As we’re not gardeners, a large vege patch probably seemed like a strange decision. But this decision was driven by a want to teach our son where food comes from, and an understanding that growing our own food was better for the environment and our health.
It’s been a lot of learning (ie mistakes!) along the way and I’m sure there’s plenty more to come, but we now have a plot that provides a significant amount of our fresh produce and has made a noticeable dent in our grocery bill. In 2015 we produced over $3000 worth of food for ourselves. Our produce has very low food miles (about 20 meters from patch to kitchen really…), has no plastic packaging, no nasty chemicals and it tastes magnificent!
My cooking has also improved as a result of the vege garden, as I’ve had to learn many techniques and creative ways of using whatever produce we have in season (and often in excess!) at the time. It’s been a surprisingly enjoyable process.
In the vege area, we have a compost heap and worm farm, which takes all of our kitchen scraps and most of our lawn clippings. Our composting is still not perfect yet, but thanks to attending some great courses through Landcare, it is improving (slowly). Our worms appear to be happy, alive and produce some lovely rich castings. The compost and worms help our vegetables to thrive, and by directing food scraps here, it certainly stops our kitchen bin from stinking!
There was also an extra benefit to the vege garden we hadn’t predicted – it makes me happy. There is nothing so de-stressing than wandering around in the patch, seeing what’s growing, digging, harvesting and watching the bees at work. It’s been lovely to bond with Zavier as we dig and pull and compete for who can grow the straightest carrots (he’s winning).
We encourage everyone to give growing food a try – whether it’s a big patch, or a planter box on a balcony.