Good Organic Gardening

SMALL WONDER

In its exposed location on the Hunter coast, Fern Bay is either the northernmost suburb of Newcastle or the southernmost region of Port Stephens. Officially, it’s the latter.

A high-flying bird would see wetlands and reclaimed dunes bisected by the twin channels of the mighty Hunter River. So, when Andrew and Cynthia Meyles moved into a new housing estate in Fern Bay, the immediate challenge was the soil — or rather, the sand.

“The soil was barren,” says Andrew, “and I had to spend a couple of years building up the organic matter to make it fertile and productive. I brought in some soil for the garden beds and it was full of nematodes that I’ve had to learn how to control.

“Moving from Tasmania to Newcastle meant I had to

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