TURNING 50 ACRES OF SCRUBLAND INTO AN ORGANIC VEGE FARM
Our readers take pride in their gardening creations and are always looking out for a great tip, a wise word or some insights into growing and designing a satisfying outdoor environment. In July this year, amidst Australia’s acute #SupportAussieFarmers drought awareness, one NSW organic producer launched a book to tell his tale. The small but informative book describes his journey in taking 50 acres of scrubland and turning it into a sustainable, organic farming enterprise, and the trials and triumphs he faced along the way.
For those who desire to move further from the city and set down roots in the country soil, Derek Palmer’s personal memoire The Green Life – Beyond the Tractor Seat gives some great insights and tips on what it takes to run a farm, and the things that shaped his decision-making on how to move forward through obstacles and unknown territory. It is a worthwhile read, for anyone wanting to live the “Green Life”.
Derek and his wife operate Loradel Park – an organic farm in Northern NSW, Australia. In his book, Derek not only relates his family’s personal tale, but also generously provides two final chapters of very helpful information on topics including: Manures, Composting, Worm castings, Compost tea, Zero till soil, Weeds, Permaculture, Biodynamics, Farm animals and much more. Exclusively for our Turtle Nursery readers, here’s a segment extracted (reproduced with permission) from the tips at the back. Vegie gardeners in particular might find this helpful:
THE LASAGNE SYSTEM
“The Lasagne or layered system is more for the vegie gardener. It is a raised bed which requires no digging, no tilling and no weeding. The most basic form is to make the bed by placing hay or straw bales on wet newspapers. Then make pockets or furrows in the bales, fill the pockets with organic potting mix and plant the vegies in it. Keep it watered and fertilize with liquid organic fertilizer and the crops will be bountiful. Once you have decided the location of your garden bed, mow the area and cover with a thick layer of overlapping, wet newspaper. Lucerne is a popular ingredient to start with for the first layer and should be spread reasonably thin. Next is manure and compost, wetting each layer thoroughly, and then repeat the alternate layers until the bed reaches the desired height. The second last layer should be compost, and the top layer should be mulch.
The advantage with this type of garden bed is it can be built and planted the same day. As the materials break down naturally it provides the nutrients necessary to feed the crop. If the pH is out of balance, sawdust or pine needles added will make the bed more acidic, lowering the pH. If wood ash or lime is added it will make the bed more alkaline, raising the pH.
Borders for the raised bed can be constructed from brick, stone, corrugated iron, wood or simply straw bales. The layered system is a low maintenance, productive way to grow produce.”
For information, tips or assistance with gardening questions and landscaping supplies in Sydney, contact us at: Turtle Nursery and Landscaping Supplies:
Turtle Rouse Hill Ph: 02 9629 2299
Turtle South Windsor Ph: 02 4574 3299