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Monday, April 29, 2013


I'm pretty pleased with myself just now, having been offered a regular double-page in Organic NZ magazine onto which I can arrange words in such a way as to convince readers that I know something of organic growing and the things that come from the experience of practicing the art. Thanks Philippa, for the opportunity to broaden my audience and broadcast some of the experiences I have here in Riverton and beyond! I'm constructing the first of what will be an on-going series, on the subject of guerrilla planting and that's a fun topic for sure! As well, I've been offered and have taken on the editorship of the CoastLine Magazine, published by the South Coast Environment Society Inc. I've been a contributor for many years and was editor at its inception (when originals were written and drawn in ballpoint pen :-) and now that it's fully computerized, I'm back in the editor's seat. We send copies to several sitting MPs, so I'll have to watch my p's and q's. Here's a clip from the latest yet-to-be-printed CoastLine where I'm describing our weekend visit to Dunedin and environs and a couple of fine young men we met while we were there. It's not especially artful, but will give you an idea of what these two are up to.

Nurseryman Jason Ross of Waitati and innovator Nick Holmes of Taieri Mouth are two young men making green waves in their respective communities. In Waitati, north of Dunedin, Jason and his wife and two small daughters have created a charming and successful example of natural living on a modest budget in their delightfully ’wild’ property in the bay-side community. Their gardens are a  mix of the relaxed and the productive, plenty of playthings for the girls, sprawling runs for the hens and gardens filled with picking-greens, fruits, vegetables and herbs to garnish the many salads that make their way from the garden to the table inside of their quaint wee cottage. Jason, Kate and the girls are permaculturalists and live a wholesome, healthy life as a result. Jason has taken his skill with grafting fruit trees out beyond the gate and instigated a fruit-tree planting project for the street-sides where there are now more fruit trees planted than I’ve seen in any other town. I became quite envious of his accomplishments and motivated to get busier down here on the south coast.

Nick is taking on an altogether different challenge with the sandy seaside property at Taieri Mouth. There, he’s in clean-up mode, following years and years of ‘interesting’ development on a 2 acre ‘permaculture’ property previously owned by the curmudgeonly “Bill”, now deceased, and avid collector of stuff. Nick’s primary task in renovating “Beecroft Farm” is to rid the place of unnecessary materials, and that’s a big ask. Nick’ll do it though. He has the energy of the young and idealistic! Already he’s tamed two of the quadrants, clearing wood, glass, wire and concrete and planting crops of all sorts in an effort to reinvigorate the land. Nick specializes in legumes and is using those to raise the nutrient levels on the ‘farm’. He has hens working for him too, and bees for whom he’s built a very special bee-hive that I’ll write about in the next edition (it takes a bit of explaining!) Both Nick and Jason are giving substance to the permaculture dream and Otago is very lucky to have them inside of it’s borders.


Ray said...

Well done on the double page, not that I read green propaganda you understand
Actually I do mostly because I read anything that appears in front of me and certain parts of organic gardening are very interesting, it is just the anti-science that I don't agree with

robertguyton said...

I hate the anti-science too, Ray. I see it all over the place; in the council, on the farm, around the town. I generally like my activities to be science-based, but sometimes, just for fun I swing into some irrational belief or other, just to keep things interesting :-)
If a copy of OrganicNZ does happen to fall open in front of you and it's on my page, I hope at least you'll be entertained.

Ray said...

I have an interesting project at the moment turning 5 Kgs of sweet chestnuts into Creme de Marron. Thats nothing as my daughter-in-laws parents make 50+ jars of this which is a speciality of the Ardeche area of France they live in
All organic apart from the sugar!

robertguyton said...

I can supply you with organic sugar, Ray :-)
Your project sounds a fascinating one. I'd not heard of sweet chestnuts being used this way, but then I'm new to them really. I've got several trees growing (they're fast!) and more on the way (nuts in the ground). I've put in horse chestnuts too, as a potentially coppice-able crop. I've not done any research on them yet, but the nuts when I saw them recently, scattered beneath a fine specimen of a chestnut in Milton.

robertguyton said...