults today will not take no for an answer, no matter who their leaders are, and they will strive for change. After all, isn't change what everyone wants these days?  In my last post I commented on how so much of our lives these days is focused on change. Why then can't our so-called leaders come to grips with the changes we all need instead of remaining focused on keeping things the same? It is so ironic.

 

.........So those people who say it can't be done should get out of the way of people already doing it....our future will not be written for us, but by us........

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition is a coalition of Australia's largest youth organisations and over 50,000 young people from across Australia. Our mission to is build a generation wide movement to solve climate change before it's too late, through bringing about short term political impact and long term cultural change.

Find out more about the Australian Youth Climate Coalition

And here are their younger brothers and sisters doing their bit too.... growing, cooking and eating gourmet food at Primary School.... this little video clip that Maggie put on a few days ago is fabulous. Of course I knew about this scheme but it is so much more powerful when you watch it happening right here, in Australia. Primary school kids cooking fennel risotto, cabbage and potato fillo pie and a leafy salad with crutons, for the Australian  Minister of Education.....all from vegetables they have grown at school.... how good is that!!

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

MILK, FLOUR, GARLIC, LEMONS AND SALT

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I went over to the shop here at Balgowan to get some milk the other day and as usual started talking to the couple who run it. I needed some wholemeal flour to make bread and Sue said she could get some for me from the shop at Maitland on her way in tomorrow if I liked.

"Thanks, that'd be great" I said and asked Alex if he could think of anything else we needed. We came up with garlic, lemons and salt.

"No worries" said Sue "I have fresh garlic in my garden and lemons on my trees....I'll bring you some".

From the other side of the shop Brenton piped up " I helped harvest 120,000 tonnes of salt this year, from Price and Ceduna. Saxa salt.... that's what you get in the supermarket.... comes from there." We have driven past the Price salt farms between Balgowan and Adelaide our whole lives and never realised that it ends up in South Australian supermarkets, as Saxa table salt and that the sea salt comes from the Great Australian Bight.....ie Ceduna.... where the shop owner works in the off season.... how interesting!

Shelves are full of salts these days..... from every sea on earth and many salt lakes and rivers too.....and people swear by Maldon or Celtic etc but I am all for finding the most uncontaminated and I am sure there would be none less polluted than salt from the Great Australian Bight on the Southern Ocean, thousands of kilometres from any cities, with nothing between there and the Antarctic! And to think that Brenton has helped "farm" it gives it another connection.

So, of the 5 things I needed to buy, 2 come from the garden of the shop owners, 1 from only a few kilometres up the road and since the Yorke Peninsula is a major wheat-growing region of Australia, chances are that the flour they get for me comes from this area too. The milk is Golden North, processed in Laura, less than 100kms away. Nice feeling....it gives me a sense of belonging.... but I have to wait until tomorrow afternoon to get them.... you might call this Slow Shopping! Well, I can't complain, I bought the last litre of their milk and that will mean we can have coffee in the morning.

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So much of our lives these days is focused on change. Technology offers us tantalising little enticements and inch by inch our demands follow. Look at all the things we can and do put on our blogs now, even though we are a bunch of vegetable gardeners and greenies! People seek new destinations for holidays, new ways to get excitement, new foods to eat and plants to grow and so it goes on and on. Every now and then it is nice when you come across something that has stayed the same. Our shack has stayed the same since we bought it about 17 years ago.... it needed to have things fixed when we got it and they still need fixing! The scenes in these photos have not changed either.... many local farmers still launch their boats from the beach, using old tractors, and leave the concrete boat ramp to those who come from further away, towing their boats with a car.

 

Update: Yes they did bring me the lemons and 2 big heads of garlic from their garden and wouldn't take money for them either.....they forgot the flour.... but did get the salt.... it's a funny life.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Gardening for Life

How great is the idea of having gardens and kitchens in every school so children experience the pleasure of gardening and eating fresh garden produce.

Please take time to watch and listen to what Stephanie Alexander has to say about her School Kitchen Gardening  Program and send it friends.

