It might seem dramatic to say that converting to organics saved a farmer’s life but it is a claim that Rob Bauer is happy to back up. Rob spent his childhood on the family farm in southern Queensland when it was run under a typical chemical weed and pest control regime. But then, as Rob recounts in the current issue of Organic Gardener, when his father died aged 53 of leukaemia, and so did a number of other neighbouring farmers all within a few years of each other, he had an epiphany of sorts. Rob switched to organics to save the family farm and his family.
It was a hard road to restore the soil’s fertility to a point it could match the artificial fertilizer inputs that propped up production until then, but the soil ecology did return to balance and now the farm is one of the biggest suppliers of organic produce in Australia. It is an extraordinary success story and one that demonstrates that organic production can feed the masses.
Another amazing achiever we feature in this issue is landscape designer Phillip Johnson who has just released a book Connected which highlights his wonderful garden designs, all focussed on water features and natural landscaping. If there’s not a billabong or pond in a Phillip Johnson design, it’s a rare thing. Phillip loves water and loves bringing nature into the backyards of Australians. We showcase one of his designs in this issue, along with practical advice from Phillip on incorporating water into your own garden.
There are also articles on growing summer squash, Brussels sprouts and unusual tropical fruits like carambola, wax jambu and sapodilla, along with a passionfruit problem-solver and all the action jobs for the heat of summer. And don’t miss our smoothie and popsicle recipes plus Julie Ray’s scrumptious festive season passionfruit layer cake.
Thanks to all our readers and subscribers for your support over the year. We have heaps of new stories and ideas already on the go for a bumper 2015.
By: Steve Payne
First published: December 2014