From the age of 17, owner of Seedlings Organic Luke Sansom has worked in horticulture. Down on the Mornington Peninsular he was a mere 19-year old when he set up a business propagating and planting indigenous aquatic and ephemeral wetland plants for companies that constructed wetlands in Victoria. Three years later, equipped with organic certification for a leased farm, he started selling produce as a sideline, which involved propagating the farm’s vegetable seedlings. And thus, for this seedlings prodigy, it all began.

While only several years a presence at the farmers markets, Luke, who relocated here around 18 years ago, has been supplying organic growers with seedlings for nearly as long. The business runs from Tintenbar where wife Leisha works in the nursery doing all the potting up and seeding of the trays; son Kyan sells organic seeds under the name Organic Seeds Australia. Luke’s seedlings are sold to farmers and gardeners in all states of Australia.  ‘This is really important work’, he tells me – work which came about ‘out of a need in the region for suitable varieties and consistent supply of seedlings for commercial organic market gardeners.’

Luke, accordingly, is the best person of whom to request tips for healthy soil and optimal growth – and what we should be growing right now.  ‘Soil structure’, he tells me, ‘is important for healthy growth, (so) fork the garden to break up compaction and get air into the soil, sow green manure crops.’  As far as what to plant goes, he says ‘brassicas, lettuce, alliums, chards, most greens and herbs’ – although I do love his honest answer as to what’s currently thriving. ‘Grass’, is the reply, ‘woody weeds, grasshoppers, caterpillars, bats and birds. This is the reality.’ 

Seedlings Organics are at  New Brighton Farmers Market every Tuesday from 8am-11am  and Mullum Farmers Market  every Friday from 7 – 11am