Digging deep: Horticulture update

The core horticulture team of Mark, PB, Paul and Byron, supported by a casual workforce and a jovial, hard-working group of garden volunteers, have been going hell for leather across the property making exciting tangible progress.

The NASAA certified organic demonstration garden at the Ecovillage office is being transformed both above and below ground. Serious pruning of overgrown fruit trees has opened up new areas to light and sun, and enabled the team to start building a long, netted orchard for these mature trees. Local carpenter Alex has been building us a new chook pen and we have guinea pig tractors working their light touch magic in the vegie patch by keeping down weeds and manuring the ground as they go.

The results of various seasonal garden trials are in with cover crops, compost extract and mycorrhizal fungi seed inoculation coming up trumps. The team has also been making compost, planting seedlings and prepping areas for the spring program. The purpose of these gardens is to show how much food Ecovillage households can grow and the ways to do it. It provides a model for the exclusive use vegetable gardens, which every lot will have in the community garden clusters. The produce we grow in our demo garden is likely to be sold in our ever-so-cute roadside stall out the front of the office and lucky Ecovillage staff may also benefit from the abundance.

Huge strides have been made recently in the organic Foxcliffe vineyard, which was formerly planted with only Cabernet Sauvignon vines, some of which have now made way for new varieties. In less than a week, the entire vineyard was hand-planted with approximately 9,000 cuttings of Malbec, Shiraz, Cabernet (different varietals) and Chardonnay by a crew ably managed by Paul Jurjevich, our vigneron. To ensure compliance with our NASAA certification and give these vines the best start in life, an inordinate amount of work went into this job, from composting to putting “mesh socks” on every single vine to prevent black beetle from ringbarking them. Well done team!