By Jill Coglan, WATCH (Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health)
I’m certainly not a great gardener and nor do I have the time needed to have a fantastic veggie garden.
However some good friends of ours have made us an amazing veggie garden and we’re all enjoying its ‘fruits’ as well as having a lot of fun together along the way. We live on a farm where we breed cattle and my husband and I also have ‘off farm’ jobs so our lives are pretty busy. Our friends live in town with their children but love bringing them out to the farm to enjoy the open spaces and experience farm life. Their time spent on the farm is simple but good. The children now recognise many of the cattle and love helping out with mustering and whatever else is happening. .
Their father, who loves gardening, has made an amazing veggie garden that grows pretty well anything we want. It’s almost organic with a strong focus on soil health. Throughout winter he constantly feeds the soil with manure and leftover hay or silage. He also makes compost which we use in spring and the soil is always covered with either vegetables that are growing, or straw in readiness to plant vegetables. I now understand the meaning of ‘preparing a bed’. The soil feels incredibly energised and is full of worms and very friable – and everything grows fantastically. Even during our cold winters he successfully grows snow peas, spinach, celery, brassicas, onions and garlic to name a few. We collect seed for future crops and blanch and freeze many vegetables such as corn and beans and we preserve other vegetables such as beetroot. We’ve also dried enough garlic for the coming year.
This spring we started bee keeping and this has been an enormous interest for the children. They try and work out where the bees have been foraging from the colour of the pollen in the bees’ pollen sacks. And they’re really looking forward to harvesting the honey which hopefully might be this autumn but we’ll have to make sure we leave enough honey for the bees to feed on during winter.
Sharing our soil has had rewards and consequences for us all. We’ve now got a plentiful supply of vegetables for two families and we’ve got ideas to make a transportable chook roost and run a few black Suffolk sheep. But the biggest reward has been having the children involved.
For those interested in this idea go to www.landshareaustralia.com.au