Click on this link to see more about Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Happy Festive Season

Happy Festive Season everyone, thank you for stopping by at our blog this year & sharing our gardening experiences with us.

We wish you, you families & gardens a happy New Year. We hope your gardens flourish & remember to leave some of your healthy plants to go to seed so you can save them.

Our garden looks very happy with this mild weather we are having, we are picking zucchinis, lots of herbs & chillies. Our first Bari cucumbers look delightful sitting in the garden, the first three we are saving for the seeds so we have not tasted them as yet.

So from all the folks from the Hills & Plains Seedsavers group we wish you good health & happiness & we look forward to sharing our gardening with you in 2010.

Xmas Garden

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

TED and Jamie Oliver

Congratulations Jamie Oliver – 2010 TED Prize Winner

 
Chef, restaurateur and health activist

“Every child should be taught to cook in school, not just talk about nutrition all day. Good food can be made in 15 minutes. This could be the first generation where the kids teach the parents.” – Jamie Oliver

 

About Jamie:

Jamie Oliver is transforming the way we feed our children, and ourselves.

Jamie Oliver has been drawn to the restaurant kitchen since he was seven or eight. First working in his father’s pub-restaurant and then training in England and France, he not only displayed incredible culinary talent but also a passion for creating fresh, honest and delicious food. Although he is now one of the worlds top celebrity chef’s, his commitment to simple, unpretentious food remains and with it his drive to break people’s unhealthy eating habits and get them cooking again.

With the obesity epidemic growing globally, Oliver is using his notoriety to bring attention to the changes Englanders and now Americans need to make in their lifestyles and diet. Campaigns such as School Dinners, Ministry of Food and Food Revolution USA combine Oliver’s culinary tools, cookbooks and television with more standard activism and community organizing to create change on both the individual and governmental level.

Learn more about Jamie at jamieoliver.com.

This post is thanks to Sustainable Pattie

Monday, 21 December 2009

Why save seed?

Growing vegetables and herbs for their seed rather than for their leaves, fruits or roots is fun and satisfying, but presents challenges to the backyard gardener beyond the usual run-of-the-mill ones all we gardeners face. It’s Spring here in southern Australia and hot and dry – just the sort of weather that tempts one out of the garden periodically for a tea-break, virtuously self-justified by the secondary activity of jotting down a few seed saving ideas for the novice…

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Saving seed requires that you grow vegetables long after you would normally have tossed them out and replanted that space with something else. Why do it? And do you need to do it, given the plethora of standard and heritage seeds available at every garden shop?

In the first place, growing vegies from seed is economical because you get about 20 seeds in a packet for the price of a single seedling in a punnet. If you then take the next step and save the seed from the best few plants raised from that packet you purchased, then you can cut down on one of the major costs of gardening (the others being the cost of compost, mulch and water – more on these another day).  My garden has between 80 and 100 different vegetables and herbs in production during the warmer months – purchasing that number of seed packets anew each year runs up a bill of some hundreds of dollars. I can afford that expense now while I’m still working, but I’ll need my seed-saving skills to be well-developed by retirement, when I’ll need to live more frugally.

DSCN0035 Besides that sense of independence that seed saving gives the gardener, it’s more fun to plant out your own seed – which you normally have in abundance – that to open an expensive commercial seed packet only to find out that the manufacturer has been miserly to the point of insult.

Saving money aside, some other really good reasons for saving seed are these: -

Growing vegies right through their life-cycle brings Mother Nature into that small space down your back yard for you to enjoy; vegetable and herb flowers are attractive, colourful and often aromatic, attracting all sorts of interesting insects and birds to your garden. Not to mention humans! So few folk have seen carrot flowers standing two metres tall, alive with tiny insect pollinators and smelling a deep rich creamy smell that’s both delicate and fragrant. These pollinators also visit your other crops; so you feed them, and they work for you.DSCN0060

Shelling, processing and storing seeds is a reflective and peaceful activity that can pass the hours in a far more satisfying way than sitting in front of the television set, helping you to unwind in simple manual activity after a day or week in the office or factory. Do it with a friend.

