Event June 2013 – Sustainable Farming

Bromley Organic Farm Visit

Lisa Mahon from Bromley Organic Farm hosted the Goldfields Sustainability Group on Saturday 22nd June. She led us through a tour of their sustainable farm, highlighting the herbs, garlic and compost that they produce.

We started the tour in the drying room. Lisa explained that all herbs and garlic were stored here before being processed and transported.

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Crops that were currently growing included stinging nettle, calendula, chamomile and beetroot. Bromley Organic Farm has regular customers, to whom they provide herbs and vegetables. Lisa carefully researches market needs before deciding what to plant otherwise. She stressed the importance of using green manure to enrich soil. She stated that empty beds were not desirable, and so Lisa always makes sure that something which can be dug back into the beds is growing.

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Lisa shows us the harvester

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The Stinging Nettle bed

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Chamomile

 

The compost at Bromley Organic Farm is carefully constructed. All weeds from growing beds are added to the compost along with cow manure. The compost is heated to 72°C which ensures that all weed seeds are destroyed. Once it is at this temperature, the compost is turned with a front end loader. Lisa gave some tips on compost, explaining that if you have too much nitrogen, your compost will smell. Without enough nitrogen, you can’t get enough heat.

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Lisa stressed the importance of getting to know your weeds. They can tell you a lot about the condition of the soil. Lisa utilised the Department of Primary Industries, local farmers and books to help her identify weeds.  She emphasised using the local people in your area to build up your knowledge of local weeds.

The garlic beds were our last stop on the tour. Bromley Organic Farm have trialled many varieties and have settled on a white variety that they find has good flavour and keeping qualities. Lisa told us how to harvest garlic for best storage.

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The Garlic beds

We completed the tour with a tasting of Bromley’s pickled garlic, stinging nettle tea and lemon thyme tea. Many of us purchased garlic to take home and plant. It was fantastic to see such a successful Organic farm operating in our shire. We thank Lisa for sharing her knowledge and experiences with the Goldfields Sustainability Group.

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Pickled garlic tasting

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The greenhouse

 

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Visit an Organic Farm

On Saturday 22nd June, the Goldfields Sustainability Group will be visiting Bromley Organic Farm to learn a bit about organic farming and soil improvement.

Bromley Organics are a certified organic farm growing herbs and garlic. “Organic farming is based on the principle that great food starts with healthy soil and the best way to create healthy soil is with compost”, explains Lisa Mahon. “At Bromley Organics we make our own compost. All of the stalks from the herb crops, weeds and other organic matter go into the compost heap”. Some herb crops grown at Bromley are lemon thyme, thyme, calendula, stinging nettle and melissa, and work is currently underway planting the chamomile crop.

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Apart from the herbs, organic garlic is also grown. “Our main variety of garlic is a strong flavoured long keeping Italian variety of garlic” says Lisa. “Over the years we have trialled many varieties and this one has always proven the best for flavour. We are also growing a pretty purple skinned variety which we were given by our friend Al, the gardener. We will have planting garlic available for sale on the day”.

The GSG will be meeting at the Community Hub car park (just off the roundabout in front of the station) at 1.30pm this Saturday to head out to the farm. Ride sharing will be available. Call Richard on 0401551603 for directions if you wish to make your own way to the event. Please bring a gold coin donation.