By Sabrina Hahn
A resurgence of interest in growing your own herbs, fruit and veges has hit an all time high. The three main factors contributing to this are — the increase in the price of food, concerns about how far the food has travelled before it lands on your plate, and what pesticides and fungicides have been sprayed on the food during growth. People are genuinely wanting to go for a more sustainable way of consuming food and are choosing to go organic where possible.
An interesting development of this movement is the creation of community gardens and school gardens where people share both knowledge and food. Even local governments are allocating land for the establishment of community gardens, understanding the benefits of bringing people together with a productive outcome.
For those of you who were brought up on home grown produce, the flavour of freshly picked food beats anything that has been in cold storage for a month. I’m not for a minute suggesting that growing your own is all fun and abundance, there are always challenges when encountering nature with higher expectations than experience, but its certainly worth giving it your best shot.
The idea of growing veges without digging the ground up was made popular in the 1970’s by the enigmatic Ester Dean, an enthusiastic and wonderful gardener who opened her garden up to the public demonstrating the joys of growing food organically. Her book was titled ‘Growing without Digging’ and gave the reader step by step instructions to making a lasagna layered bed to grow veges in. It’s a brilliant way of growing your own, particularly in light of water shortages and the smaller spaces that are now dedicated to the garden. Raised beds can be made from bales of hay, shortened rainwater tanks [see above], limestone, marine boards, railway sleepers or brick; it depends on the design of your garden and what will fit the budget.
Keep in mind that the height of your box should be a minimum of 40 cm to ensure optimum growth. The great thing about raised beds is that basically it doesn’t matter what your soil type is, this method of gardening can be done anywhere. If you have no space at all, try putting it out on your verge and encouraging all your neighbours to do the same. You could create a street long market garden and share both experiences and food.