First Blog

Hi folks,

Welcome to my very first blog.  I’m Cherryle Prew, manager and owner of Soil Foodweb NZ.

Over the past 14 years I have attempted to keep in touch with friends and clients of SFI NZ by newsletters and flyers.  Hopefully a blog will be a much better way.  You will be able to look me up anytime and catch up with my latest news and thoughts.

One of the most rewarding components of my job is the interesting array of people I work with.  A perfect case in point is an agricultural scientist by the name of Jim O’Gorman, otherwise known as the Dirt Doctor, Jim has a small property in Kakanui. It’s just south of Oamaru and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Just gorgeous.  He once told me his mission is to discover ways of  successful plant production utilising the simplest of tools.  Something that he could pass onto third world societies where food production is challenging.

Jim sent me an email the other day with some great photos from his tomato green house.  The variety is Potentate which was very popular in the 1960’s. It is open pollinated, not grafted, and not a hybrid. The photos below show a beautiful crumb structured soil which is getting deeper each year.

Tomato soil 1   Tomato soil 2

Jim explains:
Nothing unusual huh?
Except… tomatoes have been grow biologically in the same soil for fifteen years.
The yield is greater than ever.
There is no whitefly
One only plant lost out of 150  (stunted)

Straight after tomatoes the house is planted in potatoes
The house is looking healthy
Hope it tells a story

Tomates 3  Tomatoes 4  Tomatoes 5

I should add here that Jim obtains biological assessments on his soils every year and we have noticed a continual improvement which supports his success.  His only fertiliser, pest and disease management are applications of his own composts and compost teas.  The quality of his produce is so good that it is regularly requested by the Chef of Govenment House for state dinners.

Hi Cherryle   




Thank you very much for giving so freely of your time and expertise. You have helped us immensely, we knew we were missing something and you have helped us plug that hole.  Much appreciated


Clint Fisher and Desrae Scown,   Patea.

Clint Fisher and Desrae Scown

Dear Cherryle,
Thank you so much for your great talk-one of the trainees from the BG said it was the best Hort talk she has attended(she has to attend every one as part of her training).
From my point of view you were fantastic-up in our top five of great speakers! And we have sure had some good ones over the last 8 years.

Kim ThomasTeaching and Research Assistant, Otago Polytech

Hi Cherryle,

Just wanted to get in touch to say thank you very much indeed for the two field workshops you ran for us and Avoca last week. It was lovely to finally meet you. I very much enjoyed your presentation and again added to my knowledge about things biological farming. I particularly appreciated your clear explanation of the bacteria/fungi ratios in various soils & what that indicates, and therefore how to remedy problems.

Bev TrowbridgeMuriwai Valley Farm