Seeds make a very personal and valued gift to another gardener, and swapping seeds is a pleasant way to meet and mix with others, and to try new varieties. The Hills and Plains Seed Savers group has demonstrated this simple philosophy time and time again, with almost none of the complex overheads like committees, agendas and clubrooms that polarise other types of club.

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You can never grow and save all the seeds varieties that are in the seed catalogues; you are going to have to choose! By all means, experiment and try them all, then pick the ones that work in your soil and your climate, and that you will actually eat and enjoy. Often enough, too many of the one type (like pumpkins) will cross-fertilize, and ruin your original stock – once you’ve settled on your tried and true favourites, stick with them and grow them on. It can be fun raising rare or little known seeds, but only if they work for your area and your table.

Finally, you don’t need to save every seed variety every year, but seed stocks need to be refreshed to be viable. This year I’ve weeded out all those old seeds I’ve had for up to five years (over 100 varieties) and I’m regenerating those that did well before. I have, for example, about ten different chilli varieties, and I’m having a ‘chilli year’ to freshen up my seed stock. True – I don’t eat much chilli, but they’re pretty plants for swapping, and appreciated by our Indian neighbours.

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Friday, 18 December 2009

A LITTLE SNIPPET OF WISDOM FOR COPENHAGEN

Sometimes something good comes from waiting to be served in a busy shop. I read a little gem earlier today. The wording may not be quite accurate but the gist is this.......

It is not what lies ahead of us nor what lies behind us that matters most, but what lies within us

I wonder what lies within each of the world's political leaders...... I am not sure it is to them we should be entrusting the future of our planet.

I have not written any of my usual diatribes about the politics of living a greener life for a year or so. There are lots of people like Gavin doing a great job of it and I just have enjoyed leaving them to it. Being in France for 6 months was a nice way to live in ignorance of local issues as my French is not up to more than a chat about manure, chooks, vegetables and the simple things in life. Occasionally I read about floods and drought in Australia on the ABC website, after talking to my mother on skype on Wednesdays because she kept me up-to-date on things Australian.

It is my nature to encourage good things and not dwell on the bad and I get so excited about growing food and seeing my bok choys grow faster than Jack's beanstalk. I am also now looking forward to getting involved in the Food Connect programme, helping Chook with her garden and continuing to help Hugh with his. But that doesn't mean that my blood has not been boiling silently, behind the scenes, during the times I have been back in Adelaide.

I have no intention of adding to the trillions of words already written about the hopes of the peoples of the world for strong leadership in Copenhagen. They are doing their best, those politicians, but they are just that, politicians, mostly with a background in law, economics or just politics. If our leaders were artists or naturopaths or organic farmers we would be in with a chance. If they went there with a passion for nature, human health and vitality or caring and sharing I would have confidence in their words. But they don't. They come from the hard edge of town; from making business deals (usually badly), juggling popularity for re-election with rocking the economic boat as little as possible.

What lies within us matters so much because it is from there that we are driven to act. Words are cheap; actions much harder and a far truer display of our real selves. If a person has spent decades religiously pursuing a career in law or economics, is it fair of me to say that I cannot see them as being passionate about butterflies in their garden or sharing seeds of their favourite lettuce or re-using stuff from a neighbour's hard rubbish to make a chook run? Which of them would wear a second hand suit or carry a second hand brief case to the meetings? Is there a single one who has insisted they eat only local food while in Copenhagen? Did any of them seek out the local seedsavers group since they were going to be in Denmark where Skrubtudsen from The Toad's Garden lives? You may laugh, but these are the people we need making decisions for our planet; people with a passion about the planet. I don't mean airy fairy dreamers, but people whose daily actions have proved that what lies within is the right stuff for the job.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Bari Cucumbers December 2009

Bari Cucumbers

We hope you enjoy this collage of Roman Camomile, Agapanthus & the world famous cucumber from Bari, Italy.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Food Connect Adelaide

Food Connect Adelaide




THE BIG WORLD OF STUFF

I do like to read La Vie Verte.... a guide to what's green in France.

