The perfect month for chocolate lovers and practical jokers alike, April is also a top time to get into the patch! There is a little bit of rain around, the weather is cooling down, and shed loads of stuff is ready to plant! So, don’t be a bunny, get into gardening this April! Hop to it!
“All the world’s problems can be solved in a garden” Geoff Lawton, permaculturalist.
A few months back, we posted an article on how an aspect of sustainability – health – can be improved through gardening. It can make us healthier by promoting physical health, mental health through relaxation and satisfaction, and better nutrition. The scientific evidence clearly shows that gardening can indeed feed the body, mind and spirit!
Given that gardening can offer all this, let’s look at the practical aspect – what we can do at home, in our own gardens, to realise these health benefits.
After hours working in the garden it’s great to sit back and relax with a cup of tea. It’s even better if you have grown the tea yourself. One of my favourite teas is chamomile- especially my home grown, home dried tea. It’s much sweeter and less musty than some of the shop bought teas I have tried. And it’s really easy to grow and harvest.
Yackandandah is an historic country town tucked away in foothills of the Stanley State Forest in north east Victoria. It is a warm place with a well-connected community and a ‘can-do’ attitude that sees this little town punching well above its weight in making things happen. So when this little town decided they wanted a community garden, you just knew it was going to happen….somehow.
March, the month named after Mars, the Roman God of War, is an excellent month to wage war on your patch. Be it ripping out the weeds, mulching up a storm, or popping in a plethora of plants, March is the ultimate time to launch a full scale (but well planned) attack on you patch! So, all you weekend warriors… March into action!
Exciting things are afoot in the Ashwood College Permaculture Food Garden. New volunteer gardeners keep coming back to make a difference. They help weed, mulch, fertilise, water, sow and plant in our unique community garden. The Ashwood College Permaculture Food Garden (ACPFG) is a communal garden where we all pitch in with what needs doing on the day, and at the end of the session we harvest and take home the bounty. Sometimes the bounty doesn’t make it home, as was the case with the mulberries… They were delicious!
Ashwood is a suburb 14 kilometres south east of Melbourne’s CBD. Ashwood College is a state secondary school with very large grounds, some of which have been dedicated to a permaculture food garden run by local community members. The land belongs to the school, but we garden to our heart’s content with support and encouragement from the Ashwood College Council and Principal, Kerrie Croft.
When I started experimenting with wicking beds a few years ago, I was concerned about the isolation of the wicking bed’s soil. The bed’s water tank was an effective barrier to the biodiversity in the rest of the garden, so I decided to fit a build-in worm farm and populate it with composting worms to try to maintain a viable separate ecosystem.
It soon became apparent, that soil fertility required more than the worm farm could deliver, and composting worms were not the best species to distribute their vermicasts throughout the bed.
It is a great pity that so many of our citizens think of our parks, gardens, streetscapes and urban landscapes only in terms of their aesthetics. While they are beautiful and decorative, these attributes often mask the many functions that they serve in our cities to the point where their economic and environmental benefits are often overlooked.
Urban landscapes and trees have been wonderfully silent assets in our cities for decades and even centuries. They are major urban infrastructure assets. Cities are biodiversity hot spots due to the variety of habitats available in public and private open space, including front and back yards. However as assets we may need to expend resources – labour, energy, and even water – on their proper management.
In February 2009, bushfires of unprecedented size and ferocity swept across regional Victoria. During the worst days of the firestorms, 173 people lost their lives and over 2,000 homes were destroyed. In all, more than 50 townships in remote rural and regional areas of Victoria were affected. Assistance of every kind came from across Australia as a nation sought to help those affected by the bushfires. Community leaders emerged who worked long and selflessly to assist in the rebuilding process. Neighbour helped neighbour, friendships were forged, acquaintances became connected and together the community started to recover. It was in this spirit of community renewal that the Community Based Gardening Project was conceived.
Earlier in the year around 70 SGA supporters made the trek out to Brunswick to participate in the first in a series of World Café style events as part of SGA’s ongoing commitment to inspire, empower and connect communities to garden sustainably. A World Café event typically revolves around a single question that participants discuss with each other over a series of rounds. The question for the evening was “what are the possibilities when modern communities grow more of their own food?” At the end of the evening our panelists Pete Huff (Yarra City Council), Natasha Kuperman (My Home Harvest) and Cam Walker (Friends of the Earth) answered questions from our participants.