Organic vegetable farming
Organic vegetable farming has suffered for a considerable length of time from the misconception that you have to pay more for poor quality vegetables when buying organic. In certain instances this is still true, especially where small-scale gardeners grow some vegetables part-time and sell these on the open market. A contributing factor to this is the belief that permaculture (with 'companion' planting) is the only way to grow vegetables. Larger vegetable farmers believe it impractible and are not interested in doing organic farming. Permaculture has it's place in rural subsistence farming where labour is not a factor. In our opinion we have serious doubt about the sustainability of this system and whether it is an economically viable practice. When I first started growing organic vegetables this was how I did it but as the area under crops got bigger the companion planting and the whole permaculture method proved too labour intensive, and failed.
We have found that the method that works best is a no-till system with heavy mulching using vermicompost as fertiliser. Using this method large fields can be grown and good crop rotation can be implemented . Yields under this system are as good as, if not better than that produced by conventional methods. Additionally the vegetables are of good quality, and exhibit long shelf life. There is also evidence that they are more nutritious(1) than chemically grown crops.
1. Soil Association : Food Quality & Your Health.