Today I read Cheap, cheerful and green holiday gift ideas....

Fight the dross that fills up newsmagazines in doctors’ waiting rooms by donating money or your old digital cameras and laptops to International Reporting Project, which provides opportunities to U.S. journalists to cover international issues that have been neglected in the media. I stumbled upon this recently while reading an article in Business Week about the land grab in Africa, and thinking to myself, hmm this doesn’t seem like the usual Businessweek fare.

If you are in the USA and would like to help get some more real news into the lives of the rest of us, please think about donating your equipment to these people. I, for one, would very much appreciate it!

So I went to that website and found this.....

Donate Equipment

Another way to support the IRP program and our Fellows is through the donation of equipment. We are always looking for: Digital Cameras, Digital Video Cameras, Computers, Laptops, Software, Flat-Panel LCD Monitors, etc. Please send an email describing the piece of equipment you would like to donate to irp@jhu.edu.

And for those of you who live in France, there is this new recycling website ... La Premier Reseau Social  de Recycleurs. I don't know why they are so behind in France with EVERYTHING online and why they don't use freecycle much and people don't use eBay and there is no junk to find....I checked out Freecycle in Perigueux and the last message was in 2007! But some of them are active.... like the Montpellier Freecycle.

Unlike here in Adelaide where you can drive across a couple of suburbs and be sure to find a hard rubbish collection going on where the experienced eye can scan the foot paths and collect enough stuff to make a chook shed or an old clothesline to make shade for summer herbs or whatever project you have in mind! When the boys were little we got a slippery-dip and a blackboard and more recently a laser printer.... a little temperamental but almost brand new and still going strong after 5 years! Dare I admit it but last week we found an as new, beautiful queen size futon mattress, still in its plastic wrapping.... now we just need a base......I'd better look on Freecycle myself....

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

PYO CHERRIES AND BLUEBERRIES

If you would like to pick some berries and didn't get to the Gnomes' Home that Andrew wrote about, there are a couple of websites that you should consult so you can pick your own before Christmas.

cherry growers sa

 

Cherries South Australia has a list of lots of local cherry orchards, their openning times, contact details and a map.

 

 

Blueberries

 

This coming weekend starts the season for blueberry picking at The Blueberry Patch at Mt. Compass. The damp, boggy land, in the middle of dairy country was seen as a waste land, until these people bought it and turned it into a beautiful blueberry patch, the likes of which I have never seen anywhere else in South Australia.

I went there with friends Kathy and Ken in December 2007, and wrote about it here. We picked 30kgs in 1 hour! They freeze beautifully so long as you don't wash them first. I just put them into 500gr yoghurt containers and put them in the freezer. They came out as good as the day I put them in.

Monday, 14 December 2009

BOK CHOY MYSTERY

image  Dec 3rd
I planted some tiny, half caterpillar-eaten bok choy seedlings into this wheel creation I found in Hugh's junk heap. In the middle I put a bowl of water for the birds.
image At the same time and into the same mixture, I put some of them into little pots.... they looked like these that I potted up today...
only in individual pots.
image Dec 12th
Those in the funny old wheel look wonderful and in 9 days have become almost big enough to begin to eat.....
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(I put the pot next to those in the wheel ... not a very clear photo!)
While those in the  little pots have certainly improved and grown a bit, but they are nowhere near as vigorous. Is this to do with the bowl of water and humidity, or the water regulating the temperature of the soil......  or what?

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Berry-picking at the Gnomes’ Home

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Among the more experienced seed-savers in South Australia are “The Gnomes” – Vegie Gnome and Flower Gnome to their friends - who inhabit Gnomesville high in the hills above Lenswood in the Mount Lofty Ranges, where the cool winter temperatures are just right for raising berries of all sorts. As it turns out, it’s Flower Gnome who’s the berry grower, and today we were lucky enough to be invited up there with a handful of other seed savers to pick silvanberries, boysenberries, youngberries, raspberries, loganberries and red-currants. Strawberries and blackberries are either finished or yet to fruit. Pine needles from the nearby commercial pine plantations are added to blood-and bone and compost to boost the acidity of the acid-soils so loved by the berries.

