NZ Gardener Magazine article - March 2009

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STORY: Jane Wrigglesworth  PHOTOS: Sally Tagg

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Caity and Gerald Endt

I'm not sure I'd know a 'Delicata' squash from a 'Musquee de Provence' pumpkin, but the Endts do. Caity and Gerald Endt moved to the Barrier a couple of years ago to set up an organic market garden and orchard (Okiwi Passion) of honeydews, bananas, babaco, cherimoyas, watermelons, banana melons, acorn squash, passionfruit, corn, butternuts, buttercups, chillies, capsicums, beans, eggplants, salad greens, herbs and edible flowers... the list goes on. Take one look at what Caity and Gerald are harvesting and eat your heart out. That's if you're lucky enough to live on the island.

The local cafés and stores are better off for it (they lap up the salad greens and edible flowers), but the Endts are struggling to keep up with demand. Next year they aim to double production. "We're certainly not meeting café demands," says Caity.

As a way of making space productive, the Endts interplant as much as they can. Passionfruit grows alongside garlic and babaco; bananas alongside tamarillos. "Within 18 months you have fruiting bananas, which gives the tamarillos part shade and a microclimate," says Gerald.

A beneficial insect strip (a Kings Seed mix) attracts and hosts predator insects and cleome acts as a catchcrop for green vege bugs (Caity picks off 20 a day to feed to their chooks!). Sunflowers are a great companion plant for cucurbits - they attract bees and bumblebees and eventually the green vegetable bug when they go to seed. The chickens roam in a large enclosure to catch bugs in the soil, including bronze beetle larvae which emerge from the soil from September to November.

But if it's hands-on gardening experience you're after, Caity is the person to call. She runs free horticultural courses on the island through NorthTec. But it's more than just an invitation to have fun and learn new skills - it's enabled her students to establish and tend a community garden as a vehicle for their learning. And the garden is a true delight.

All members of the Solanaceae family,
including tomatoes grow well here. 

 

PEST CONTROL

* Last year Gerald and Caity grew a plot of watermelons, but come ripening time the rats beat them to them. This year they're growing their watermelons, and cucumbers and celery, in an enclosure.

* Native kaka are also a big problem for Great Barrier's gardeners. They're forced to net their fruit trees to keep the birds off (although this doesn't always deter them - the crafty birds simply bounce on the netting until the fruit falls off the tree). Gerald places a dead rabbit on a high platform to attract hawks to deter kaka.

 

Subtropical produce and squash.

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