"Organic gardening is gardening with nature rather than against nature in the widest sense of the word."

Anna de Baar, Organic Gardener

Image courtesy: Elisabeth Edwards

Ten years ago Anna de Baar started her organic farm 'Waru' at Emu Swamp, near Orange. Today this bountiful garden is alive with birds and insects.

For me, organic gardening means not only the absence of chemical fertiliser, herbicides and pesticides, but also allowing so-called pests to be there so that they attract predators and create a totally balanced system. A lot of people who grow organically still fight the pests with naturally derived means. I prefer not to do that at all and I don't actively intervene in pest cycles by removing them. What that means is that at times I get an outburst of aphids, for instance, but because I have so many ladybirds in my garden they will almost immediately go to work. It's the ladybird larvae (and little birds such as blue wrens) that eat the aphids. I have found over the years that I have fewer and fewer problems.

I grow a variety of greens such as rocket, parsley, mizuna, tatsoi, bok choy, mibuna and warrigal greens and woody herbs such as thyme, rosemary, sage, winter savoury, lemon thyme, lemon verbena and bay. In summer I also grow soft herbs such as French tarragon, chives, garlic chives, sorrel, basil and various mints and also zucchini, tomatoes, squashes, beetroot, silverbeet, red chard and more.

I really like selling locally, because it is light on the environment, it provides easy access to produce that is organic and fresh, and I have personal contact with my customers.