Driven by a shared passion for conservation and sustainability, Aaron and Melissa have been transforming their three acre hillside section for the past 10 years, with a formidable combination of creativity, resourcefulness and sheer hard work. Their achievements to date are impressive, and include an extensive tiered vegetable garden, a new large food forest project, hügelkultur beds, rammed earth tyre retaining walls…..yet one can’t help but leave with the feeling that this is just the beginning!
With backgrounds in science, education and ecology, Aaron and Melissa are great problem solvers, focussed on ‘closing the loop’ and turning the problems they encounter along the way into opportunities to do things better. The discovery, for example, that the septic tank and grey water drainage system they inherited were seriously flawed, has led them to research, design and build their own composting toilet, humanure system and grey water mulch basins.
“We focus on sustainability, conserving water, repurposing and up-cycling, while still having an attractive looking garden.”
Making their own nutrient-rich compost and brewing liquid plant food using beneficial bacteria are key for improving soil health and productivity. Encouraging beneficial insects into the garden is also a priority, with specific planting of flowers and herbal ley crops, insect hotels and allowing vegetables to flower and go to seed.
Aaron and Melissa care for a range of animals on the property - including ducks, chickens, horses and kune kune - but perhaps their most surprising ‘livestock’ can be found in their small-scale insect farm, where they farm mealworms as an alternative, sustainable protein source.
Future projects include building a passive solar greenhouse using old windows and a rammed earth tyre wall for the south wall, a rocket- stove for cooking and heating water for a hot tub, ambitious plans to expand their permaculture food forest and a vision to farm edible insects on a commercial scale. Watch this space!