By Graeme (Plot 242)
My earliest memory of gardening is Mum’s flower garden, which I was conscripted to weed on occasions. Well, I did my best to pull out the most obvious weeds, but when inspection time came for the Conscriptor to check my handiwork, of course it was pointed out all the weeds which still stood tall in that garden patch. As much as I hated weeding, I think this experience has made me into the weed hater I have become today! Dad controlled the vegie garden and I remember tomatoes, beans and potatoes etc. I think this also had an impact upon my young mind.
But circumstances in life took over. Many years went by and in my twenties, my wife Maree and I became missionaries in Arnhem Land. My day job was managing the market garden in the community known today as Gunbarllanja. It was there that my interest in growing things really developed. I was taught about growing bananas and sweet potatoes, and occasionally paw paws, watermelons, peanuts, etc by my Aboriginal ‘brother’ Balarda, who had worked in the garden for many years.
By the time I left the North and went to work in Gippsland I had caught the bug of gardening. One place we lived, was at Bruthen, where I developed further, what I had been experimenting with at Gunbarllanja – mulching my garden. I picked this up from reading a little book called “The No Dig Garden”. Since then I have always heavily mulched my gardens. This prevents weeds growing –and if they do happen to pop up, they are very easily removed. I also grew potatoes by planting them just under the mulch instead of in the ground. The outcome was lovely clean potatoes.
When I retired a couple of years ago, my son Andrew, who then was a counsellor to ‘old people’, took me on as one of his ‘clients’ so to speak, advising me to take up a community garden plot, which I did, partly to humour him, but also seeing this as good advice from my son and as a way of meeting people in my retirement.
Well, after being a half plot gardener for the past year or two (plot 242B), I am now the proud owner of full plot 242 at Slater Garden. Over the past couple of years I have been growing the usual variety of vegies and while I was off for a while last year, following foot surgery, my wife Maree looked after the plot and became very interested in vegie gardening. So with all I – eh we have been growing, Maree has now turned her hand to preserving tomatoes, zucchinis, caulies, cabbages, etc. We continue during the winter, enjoying Summer’s produce.
This Spring my plan is to plant a bumper crop of all good foods for our table and to share with others.
I press on with my motto in the Garden:-
– well, not very many anyway.