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Whether you are after a new hobby or dreaming of that farm-to-table life, now is the perfect time to start a garden! Gardening allows you to slow down, immerse in nature, and feel the rhythm of the seasons. It also gives you yummy food to eat and gorgeous flowers to smell. Win-win!
To learn more about the basics of gardening, I reached out to Michelle, my older sister and a keen gardener. Michelle lives down in South Gippsland in a humble weatherboard nestled amongst the hills. Whenever I visit, the kids are normally outside playing and Michelle is in the garden wearing her very dirty Merry People boots. After hugs and hellos, Michelle often jumps into excitedly showing me what she is growing. And she should be excited! I may embarrass her now, but this year she entered some of her vegetables into the local Korumburra Show and - to her surprise - she won Best Zucchini! (I think for Christmas this year I’m going to get her a plaque to put up on her mailbox!)
Michelle has always been very passionate about the role food plays in our lives, from how it is grown to the social aspects of mealtime. Her cookbooks are like well-studied textbooks, full of post-its, dog-eared pages, and handwritten notes and she is always seeking to learn more about gardening. She believes deeply in the value of creating a joyful meal that brings the family together and gives everyone something to look forward to each night.
Harkening back to our childhood, Michelle is in her gumboots doing what makes her happy. As her sister, that is just the best thing to see and I can’t wait to visit her again (and sneak my niece and nephews a Kinder surprise!). Until then, I’m happy to share her gardening journey and hopefully inspire any newbie green thumbs out there to connect to their garden and food. Enjoy!
I (we) ;) grew up on a farm in Gippsland and always loved being outdoors - making mud pies or daisy chains in the garden with you! In my twenties, I moved to the Gold Coast and stayed there for 12 years. While I loved the Gold Coast and its many outdoor opportunities, part of me yearned to live a simpler life without the cars and traffic and be closer to family in Victoria. So, a year ago, my little family and I moved back to rural living.
In full honesty - it was hard to adapt! Random power outages, relying on tank water, plus our first real winter in 12 years! That said, despite the shock and adjustment, it was also an adventure and without a doubt, gardening played a pivotal role in connecting us into our new community.
After we moved, I joined the local Community Garden and I haven’t looked back. I am so thankful to all the Leongatha Community Garden members. Importantly, the Community Garden helped me navigate a new and uncertain time in my life – something I’m sure a lot of us can relate to right now in our lives.
It really has. Gardening and its wider community has given me so much joy over the years, and I hope it can give others just as much joy.
Probably the most important advice I can give is to treat the whole process as one big experiment and have fun with it. Plant in the rain, rejoice when you see your seeds sprout, and have a celebratory meal with your first harvest - or every harvest! Gardening can be like parenting sometimes – some things will work, some things won’t, but you learn from the process and that makes you better next time.
Besides having fun, here are some more practical tips to get going:
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