Alex is our local market gardener…. with a difference! He used to be a chef at Parliament House in Canberra, has studied all kinds of interesting things at uni. and has gone into this market garden idea with his eyes wide open and with a plan to make the business work, for his young family.
For a start he and his wife bought the perfect piece of land just a 30 minute walk from the main street of Cygnet, in Golden Valley; gently sloping, north-facing, with good soil, 2 spring fed dams and quite a distance from any native bush (so very few animal problems).
They built a pretty, little house and turned a tiny little shed into a 1/2 glass, 1/2 solid, seedling house. Then Alex baled up the hay cut from his land in summer and put the bales side by side and end to end to make a rectangle of covered grass, using up all the bales. In spring he removed the bales, hoed the soil and began to sow the seeds of his new life.
He and I have a similar philosophy about organic food production; which includes NOT using massive amounts of plastic for poly tunnels. But rather, using what you have in the way of climate to produce seasonal, organic food.
Sometimes, at this time of year, young seedlings need a bit of extra warmth to get going because the soil is already very cold. So, Alex has made some movable cloches, sized to fit his beds. On his blog Golden Valley Farm you can find all the instructions to make your own.
As he mentions in his post, the plastic can be removed in summer and the frame fitted with netting to keep off the cabbage moths, or shade cloth to protect young seedlings from the heat.
So, when you see a beaming Alex at his stall at the Cygnet Market, remember he is the most genuinely organic farmer around and that he was up before dawn, picking vegetables for you to buy.
Never, ever think that his prices are more than his produce is worth!!