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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Digging It With The Dirt Demi-God

Steve Solomon is a Growers Guru
The Living Better With Less Group had the honour of a tour of his garden this weekend and one and a half hours flew by as he spoke to us passionately about soil health, nutrient balance, seed dilemmas for small growers and plant spacing for optimum yields.

Steve lives in suburbia on a large block and grows all the food for his family all year round.

Everything lush, healthy and disease resisting. He grows for food and also extra for seed. Growing from saved seeds saves $$$ and you can be assured of genetic material suited for your area, climate and vigorous.

He spoke about his huge line of asparagus that he keeps contained width-wise between the parallel wires. This limits the sprawl and also makes weeding and access easier. He tells us that over a few years he selectively culled all the female crowns and kept only male plants a) because they produce larger spears rather than putting their vigour into seed production and b) by culling the females he avoids the prolific seed drop and thus delays over-crowding for years.

Another shot of his garden and a climbing frame for peas and beans. In the very first photo, Steve and I are standing in front of his healthy kiwi fruit vines covered in flowers. Down the western side he has espaliered fruit trees and berry bushes. A netted tunnel of raspberries is heavily cropping and you can just about hear the plants singing.

Steve is 73 and very fit and looks at least 10 years younger than his age. What struck me especially was the way he is still learning and still experimenting with growing. Further proof that you never stop learning. Reluctantly we thanked him and departed and I have to tell you the experience has been very profound for me. My mind has been in a whirl, thinking of all we spoke about, trying to catch hold of it and not let a snippet of information be missed. 
Afterwards we enjoyed a bountiful shared lunch at a fellow members beautiful mud brick built house by the Tamar river. Wonderful times and memories to treasure.

If you have the opportunity, Steve's books are well worth the investment. This is the copy I covet. I wish all of you could have joined us and benefited from his knowledge and passion.


  1. Oh and I wish I had known about it!! I would have made the journey all the way to the Tamar area to sit at the feet of the Master!! His garden looks fantastic in your pics and I'm sure even better in real life! What a privilege…thanks for sharing your outing.

  2. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day with us. It is always great to visit the garden of someone with so much to share. Thanks for the tip on his book, would it suit gardening in NZ?


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