Green thumbs harvest all year round
Words by Graeme Scott
Here at Halcyon Parks our gardening group the Green Thumbs have gone from strength to strength since planting our first edible garden in January 2015.
We had four garden beds back then and we harvested and sold our first crop in May that year.
Since then we have added an additional 16 garden beds which are 6m x 1.5m x 0.6m high, which is the largest across any Halcyon community.
We have around 26 members in the Green Thumbs, with nine hands-on gardeners who have several jobs like planting seeds, planting seedlings, digging over beds as they become vacant, fertilising, spraying and harvesting.
Most advice around the cultivation of vegetables revolves around the classic four seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Here on the alluvial plain of Meridan Plains we do not experience the true four seasons. We have distinct hot and cool seasons and this has an effect on the production of some varieties of fruit and vegetables. For example we have had no success in producing good quality cauliflower, broccoli and broad beans. Lush growth but no fruit.
From our experience based on what we have grown successfully over the past six years we can divide our production into three phases - all year round, hot months and cooler months.
All year round: tomatoes, beans, spring onions, silver beet, bok choy, chili, capsicum, radish, lettuce, leeks and asparagus.
Hot months: pumpkin, zucchini, squashes, okra, marrow, corn, cucumbers and eggplant.
Cooler months: cabbage, peas, turnips, beetroot, english spinach, kolrabi and daikon.
We also planted a citrus orchard and we have cumquat, mandarines, limes, oranges, grapefruit, and lemons. We have also planted feijoa, bananas, jaboticaba and a passionfruit vine.
We harvest at 2pm on Friday and sell the produce for a $1.00 a bag at 5pm at the Recreation Club. All proceeds are used to buy fertiliser, soil, netting and frames to cover the young plants.