Thanks to our volunteer (unofficial!) photo-journalist Rick Warr, we have a taste of how Luke and Marina of Farmers by Choice in Bulli apply permaculture principles and design to their flourishing urban market garden. Okay, here’s Rick’s overview…
This method uses the complementary nutrients from the fish and the garden waste flowing from the water through the system. (the fish pond is down the hill on the photo left)
The fish poo feeds the garden and the garden vegetation feeds the fish. You can see the health of the plants growing in gravel beds.
It requires electricity energy from the water pump that recycles the water through the system while providing aeration. The experience indicated that the fish food needed to be supplemented.
There is much vegetable matter that is not for our tables but is fine for the chooks to eat. Veggie scraps etc are cleaned up by the chooks who in turn, keep us fed with farm fresh organic eggs.
The eggs are produced from an organic farm from very happy hens who are enjoying their little visitors during the tour.
Although conditions have not been good lately for the poor bees, the honey from these bees is fabulous!
Their locality has been threatened by flooding, which are all lessons in environmental observation and adjustment.
Descending Compost Bins
Compost is moved downhill as the process progresses (easier than uphill!). The bottom bin contains mature compost, rich brown soil ready to build the reclaimed growing ground formed by the “chinampas” at the bottom of the hill on the flood plains.
Flame Tree folk check the vegetables
New planting areas have been formed by using “Chinampas” which are barriers used to catch material and sediment coming down water courses in flood conditions. They form artificial islands that were created by building up extensions of soil into bodies of water.
Snakes and Ladders
The fun easy way down
The property is a slope facing north and as such, good for catching direct sunlight. There is an access path that zigzags down the hill.
Children can have fun sliding directly down on the slippery dips provided, resembling a game of Snakes and Ladders.
Using the flood plane
Marina & Luke on the right
This area was not productive at all until it was elevated using chinampas and cultured with compost. Now it catches the nutrient from flooding and is a fertile area for vegetable growth, as shown. The damaging flood water is protected by the grass borders.
The Tool Shed
The tools on display here require only hands and a person to apply them to the management of the land. This is old school farming without the advantage other energy consumption like fossil fuel burning.
The end! Many thanks Rick for giving us a taste of the Farmers by Choice Farm Tour.