Sow and Grow

Sow and Grow

There seems to be this (mildly amusing) situation where most of us are well aware that our food is grown by amazing farmers, possibly close by (but more than likely miles away) however… we don’t really have a clue on the logistics surrounding it all. 

Our little garden has rainbow chard, tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers, lettuce, herbs, passionfruit, lemons, a finger lime, edible flowers…easy stuff. It’s small, manageable and lets be honest, it’s mostly for the joy it brings than the bounty.  We’re certainly not living off it, although I’d be ever so pleased to eat a meal entirely from things I’ve grown…I don’t see that as being very plausible anytime soon. 

The other day I found myself staring at it thinking, ok…so if I really actually had to feed my family, there was no other food options…what would that look like?

I’d have to work out exactly how much space I need (probably my ENTIRE yard),  the cost of setting that up initially, and how much time I’d actually have to spend on it (too much).  

I’d need to work out how often I need to sow the seeds, to have seedlings ready to go, to have the right things to harvest at the right time, to make sure there was no large gap in produce.  I’d also need to work out what to do with a glut of anything I find myself with.  Because sure as heck after all that effort I’m not wasting a single cherry tomato!  

I’m boggled already and I haven’t even started to think about crop rotation and pest control.

 At the moment the wee caterpillar I’ve seen munching on leaves has been adorable, but that would soon turn sour! He eats or we eat, get off my family’s food you little slinky jerk!   Although, I do think the poor dove was snapped up by a crow…RIP Crawly from the lemon tree.

It’s overwhelming really isn’t it!  And sure as heck there would be no bread, do you know how much wheat needs to be grown for one loaf? A 9m by 9m patch of wheat will take about FOUR MONTHS to grow and be ready to harvest, you know how many loaves of bread that makes? TWO AND A HALF! TWO AND A HALF!* I have a whole new respect for bread now, like it was already amazing and now it’s basically a miracle.

 

In the past few months I’ve met some incredible locals doing amazing things, I’ll link to some of them below. But I really want to tell you about one in particular that I’m very excited about. 

Plot 4504 

The Mother and Daughter duo have created a small market garden growing pesticide and herbicide free vege and flowers and have an adorable Farm Gate Stall, open to the public Saturdays from 8-11.

They’re part of a multi-generational farming family with massive dreams, they have evolved from cattle, to dairy and now use the land for horse agistments and growing the blooms and vegetables for their sweet little farm stall, I had a visit a few weeks back.

Chatting away as I purchased my zinnias, eggplant and cherry tomatoes they pointed over to exactly where they’d grown. Maybe about 100 metres away I could just make out a bed and I thought to myself, this is certainly the closest I’ve been to the ground the food I’m going to feed my family grew in.  That felt odd, and wrong… great to be so close but odd and wrong that I hadn’t been in this position sooner. 

 

Plot 4504 is just starting out, and with any new business there’s trial and error, getting stock amounts right and trying not to overcapitalise.  We shared an understanding moment when someone asked if there would be more pumpkin next week and she had to say that no, there wouldn’t be. 

 If you haven’t a clue about how long a pumpkin takes to grow or the space they take up… it’s about 3 months from seed and a “shed load” of land.  

When it comes to farming, even micro farming, adjusting stock levels to meet demand isn’t simply just popping in a larger order with the distributor, or even throwing some extra seeds down. It takes a huge amount of time, planning and organisation, and all that has to happen months prior. 

Farming is tricky, it’s risky, it’s not for the feint hearted and you need a heck of a lot of drive, passion, capital and patience. 

You need your customers to be patient too, and even though there are so many amazing locals doing wonderful things, I fear that we (as a wider community) might lack the understanding and patience to see them through to their full potential. 

A lot of us love the idea of buying locally produced fruit and vege, baked goods, jams and chutneys, but what is the reality of that? 

How many times will you go back to a farm stall or order a produce box that doesn’t have everything you need (or more accurately, want) available?  So many of us already shop at multiple places, maybe one of the big two, the markets, Aldi, a food co-op? Can you commit to an extra stop each week, especially if you mightn’t get what you want? 

That’s the thing, we have to. 

If we want places like Plot 4504 to reach their full potential we have to support them through their beginnings, through the tough seasons, the low harvests, the figuring out of all the bits and pieces, through the lack of…pumpkin.

It can’t be all the time, I get it, but to have thriving little farms, to be able to buy local produce, they need our support.
Have a peek at the ones I’ve popped below, and maybe even let them know they’re doing a stellar job! 

 Plot 4504

 Pickle Lane Farm 

Blue Dog Farm 

The Mini Farm Project 

 

 

 

*Stats sourced Costa’s World - Costa Georgiadis

Back to blog

2 comments

Lovely article. Plot 4504 is an amazing asset to our community. Well done Belinda & family x

Lizzy

What a beautiful article about the value of small scale community farming and what goes into making crops available. Thankyou for your support.

Belinda from Plot4504

Leave a comment