By Nick Haywood
We’re not doing anything that smarter people than us haven’t done before. We’re just trying a few things that seem to work for us.
So, if you’re able to enjoy some really tasty nutritious food, a few good laughs in good company and regularly stretch your legs to keep the ticker in best order, then who’s to say you’re not living a ‘Good Life’ and that you shouldn’t wish others also enjoy health and happiness.
Of course, Fiona and I would probably wash down all that tasty nutritious food with a few homemade bevvies and raise ‘Health and Happiness’ as a toast!
The longer version of that toast is ‘Health, Wealth and Happiness’ and before we get too smug about things, we’ve still got monthly bills to pay like everybody else but also recognise that we jumped off the roundabout relatively late in life with a little bit of money behind us – not an option everybody has and we’re keen to make the surplus of our good fortune available to others.
Anyway, our approach translates and is consistent with how we grow our produce, I think.
We’re gardeners, not farmers!
Simply, we focus on keeping the soil healthy, the bees and good bugs happy and seek the best taste and nutrition from our produce rather than the highest yield.
Our small acreage can’t really be considered as a farm and we’re gardeners not farmers.
We choose not to use pesticides or herbicides and have spent many hours swearing at vast herds of snails and great hordes of harlequin bugs before endeavouring to squash them.
We plant our fruit and vegetables amidst ornamental beds with plenty of plants for the good bugs and year round sources of nectar for the bees. Slowly we’re getting a better balance of natural pest management.
We’re very drawn to the principles of permaculture but are a way off being able to give up on the back aching challenges afforded by our heavy clay and the conditions required by many of the vegetables and fruit we want to and increasingly are growing.
We dig in well-rotted cow manure from local dairy farmer friends to improve our soil and supplement this with compost from the Camperdown Compost Company, consequently we are not certified as organic nor do we have any plans to pursue this.