A large group of members enjoyed the first general meeting of the year. The guest speaker, Katie Finlay from Mt. Alexander Fruit Gardens, gave an interesting presentation on the importance of improving soil in order to grow good quality trees and plants. Katie and her husband, Hugh, have a certified organic orchard in Harcourt where they grow varieties of cherries, pears, apricots, peaches and apples. Check out their web pages: http://www.mafg.com and www.growgreatfruitprogram.com
Katie is passionate about using organic matter to improve soil. The importance of encouraging good microbes and bacteria to multiple is crucial to this process. Katie also talked about providing an environment where predator insects can thrive and keep at bay the pests.
On the following Sunday members gathered at the orchard and were impressed by the scope of the plantings and the recently completed shop where fruit and local produce are available, including organic vegetables grown on the farm by the Gung Hoe girls! Katie and Hugh provided some tips on planting, pruning and watering and used examples in the orchard to demonstrate good practice and where some problems had occurred.