Successful organic gardening is all about the soil and the biggest expense is the gardener's time.
Organic gardening guru Daniel Hatfield, of Healthy Harvest Kitchen Gardens, says "mulch, mulch and mulch" is the most important ingredient to ensure soil is in top condition.
Hatfield will be in Corrimal next month to hold a two-day organic gardening workshop to coincide with International Permaculture Day on May 5.
"When I teach organic gardening I teach from the soil upwards," Hatfield says.
"It's not necessarily about how to grow food but how to grow soil.
"It's about having healthy soil - that way you don't get bugs."
Hatfield grew up in north-east Scotland and lived in Germany for 10 years, but his passion for organic gardening blossomed in 2006 when he moved to Australia.
Now based in the Blue Mountains, Hatfield says it didn't take long to become self-sufficient with gardening.
"When I started I looked at things to take off my shopping list one by one," he says, adding that he first started leafy greens and herbs.
Hatfield says nourishing the soil through mulch can be best achieved by compost, worm-farming or keeping chickens.
He suggests that worm-farming is the easiest option for families and it isn't necessary to choose more than one option.
"I don't worm-farm because I have chickens," he says.
"I make one batch of compost each year and the rest of the time I'm simply cutting and digging weeds out."
So is there anything he doesn't like doing in the garden?
"If I stand there watering I don't find it therapeutic as I'm thinking 'I could be weeding right now'," Hatfield says.
He considers watering to be a time waster, and drip irrigations systems are the way to go.
Making sure the veggie patch is full of colour and flowers is another tip to avoid garden trespassers, from insects to possums.
"The solution is in the diversity of plants - don't put cabbages next to cabbages - plant some marigolds and other annuals to break it up," he says.
Flowers attract parasitic wasps that will come and eat the insects and caterpillars. Hatfield says annual flowers are best as they also help nourish the soil when they die.
Another method to keep insects at bay is to put stakes through the patch for birds to perch on.
"Cut and come again" crops (where leaves are cut and the plant continues to grow) such as kale and silverbeet should be some of the first crops planted for the garden to thrive quickly.
Hatfield says he has noticed that while baby boomers once made up the majority of those who came to his workshops, younger people are now gaining more awareness of organic gardening.
His organic gardening workshop is on May 4-5 at Access Community Group's permaculture garden, at the back of the Little Branches
Big Trees studio in Railway Street, Corrimal. For details or to book, visit littlebranchesbigtrees.com.