Organic garden – starting small

I’ve been thinking a lot about organic-ness since we went to the Mindful Farm. The fruit and veg really did taste better, and that’s the reason I used to buy some organic fruit and veg in the UK. But more than just taste, now we have the time, I really like the idea of growing something for ourselves.

I asked the landlady if we could grow some stuff in the space where a little house was going to be built (she ran out of funds) and she happily said yes. She even donated two basil bushes to the cause. Nice. I’ve since been daydreaming about growing fruit trees, herbs and vegetables (I’m ignoring the fact that previous plant-based adventures have nearly always failed). At least this time I have someone else’s experience to benefit from.

Soil is very important. Organic farming is all about the soil and compost. But Pi nan said you can make your own compost – and his method will make your veggies grow big and tasty. And it’s ridiculously simple and easy. He uses raised beds, so there’s no need to churn the ground soil, you just need an edge to keep the soil in. Then he layers stuff to create a self-feeding bed: First layer is all the (vegetarian and organic) food waste from his kitchen, and throws it on the ground where the raised bed will be. Next he takes any weeds that have been pulled up, and layers them on top. Next a handful of limestone is sprinkled over, then a generous layer of soil and lastly a layer of sawdust. And we then just planted seeds right into this. Seems easy eh? 

I only have two tomatoes, but this is definitely enough for a test run, and we just happen to have a small brick flower bed just the right size. So, fruit and veg peel – check. Weeds – check. Lime – er, no, but I have some ash from the BBQ which works well too. Soil – check. Sawdust – er, rice husks are practically the same thing really! They will do nicely. The tomatoes are in, I water them , and now wait. I wonder how long they take in tropical sunshine?

If you want more organic goodness (and less badness) in your life but don’t have extra money to spend, check out the Soil Association article – How to eat organic without breaking the bank. I used to get an organic veg box delivered weekly from a local farm for about a tenner a week. The two companies I have used (in dorset) are riverford and my veg box. There are (UK) box schemes all over, search here if you’re interested! Cue Joni Mitchel…..