We aim to manage Ballin Temple sustainably. The reality is that that is almost impossible in this modern era because if you don't use fossil fuels you can't compete in the market, but if you don't you're clearly not sustainable.
Nevertheless, as stewards of this place, our responsibility is to nature and the plants and wildlife that lives here, as much as to ourselves. There are few places left on the planet where humankind's big boots do not leave an imprint, so we wear flipflops often and try to walk gently on the land!
We have been prioritising sustainable methods since 1999. In 2001 we were certified "organic", but within a decade we opted out of the certification process because for a small holder it had become unsustainable! Do regulators not know how many carrots must be sold to pay for their bureaucracy? And often enough it is the grower who advices the inspector, rather than the other way around.
Nevertheless, our methods have not become less organic. In some ways we are more rigorous than certification demands because we prefer to use low impact methods rather than have a manicured plot. So generally we
use organic seed
use homegrown compost or manure (never use inorganic compounds)
work the garden by hand, mechanical weeding only, don't use sprays
use compact tractors (2-wheel and regular) to minimise soil compaction
use gravity for irrigation if possible
care for livestock while allowing them as much liberty as possible
The results are clean, tasty vegetables, happy eggs from free birds (no cages - we have to look for the eggs) and delicious hay.
It is hard work. We think of our vegetables as being "hand made". And we know they are hardly economic because we see the prices in the market and know we can't match them. But we also know that you can't find homegrown vegables these days, you can hardly find some of the more unusual produce that comes from the garden (like black currants) and our vegetables are delicious (especially tomatoes). It makes it all worthwhile when children pick food and pop it straight in to their mouths!
If you would like our vegetables or hay, please create an account (see module on right) to receive news about availability.
If you would like advice on growing, please contact Tom.