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Gnomesville is a 3 acre block with its own dam (supplying water for the sheep who graze alongside the chickens outside the kitchen garden) and rainwater tanks to provide water for the kitchen and the gnomes’ personal use. Solar photovoltaic panels on the roof offset energy use in the home, and solar hot-water heaters on the roof reduce reliance on mains power for water heating. Wood fires fuelled with fallen timber from around the property provide warmth during the long winter evenings when the gnomes snuggle inside and entertain themselves from the vast and diverse collection of wall-to-wall books.

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The kitchen garden is fenced off to keep the hens and sheep on the outside, and contains nearly every herb, vegetable and fruit tree known to man. An elderberry tree out in the chicken yard was the source of the elder wine that we drank with desert made from ricotta cheese and berries, along with dried figs and fresh raspberries.

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The sun shone, the air was crisp and clear, and the surrounding vineyards, grazing lands and apple, pear and cherry orchards provided a many-shaded green contrast to the darker eucalypts and pine forests. Eighteen years of effort have gone into Gnomesville and, as in all gardens, Mother Nature provides endless change and challenges to mix in and enjoy the outdoors and fresh produce together. We picked our own berries, and purchased fresh farmhouse cream and honey that the gnomes had purchased in bulk from local suppliers. A wonderful day!

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Saturday, 12 December 2009

HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY TO HUGH'S GARDEN!

 Hugh's patch

 

It was the first birthday of Hugh's vegetable garden this November! Back in 2008 we cleared away years of rubbish and neglect from the yard of the house he rents. And then we dug out some of the acres of concrete.... a shocker of a back yard to start with!

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The soil is very sandy and in places it is just white sand, being so close to the beach. We dug in bags of compost from SA Composters, a brick of coconut fibre to hold the moisture in and Rapid Riser as the "soil" seemed so lacking in anything at all.

 

 

 

 

 

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He started off wanting neat rows and vegetables grouped nicely.... and didn't like my approach of inviting nature in to work for you by having things all mixed up.

Everything grew like mad and he was so proud of it all.

 

 

 

Then the earwigs and caterpillars discovered it. He made earwig traps and sprayed Dipel for the caterpillars but thought there must be a better way. He bought a couple of books and studied them well.... Jackie French's "Towards Backyard self-sufficiency" and Lolo Houbein's "One Magic Square". Jacky lives in NSW and Lolo in Adelaide so he did well. Funny he chose these 2 books of the hundreds available at book shops because, unbeknown to Hugh, this Jackie French book was also my first vegetable gardening book a trillion years ago and I had recently met Lolo at Fern Ave Community Garden and thought her book looked great! 

Anyway, the gist of all this was that he began to plant herbs amongst the rows of vegetables. He gradually moved away from rows and went for ....dare I say it.... Mum's more natural approach!

imageimageDuring the year I helped him expand the garden into more of that concrete jungle but the things he grows and what goes where are all up to him.... I am just the worker following instructions these days.... something I am pretty shocking at!

 

......until now it looks like this! It brings a tear to my eye to see such a wonderful patch of paradise grow from such a harsh beginning and it just goes to show what you can do....

 

 

 

 

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So, we sat outside in the garden and raised a glass to Hugh's first year as a vegetable gardener.

May the future bring him happiness and may his garden flourish.

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See more photos of Hugh's garden here.

....I have no idea why I am having such trouble getting this to post how it is supposed to look. Has Live Writer gone mad or is it me??

Friday, 11 December 2009

DANISH SEEDSAVERS ANNUAL MEETING

I love reading the blog "In the Toad's Garden" by Skrubtudsen in Denmark. And I noticed he has recently added this blog to his reading list, so I thought I would pop over to Denmark and see what's been going on there lately.

