This week we talk to Peter Sullivan, who was inspired to grow organic vegetables after moving to Bargara three years ago.
When Peter and Trevor moved into their home at Bargara in early 2017 the existing garden inspired them to continue on a path they are still on today.
“The previous owner had been a keen organic gardener, growing a lot of veggies, including turmeric, which we harvested together and shared the 15kg between us,” Peter said.
“I always wanted to have an organic veggie garden, incorporating veggies, herbs, medicinal herbs and flowers, a worm farm, and composting kitchen scraps.
“As I didn’t have a lot of previous experience, I watched my fair share of YouTube videos, and watched Gardening Australia on ABC iView.
“We put in a veggie garden about two years ago, 11 metres x 1.5 metres, in a rough “J” shape, built from besser blocks, two high.
“We purchased some great quality soil from the local gardening store and have since supplemented it constantly.
“I’ve installed a timer for automatic watering and use a drip feed style hose and plenty of mulch to minimise our use of water.
“Recently, I’ve added in some dwarf fruit trees, kumquat, lemonade, tahitian lime, almond, mango and nectarine.
“I love the saying that ‘a garden is like a friend you can visit anytime'.
“Change is constant in the garden, and watching the plants grow is a fascinating, rewarding experience; then there’s the locals: bees, lady birds, wasps, lizards doing their daily living.”
Peter accepts that part of the challenge of growing veggies, is accepting that the “locals” sometimes want their share, leaving holes in the leaves, and decimating some of the young plants.
However planting companion plants, and crowding different plants together to confuse the bugs, helps minimise losses.
His methods must certainly be working, as the garden is full of herbs and vegetables that the keen cooks use every day.
“I am currently growing tomatoes, corn, eggplant, zucchini, peas, three kinds of beans, lettuces, broccolini, pak choy, eggplant, cucumbers, long red chillies and rhubarb.
“Herbs are also thriving: basil, oregano, greek basil, mint, dill, thyme, aloe vera, radium weed (for skin cancers), tarragon, parsley and lemongrass.
“There’s nothing nicer than being able to pick your own vegetables and herbs and make delicious food for friends and family.”
- Last week's In our Garden: Vineyard an expression of soul