Why gardening ?
Because it is one of the solutions to:
- the population problem (people feeding themselves),
- the carbon footprint problem (no food kilometres),
- the affordability of food (seeds and seedlings are cheaper than food, then can be harvested for the next year, or swapped…)
Because it contributes to:
- community strenghtening (gardening together, intergenerations, between neighbours)
- better health (fresh -full of vitamins, no pesticides residues, physical activity)
- connecting to the Earth and its natural cycles
- relax people, provides pleasure and satisfaction therefore taking care of the gardener too!
Because it tastes good, it looks nice, it is enjoyable, rewarding and nearly free!
When owning a land, even small, it is easy to transform parts of it in vege patches, starting small, enriching the soil over the years with homemade compost.
Even when renting, most owners will allow the tenants to create raise-beds and are often happy for patches to be dug, as long as the land is restored when leaving, which is easy to do (just flatten it and saw lawn seeds). It is however more expensive as usually shorter term than above, compost usually have to be added initially and the improvement of the soil is left behind.
People living in a flat can grow on their balconies and windows… and roofs. They can advocate the creation of gardens on the shared property, in place of concreted yards or useless lawns. They can also look for some land they could use, perhaps in exchange of some work on the rest of the property. Many cities have available land that is used for gardening, family gardens or collective gardens or community gardens… Here is a list of New Zealand community gardens. If there aren’t any in your town, get some interested persons together and ask the local council for it.
If all fails, you can always start guerilla gardening, which consists in sowing and planting in public places without authorisation, even practising seed bombing. Very Naughty!
– Start small, get some books from the library (Dewey 632) or buy from http://www.organicnz.org/bookclub/ or http://www.touchwoodbooks.co.nz/Home.htm
– Do not use any chemical fertiliser nor pesticides, although you will be told it is good for your plants, even compulsory! Or you will be deceived by “natural” labels. In fact, unless it shows the Biogro label, it is not organic. So how do you take care for your plants? Compost, green manure, companion planting, crop rotation, compost, mulch, choice of local varieties, soil preparation, comfrey, nasturtium, biodiversity, observation, patience, experience and compost are some of your key-words. Did I mention compost?!
– Talk “gardening” around you. You might be surprised how many people love gardening, and have seedlings and advice to give away.
Here in Upper-Clutha…
There is no community garden… yet. It is true that we are lucky in our town, as most people do have a little patch of land around the house where to grow some veges, and many people do. It is still time to start now, if you have not yet.
There is an Upper Clutha Herb Society whose focus is on Herbs rather than veges.
Free Compost workshops are happening soon (22nd Oct 2011 and 12th Nov, 9.30-12-30, at Wanaka Wastebusters) and there is a Bio-dynamic workshops series starting 30th October.
From Green Drinks, a small group is meeting quite regularly to visit each others garden and share seedlings and knowledge.
More is probably coming, with tomorrow a forum about the Future of Food and a growing interest and need for it.