Your own veggie garden KIMBERLEY GREY SMH February 19, 2010

Discussion in 'News from around the damp planet' started by Michaelangelica, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

    May 2, 2006
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    Your own veggie garden
    February 19, 2010
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    Growing your own veggie garden – whether at home or in a community space - can be a nurturing way to reduce your weekly grocery budget. It can also bring a instant transformation to your home’s outdoor setting.

    A veggie patch of your own

    Tiku Peters teaches organic gardening and farming to school children through Ceres, a community garden in Brunswick, in Melbourne’s north. Peters has recently moved into a new home with a large garden and is excited about setting up her own veggie patch.

    “I am going to set it up in the front yard because it’s north facing, so it will get most of the winter sun as well. It will be a small veggie plot - just some tomatoes, lettuces and spinaches, all the stuff I would usually buy from the shop. All around the garden I’ve just planted sun flowers, and I’m really into perennial herbs at the moment like rosemary, camomile and wild rocket,” she says.

    Peters says is can take a while before you sharpen your gardening skills enough to save money on groceries, but the gardening process itself helps you focus on a simpler lifestyle.

    “Health is the main benefit because the quality of the food is better and more nutritious and it makes my lifestyle choices more simplified. You could end up saving money overall if you simplified other things in your life. You make healthy choices around your food and then your lifestyle,” she says.

    A community garden: advice is free whether you want it or not

    Rob Taylor, president of the community garden Veg Out in St Kilda, says social interaction and support is one of the greatest benefits for residents sharing facilities at the beachside garden space.

    “It’s good fun, we have a few laughs. Some people aren’t great gardeners but they get so much out of enjoying the garden, learning from their mistakes, getting out of the house.”

    Taylor says there can be huge economical gains once people get a handle on their gardening skills.

    “If you’re a keen gardener and you know what you’re doing you can save a boat load of money. I don’t even try that hard and I’m struggling to get rid of all my veggies,” he says.

    And if you’re a little green on your gardening skills, there’s always someone around to share some tips, he says.

    “It’s a bit like golf, everyone’s an expert.”

    Taylor says there are various structures for community gardens and how they are managed, with Veg Out being focussed on creating a communal space, encouraging participation from across the community. Most residents pay less than $100 a year for a veggie patch, which are issued on a ‘use it or lose it’ basis.

    A backyard blitz in permaculture: you ready to volunteer?

    There is also a home-grown option for people willing to invest some time learning about permaculture and volunteering. And you might end up getting some instant results for your efforts.

    Adam Grubb, from Very Edible Gardens, teaches people about growing their own sustainable organic gardens. He is also co-founder of Permablitz, a volunteer network that organises one-day permaculture garden makeovers.

    “Permaculture is about providing for some of our needs in ways which actually enhance the environment by learning from the patterns in nature,” Grubb says.

    “With Permablitz, you have a team of volunteers turn up to your house and transform your backyard in a day, but unlike the TV version, it’s not just about aesthetics it’s about productive as well as beautiful gardens. You’ll have a bounty of fresh fruit better than anything you can buy in the shops, you’ll have salad greens and tomatoes and all the veggies.”

    Once a person has volunteered on three Permablitz makeover days, they are eligible to have their own garden transformed by a team of volunteers.

    “You’re looking at saving several thousands of dollars of labour on that day [of the blitz]. But the real savings are the ones you get on spending less money on food, driving less to go to the supermarket, and the health benefits, and we can’t quantify this, but it means you save money on sick time at work or just doctors bills from just eating healthier.”

    Whether you choose to create your own little veggie patch, join a community garden or opt-in for total transformation: seems like you’ll be joining part of a growing campaign.

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