The Permaculture Garden
A brand new development at Belstack Strawberry Farm is an edible garden grown with biodynamic and permaculture principles.
The earthworks commenced in May 2019, with pathways and large circular beds formed up. Drip irrigation has been installed. A green manure crop of oats, mustard and vetch was planted just in time for a welcome 45mm of rain, which settled the dust and got the germination happening in the warm soil. The crop has been chopped into the soil in early spring.
So far a mixed veggie garden has been planted with cabbages, pak choi, wombok, rainbow silver beet, garlic, leeks, brussels sprouts, kale, carrots, beetroot and radishes.
Garden borders have been planted with garlic, thyme, oregano, curry plant, Italian parsley, alysum and other flowering plants to bring insects into the garden for pollination.
An arbour has been built for grapes and trellises installed for raspberries and passionfruit.
A Bush Tucker garden has its first plants - Mountain Pepper and Midyim Berries.
A Perfumed garden has its first plants - a climbing Mr Lincoln rose, Wintersweet and lavender.
Marg has created a worm hotel, which is a bucket with holes, buried in the ground to lid level with hay, autumn leaves, manure, kitchen scraps added to it. It's expected that "build it and they will come!"
The strawberry plants are planted in late May and some have been planted as border plants in Marg's Permaculture Garden. They have been mulched with pine needles.
The biggest challenge at the beginning was rabbit damage. We netted individual plants but the long term solution was exclusion netting on the fences all the way around the garden, which has made a big difference. Next step is eradication of the rabbits that come onto our property from the adjoining Redgum Regional Forest, Parks Victoria's responsibility!
An exciting new feature is the art installation completed by students of Kialla West Primary School. We recycled timber from pallets and undercoated the palings. The children decorated them with their own designs in art class with Marg on 13th and 14th June. The palings then had a coat of clear varnish to protect them from the weather and now they have been installed as a screening fence. Guests staying on the farm have also painted palings to add to the screen.
Once the frost was finished, Black, Yellow Panama and Red Panama passionfruit have been planted.
The garden has done very well over the winter and the oats have been mulched and straw added.
Check back regularly to view the progress of the garden.