Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

However, the best thing I've read is not a website -- although it can be downloaded from the web: 

The Market Gardener : A Successful Grower's Handbook for Small-Scal...     by Jean-Martin Fortier.  DIY manual that covers all the day to day challenges.A great gardening book rooted in the real world. 

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Bought a book on French Intensive Gardening - sounded brilliant until I read about all the manual labour involved :-(

French Intensive  doesn't foster lazy gardening, especially not in the first year.

But I appreciate it because:

  • it is so productive, uses less water and relies on cheaper inputs.
  • traditionally depended on manure inputs (Alan Chadwick changed that to compost but the original form was the city of Paris plus  horse poo).
  • utilises limited space so effectively (eg: wide beds, close plantings, successive plantings, polyculture,etc)
  • focuses on the main game: food production
  • celebrates and concentrates on annuals(although there is a fruit tree role, usually espaliered).
  • mixes, cottager style, vegetables with flowers

Given my conditions and already existing habits I'm thinking that adaptions are required -- tweaks -- but my sandy soil got me thinking that maybe I'm already part of the way there, esp when I'm on my knees sifting cow manure through it. En route  I get to free myself from a few Permaculture shibboleths.

As for the labour involved -- let's call it an 'exercise' regime: good honest toil.

Of course a lot of this is about the perspective unfolding in your head -- what you 'think' you are doing. While all these gardening systems have  specific merits they do engineer things differently, despite overlapping. Nor do you have to be either/or. Instead of 'one' garden you may end up with several, each ruled by different protocols.One size won't fit all.

Where the French Intensive system edges ahead of these other approaches is in its productivity. It's also rooted in actual urban conditions -- albeit when horses were the primary transport means -- in part as a means to handle waste. Golly if the automobile hadn't come along and  the Haber process hadn't invented synthetic fertilisers, we'd still be poo dependent  today.

The digging itself disturbs the soil microbes - that's the rub.



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