He has been to the Danish Seedsavers annual meeting and visited some interesting and beautiful gardens, such as this culturally diverse one, as he describes....

Danish seedsavers garden

From Toftegård we drove to the allotments in Ishøj. It was exciting to see how much can be grown, when 100 sq.m. is exploited intensive. Ishøj is know for its large immigrant community. The allotments is a cultural melting pot, where people with very diverse cultural heritage meet each others gardening culture. Some are faithful to their origin, others are more curious, letting themselves getting inspired to grow new crops and grow in new ways. The joy of gardening prevail, almost every gardener there seems to share it. Almost, because here like every where some people with good intentions are not able to keep the garden from growing in to weed and wild trees. But in this allotment they are willingly helping if allowed. An old man kept his garden very well, but has fallen ill this summer. Those who can keep his garden for the time being. He probably helped others in need at times.

Danish seedsavers glasshouse

We are so lucky here, in Adelaide in particular, that we do not need to grow our tomatoes and capsicums etc in glasshouses like this one but I would so love to go and see how things are done in such a cold place as Denmark one day.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Biopark Organic Farm Visit

DSCN0033 Once again, about 30 of our intrepid seed-savers took to the roads to learn more about vegetable and fruit growing, this time on a professional level. Our visit took us up to a 150 acre organic farm high in the Adelaide Hills, about 5 kms out of Mount Barker and overlooking Lake Alexandrina on a clear day. Biopark Organic Farm is managed by Bill Hankin – one of our seed-savers – with the help of 3-4 permanent staff and a number of casual workers. Bill has been an organic farmer since 1985, starting out in Victoria, and taking on his current job at Biopark in January 2004. The farm itself has a long and chequered history, firstly as the home of a wealthy Mount Barker agricultural industrialist and MP in the mid- to late-1800s, then as a Salvation Army Orphanage called Eden Park thoughout the early- to mid-1900s. Biopark’s current owner has asked Bill to develop the property to become a model organic farm able to provide for his family and turn a small profit.
Along on the tour was Dr ‘Harry’ Harrison – another seed-saver and President of the South Australian Rare Fruit Society. That’s Harry on the left and Bill on the right – two of the grand old men of the organic growing community in South Australia. Harry helped Bill field questions about the hundreds of fruit trees on the property, including rare heritage plums and figs rescued from the NSW Department of Agriculture when they bulldozed their Bathurst heritage orchards.
Bill believes climate change has already reached his property, and is having to re-adjust his farming methods to avoid the over-hot summers, starting the planting cycle after the breaking rains in March-April each year. Bill started the orchard with apples and pears, adding plums and figs later.In retrospect, Bill thinks that early maturing fruits such as apricots would make a better bet than autumn-maturing pome fruits such as apples, as this obviates the need to irrigate with scarce water resources throughout summer. Netting the whole orchard will be imperative in the future to prevent bird damage to soft fruits; even slightly green apricots couldn’t dissuade some of the local bird species (below) from nibbling early fruit. Eggplants in the vegie patch have also to be netted, as they are a favourite of the local wood ducks.
DSCN0078 Even raspberries are becoming difficult to grow under the current warming conditions, says Bill, while crops such as asparagus are doing really well without any irrigation and with the ferns providing a welcome touch of green through the hottest times of the year.DSCN0057
 Of greatest interest was Bill’s crop of garlic, which he hangs in one of his cool stone heritage buildings for a few weeks after harvest to allow the nutrients in the stem and flower head to return to the bulb, increasing storage time. Red shallots are also grown, as are peas and tomatoes.
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As always, the time came for us to retire to our tables and chairs under a shady tree, swap gardening tales, offer or seek advice and to eat, drink and be merry.
For a full photographic tour of the farm, look through the album (photos - right panel) created by our champion vegie grower and photographer Bob (below), seen here standing outside Bill’s poly-tunnel, used for propagating all sorts of seedlings, including native trees and shrubs for his wind breaks and conservation strips on the farm.
Thanks Bill – great hospitality and inspiration in large dollops.
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