Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gravel Hill Gardens

‘There’s only one community garden within walking distance,’ says the teller at Bendigo wholefoods. 'Gravel Hill Gardens.' 

He wasn’t too friendly as Ms Tagalong explained her mission. Must have been because she had no purchases in hand.

Smiling anyway she sets off on her awfully big adventure into the wilds of Bendigo, well about three streets down and as many across.

The garden spreads down the hill, a mixture of private and communal plots with red private signs advising you not to pick others’ produce. On this sunny lunchtime only one couple are working in the garden.

A softly smiling lady bows her head in acknowledgement of Ms Tagalong’s greeting.  She shyly explains that she, Jkyawparnt, and her husband, Lahsu, came from Burma as refugees in 2007.

We were first Asians here,’ he proudly says as he guides Ms Tagalong under the grape arch and into his fenced plot with beds piled high with manure.

Ms Tagalong wasn’t sure if this was the time to tell him that the Chinese were here over a hundred years ago, an integral part of the goldrush hereabouts.  He assented but repeated that he and his wife came from the borders of Thailand and Burma, the forerunners of about four to five hundred Asian refugees settled here.

He explains that these are water beds, ridged high with the seedlings planted in the shallow of the furrows. Ms Tagalong was not able to ascertain what crops were actually grown here as they were not familiar to her but she thought he said they tasted good with frogs!

Lahsu said that Ms Tagalong should come back on Thursday to speak to the co-ordinator Mark but she had other obligations. Remember the futsal tournament?

Ms Tagalong left them to their hard work and meandered the many plots cordoned off by fences, stones and hedges of beans.

At the foot of the hill she was very impressed by the mounds of lawn clippings left by locals which contribute to the much needed compost. An idea which should be adopted at Tighes Hill she thought. 
On her return to Kings Road she got out the chalkboard and scrawled a sign asking for lawn clippings to be placed HERE!

So far the mound is not very impressive - in fact no-one seems to have noticed the sign.

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Of bikes and trailers!

A determined walk along the Bendigo Creek takes Ms Tagalong behind houses, over bridges, past the tennis courts and Lake Weerona, over the oldest remaining bridge and into Peppergreen Farm by the back way climbing over the fence.

A group of industrious men are busy painting bundles of stakes. Not for an upcoming Vampire’s convention but for local surveyors.

This community garden is mostly run by Access Industries providing work for disabled clients in the area. They mow, they whipper snip and paint stakes.

Ros Woodburn who has been co-ordinator for 2 ½ years proudly points out her transport. A bicycle with a trailer.

Keen as mustard, not the mustard lettuce growing so prolifically in Tighes Hill garden, but mustard nevertheless, she explains what she uses the trailer for.

Under a large canopied area trays of lettuces and salad greens grow. They are harvested daily and bags taken to four local restaurants who in turn provide bags of coffee grounds to be used in the compost.

Ros’s eyes glisten as she imagines fleets of these bikes traversing Bendigo taking some of the excess produce people drop off at the garden, completing the urban food cycle as it were.

Ms Tagalong tries to glimpse the ghosts that must inhabit this garden, the location of the Bendigo Chinese Market Garden but all she can see are the happily waving employees hard at work under the canopied area and a vision on a bicycle, produce in tow.

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Our own Edible Gardens Competition

This is your chance. This is your moment in the spotlight. Proud of your veggies? Proud of your fruit? Enter in the Throsby Villages Competition, open to residents of the Throsby Villages. 

Some of you assiduous readers may remember Ms Tagalong visiting Todmordern in Yorkshire and admiring their Incredible Edibles. Now it’s your turn. How sustainable are we as a community?

Do you have chooks? A bush tucker garden? A garden run on organic or permaculture principles? 

There are many categories, verge garden, container gardening, balcony gardening etc. Just download an entry form from the Facebook site and get to work on that garden!

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.