Sugarloaf Ridge Farm is a bio-intensive market garden located in box-ironbark woodland in Axedale, Victoria
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Sugarloaf Ridge Farm
Sugarloaf Ridge Farm is a 20 acre box-ironbark forest block in Axedale, it has a ridgeline running directly down its centre connecting to Mount Sugarloaf, which lies to the north of the farm. During the cooler months of the year the rocky outcroppings along the ridge are covered in native bracken and wildflowers. Native birds, kangaroos, wallabies and echidnas can be found in the bushland.
The first major project on the property was the construction of a dam on the hill side, providing water storage for our needs and a water source for native animals. Years later the house and shed was built and the Hosking family moved onto the property. Roughly a quarter acre of land behind the house was terraced and fenced around the same time the house was built. This allowed the establishment of a small orchard and vegetable garden, shortly followed by a chook house and duck pen.
We have always grown lots of food and been able to give plenty away and preserve anything that would otherwise be wasted. Early in 2020 we realised the need for more locally grown food, allowing people to know where their food was coming from and have a connection with the people who grew it. Over the course of the year we began to transition into a market garden by developing more garden beds, planning what crops we would offer and designing our farm management systems to ensure a constant and consistent supply of food.
Transitioning from a home garden to a small farm required us to commit to growing our food using reliable and efficient practises to ensure consistent quality and availability. We were very conscious about our commitment to working within a natural system to tackle pest and weed issues and supplying nutrients to our plants, and ultimately our food. Building and maintaining strong, healthy soil that is full of beneficial microorganisms is the foundation of developing nutrient rich food. Reducing soil disturbance through use of no-till practises, use of cover crops for nitrogen fixing and carbon capture and interplanting to increase biodiversity are some of the practices we use to encourage the development of healthy soil. Obviously we don’t use any herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or other synthetic chemicals and we are extremely careful about what we bring onto our property, opting for certified organic composts and seeds.
What We Grow:
Salad greens – lettuce, baby lettuce, baby spinach, baby kale, mustard greens, etc
Asian greens – bok choy, tatsoi, pak choi, mizuna,
Greens – kale, silverbeet, rainbow chard, broccolini, broccoli, cauliflower
Root crops – carrots, radish, spring onions, turnips, beetroot, garlic
Fruit crops – peas, snowpeas, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, eggplant, pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini, melons, beans
Herbs – coriander, parsley, basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, mint, dill, sage and more…
Flowers – we grow a range of flowers to increase pollinator and beneficial insect habitat, biodiversity, and to add some extra colour to our kitchen garden boxes
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