Our garden is run by members of the Mort Bay Community Garden Association, an enthusiastic group of local volunteers. We have been growing vegetables and community since 2011. In this beautiful space, we provide a place where local residents can:
- grow and take home fresh, nutritious food
- connect with other people and build friendships
- learn how to grow vegetables sustainably
- enjoy being active in the fresh air and sunshine
Our organic gardening philosophy
We believe that healthy plants can cope with most of the problems nature throws at them. Soil, nutrients, water, air and sun are the basic elements needed to make a plant thrive. Taking care of these factors and learning to improve them is central to our gardening philosophy.
Choosing plants that are well adjusted to the local micro-climate and growing them in the right season takes care of a lot of related issues. We opt for heirloom varieties rather than commercial hybrids, because they reproduce and allow us to collect and save seeds. We don’t use any genetically engineered and modified (GMO) seeds.
Healthy soil is key to growing healthy plants. Our soil is a living and changing microcosm. Our goal is to constantly improve its properties to benefit the plants we grow in it. We use mulch, compost, manures, vermicasts and wormjuice. These keep our soil moist and replenish it with organic matter, nutrients and beneficial micro-organisms. We use small amounts of mineral supplements if deficiencies occur.
We don’t use herbicides. Our members reduce competing weeds by manual weeding. We also use mulch and black plastic covers to suppress weeds.
Insect and fungal pests are a natural part of our garden ecosystem. We strive to reduce their impact by understanding their needs and changing conditions in our garden to make it less inviting for them. Tolerating a degree of pest damage encourages predatory insects in our garden. By eating the pests, they significantly reduce damage and the need for chemical pest control.
Changing environmental conditions sometimes lead to a spike in attacks by a particular pest. In these cases we use field- and time-tested organic measures like diluted milk against fungi, horticultural soap against sucking insects, bacteria against caterpillars. We also use regular cooking oil and essential oils against biting insects. Coffee grounds deter slugs and snails.
Rotating crops in our beds interrupts pest life cycles. We use nettings to protect plants during pest migration periods. Companion plants deter and confuse pests and attract their predators to our garden. Homemade insect traps reduce pest numbers and help us monitor their levels.