Finally, after more than one year since applying for a plot in the local community garden, we’ve got one! Coincidentally, we received the news on the day Sustainable Echo was celebrating its first birthday. It felt like a real anniversary present for us.
A few years ago, the waiting period was much shorter as the turnout was quicker. Nowadays, people are committing to their community garden plots. Our application was timely because the waiting list grew longer and longer so much so that no applications are accepted for a year till June 2010. Also, to accommodate the interest, all full plots that become available are split into two half plots.
Our small veggie patch at home is just not big enough for us. We gave up more than a half of it to our three chickens and added a container garden. However, in winter we can’t grow anything as it’s in the complete shade for months. This community garden receives full sun year round and we are really excited to finally be able to grow our broccoli, cabbage and other winter veggies.
Join a Community garden near you
If you would like to grow more veggies, but have little or no garden space, see if there is a community garden near you. Not only is this a best way of getting fresh organic veggies if you have no garden, but also there is a great sense of community. We’ve already met some wonderful people.
Some form of fee, like joining fee, annual fee or similar is offset very quickly once you start to harvest the produce. Our joining and annual fee equals the amount we spend on fruit and veggies for a month. Every year after there is only an annual fee – the amount we spend on one trip to the farmers market. Plus, all the produce from our plot will be organic!
Our Two-stage vegetable planting project
As summer is approaching and we are experiencing unusually hot spring weather, we rolled our sleeves up. As you can see above, we first needed to loosen the slightly compacted, but very good soil. We inherited a cauliflower and a bunch of silverbeet (chard) on the right in the picture. The pest ridden cauliflower was devoured by our chickens, but silverbeet is left so we can collect the seeds.
The picture below is stage one finished, taken after sunset. We’ve planted cucumber, corn, sunflower, zucchini (courgette), eggplant (aubergine) and tomatoes (self-seeded and Roma).
The next evening stage two was finished. We had to work late to avoid heat and give the plants a chance to soak up the moisture during the night. We added beans (green and butter beans), spring onions, beetroots, peas, red capsicums and marigold (calendula) at each corner as it deters several garden pests:
This picture below was taken early next morning just before watering. We’ve added some mulch to retain the moisture. Due to years of drought watering is allowed only twice a week in the morning, other days we use rainwater and watering cans.
It takes only 7-8 minutes on the bike to the garden and 5 minutes from (it’s downhill on the way back :-)), nice and close so we can pop in very often. All plants are still OK and hopefully will establish themselves before the hot Australian summer.