What we are doing here is not at all sensible….just in case you were wondering.
This here, is not a very likely place to put any garden at all, never mind our nifty little Market Garden.
Our garden battles a great deal of punishing wind and burning salt spray. It faces northeast and the hill is very steep. Little Anse is also famous for being an excellent place to grow rocks (oh yeah!) and our stone covered hill-field is not an exception. Pretty much a completely crazy place for a Market Garden. That aside, it does work.
It is just about the prettiest place in the whole wide world. We are very grateful to get to work in such a place. When you are transplanting seedlings you can just gaze out at the ocean (often having forgotten, during all the chores and tasks, that it is there… happy surprise!). Sometimes the water is flat and sapphire and other times it treats you to a rollicking view of flying spray… but is always stunning.
Organic growing is very trendy right now (with good reason). People like to know what they are eating and we like to know that what we are growing and offering at our market is the very best that we are able produce. Our little Market Garden allows us to produce excellent fruits and vegetables with a pretty light “footprint”.
We love to have people come up to the Gardens and to get the chance to see how we grow. Do so very much love to talk about plants….serious hard-core Vegetable Garden Geek.
There are many wildly different Vegetable growing systems and they all do work. Nature wants to succeed and if a seed is planted in reasonable conditions it will almost always grow but to get a wide range of different and non-native food plants to grow and to thrive is a little more complicated.
This is how our gardens grow… Most surely best described as eclectic (one nice lady came up to buy some green Pepper plants and referred to it as “Your Eccentric Garden” … so much loved that!). We use aspects of French Intensive, Permaculture, Bio-dynamic (minus the Woo), and the plain old-fashioned “We are way too poor to buy commercial chemicals” farming techniques.
- We plant in raised beds that have been double-dug and amended with as much humous as we can get our hands on and lots of fresh and lovely kelp.
- The plantings are closely spaced and we inter-crop, alternating different kinds of plantings in the same plantings. Intensive plantings grow produce that needs less irrigation, less fertilizer and less garden space and the close spacing shades out weeds too (very nice) but you do need healthy, deep and very fertile soil to make French Intensive plantings work.
- We don’t need a tractor or any other machinery (although one great sweep with a very macho Track-hoe and the pity and assistance of our lovely tiller-owning neighbour has saved my most aching back). After this initial “gound-breaking” we will not till again. Working the soil by hand is gentle and preserves the soil life that our style of growing depends on.
- We don’t walk on prepared beds and we try hard to never leave any bare earth (bare earth is like an open wound).
- Our gardens use a lot of deep organic mulch. Deep mulch feeds the soil, shades out weeds and preserves the structure of the gardens. The mulch system encourages the development of the soil micro-organisms that will produce nutrients to be shared symbiotically with the plantings.
- We feed our soil instead of feeding our plants and to accomplish this we use a variety of fermented teas, fresh kelp mulches and tonnes of good compost. We produce a lot of fresh greens that are intended to be consumed raw so we don’t take the chance of applying un-composted animal manures. This is a new garden and we want it to become self-sufficient and sustainable. Keeping animals is an important part of a closed growing system and given that, we do plan to add some feathery friends this year that will be able to produce manure for our hot compost and to go out on bug patrol (so far we have other more pressing projects).
- In our gardens we also do not use any “organic pest controls” such as copper, hot pepper or garlic sprays. I just do not imagine that the resident frogs, salamanders and garden snakes would appreciate a cayenne pepper shower!
- We do, however, wage full combat mode on slugs. Hand picking is the simplest way to deal with any excessive garden pests so we arm ourselves with the nifty “iPhone flashlight” and take a nightly tour of the gardens. It is a moonlit slug-tastophy for any gastropods that are foolish enough to venture out of the bog and up to the gardens. Sorry, Sluggy-Joes, but you was warned… you was warned nice!
Yup all Market and Garden all the time around here. Love the lovely Summer!7