Home ContentOrganic Flavour - a Taste of the Good Life

Organic Flavour - a Taste of the Good Life

Published : June 09, 2015

You may recall your parents or grandparents tending a vegetable garden. For them gardening was a way of maintaining their health and supporting their families. They produced fresh, seasonal food and often had extra to share with friends and neighbours.

by : Caralyn Lagrange of Shambhala Place in Bedfordale, WA.

All backyard vegetable patches were organic until we synthesised fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.  Now, mankind is even manufacturing genetically modified organisms to use in food production.  Yet I believe contemporary horticulture is more expensive and difficult than organic horticulture; and the food produced is not as healthy as it should be.

I am convinced that we are seriously damaging our environment, our food and our health.  It is time to take stock.  Don’t wait for “The Big C” to change your way of living.

Organic Food Production

We need food to sustain us and it has to be grown somewhere and somehow.  I suggest that it is best grown in our own backyard – and that it really should be organic.  In this way we know where it comes from, what’s in it and what’s not.  It encourages us to eat food in season and assists us to regain our connection with our food and the environment.

It is only with purchased certified organic or home grown organic produce that you can be assured that you are truly eating healthy food.  Organic horticulture advocates the use of composts, mulches and the establishment of micro-climates, essential to soil fertility and water conservation.  It emphasises progress towards sustainable farming systems and the development of bio-diversity.  Additionally, organic production ensures that no toxins are added to the environment or to the food chain.

Best of all, fresh local organic food is bursting with flavour and packed with nutrition.  If it is home-grown, it’s at your fingertips!  

So, let’s bring back the home vegetable patch as well as supporting local growers – the organic way.  You will enjoy superior flavour and maximum nutrition without toxic chemicals – a taste of the good life in your own backyard!

Organic Gardening for Healthy Living

After years of illness culminating in breast cancer, I discovered the solutions to my health problems were to grow my own food alongside environmentally friendly living.  When you provide nourishing “organic” conditions to plants, you nurture yourself.  You also nurture the environment.

I had a teaching job and a family to take care of, so initially gardening was a leisure activity and a means of restoring my health.  Yet, within three months of starting my first organic garden, I was harvesting a wide range of quality herbs, fruit and vegetables – much more than I could ever have afforded to buy.

I believe that even if all you do is sprinkle a few freshly harvested home-grown herbs over your food you will be well on your way to improving the health of yourself and your family.  If you expand to some repeat harvest salad plants and vegetables you will add to your family’s diet and health in a major way.

I concentrated on easy-to-grow plants as well as plants that were high in antioxidants and others that had autoimmune stimulating abilities.  Thus Alliums and Brassicas are high on my list, closely followed by the Beta family, some root vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, and berry fruit.  Growing these plants enabled me to eat a fresh herb and lettuce salad every day.  It also enabled me to supplement the evening meal with greens for stir-fries and casseroles.

Organic Gardening Methods

My gardening methods are virtually the same for all plants.  I use growing mediums rich in organic matter and maintain fast, vigorous growth rates.  I keep the ground surrounding plants clean of debris, harvest frequently and most importantly, leave pests alone.  This allows nature to establish natural balances between pest and predator.

Healthy living soils promote strong plant growth and reduce pest and disease problems.  So does biodiversity of plantings, plants coexisting at various stages of the lifecycle and the establishment of micro-climates.  Interestingly, harvesting is often the most time-consuming part of food gardening – but who is complaining.  With just a little thought, a bit of work and sound management an organic garden quickly starts to take care of itself.

It is wise to start in a small way – a few herbs in pots and some repeat harvest vegetables and salad greens.  Make sure all edible plants are grown in growing mediums that are free of toxins.  The only way to be certain of this, however, is to purchase Certified Organic inputs or to produce your own.

Raised Beds and Wooden Boxes

The organic garden at Shambhala Place has vegetables growing in corrugated iron and wooden boxes, a bassinet and cot for the seedling nursery and a single bed frame for flowers.  There is even a bed of thyme interspersed with Ladies’ Bedstraw, a herb with a history dating back to the Renaissance era.

Recycled materials have been used to raise the growing area to waist-high.  Working at waist height makes all aspects of growing easier – planting, weeding, tending and harvesting.  This was a boon for me when I was still recovering from cancer.  Now that I have a back injury, it is the only way I can still maintain a garden.

Interestingly, raised-bed horticulture in wooden boxes and corrugated iron garden beds seems to suit plants.  It also helps with water conservation particularly when combined with sub-surface irrigation systems.  Rich organic composts and vermicast from worm farms further assist with water retention; they also contribute to the fertility of growing mediums.

A Passion for Everything Organic

What began as a personal quest to restore my health and vitality has now became a life’s passion.  “Shambhala Place” and my garden “A Garden Path”, showcase organic food production alongside environmentally friendly, healthy and sustainable living.  I wrote and self-published Gardening and Eating for Living to help others and to further promote my message.  Now, I have combined teaching skills with my environmental and organic horticulture knowledge and created a classroom beneath the gum trees.

Garden Tours and Workshops

If you seek inspiration, skills and knowledge, consider arranging for a garden tour, workshop or property management field day.  Alternatively, read my book.  You will see that growing your own herbs, fruit and vegetables organically is not hard.  The methods that I have developed are relevant to everyone, including those with injuries, illness and disability.  They are also relevant to our warm, dry climate.

Shambhala Place is open to the public through garden tours, workshops and open gardens.  Shambhala Place tours and workshops are arranged to suit visitors.  For information or to purchase a copy of Gardening and Eating for Living, call Caralyn on 08 9498 1555 or visit Shambhala's Place website.

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