Urban Garden Research
The following brief and design notes were a design process we set ourselves and our students, as part of a research project to see just how much of our daily dietary needs (according to the Weston Price Foundation) a family could grow for them selves in an urban situation. We have finalised the design as below, and we have written a Koanga Booklet describing the design in far more detail, with lots of charts and diagrams and notes for you all to see, and we will now keep records of inputs and outputs over time to see just how it pans out. You can read about the money saved by growing food in this garden on our Urban Garden Blog.
Chantal Bean Trial
Through the support of Chantal Organic Wholesalers, we did our first formal bean trial last year. We were looking for beans that could be of use to Chantal to grow and sell as dried beans in New Zealand. This will allow them to be free of Chinese imports and the fragile commodity market.
We will use this trial to add our knowledge each year as we continue to grow out beans , so that you also have as much information as us about the qualities and differences of the beans in our New Zealand heritage Collection.
Over the past 20 years it has become increasingly apparent that our heritage potatoes are deteriorating (far smaller crops from each potato planted with far more evidence of disease and pest issues), and since the introduction of the psyllid, (which brings a host of damaging viruses) the problem has dramatically worsened.
In the 2011 harvest season we harvested marbles 1-2cm diameter. We were unable to eat anything or sell the seed at this point. This was our national potato collection so it was a very serious situation.
On top of the pest and disease issue, or part of the reason for these issues, is the fact that our New Zealand soils are also now seriously de-mineralised. Just as we humans can not maintain our health or the integrity of our DNA over generations if we do not feed our body well, the potatoes are not able to maintain the genetic strength they began with if we do not feed them the minerals from the rich soils they evolved with.
It is many years since serious selection work has been done by home gardeners maintaining these lines.