When I was a child I loved to spend my weekends working with my grandfather in our family stores on Sydney Road, Coburg. He did the same with his grandfather. Some of his business wisdom has stayed with me throughout the years but I don’t just apply it to business. I also apply some of these principles to how I manage our family farm where I grow the majority of our fruit and veggies for most of the year. Principle #1: Know your numbers. In business you have to be very clever with how you use limited resources and the most limited resource is time. Ensure you don’t waste your time and staff don’t waste their time. In the garden it doesn’t make sense to plant just 2 or 3 of anything… by the time you lose one or two to weather, bugs or bolting you have nothing left to harvest! Work out how much you would eat and then add on another 33% and plant that amount. You are going to have losses that were unexpected along the way and planting at the top end of what you need means you are much more likely to end up with a meaningful harvest than if you just plant a few. Principle #2: Real estate is expensive. We all know how expensive land is. This is due to demand for houses being higher than the limited supply that is available. We couldn’t imagine purchasing a property and then leaving it empty for years on end! In the garden, the same rule applies. You only have a very limited space that’s dedicated to growing food – don’t waste any of it! If you have a bed that’s underperforming (ie: its full of weeds, what you planted went to seed, etc) then clear it and start again. Also experiment with companion planting. Plant radishes or beetroots between slow growing plants (ie: cauliflowers or broccoli) and by the time the slow growers are a decent size you have already harvested the fast growing root vegetables. Make every inch of your garden productive and exponentially increase your return from the same amount of land. Principle #3: Look after your best customers. At Forest Super Foods our one and only priority is making sure we look after our customers as well as humanely possible. In your garden, the soil is your customer. You look after the soil (and the organisms that live in it) because they are the ones who dictate the quality (and quantity) of food that is produced. I try to live by the principle of “I’m a soil farmer and anything I produce is a bonus”. Protect the soil with mulch from erosion (particularly during summer). Make sure the soil has good drainage. Feed the soil with compost every year and it will repay you in spades!