With Winter comes many changes in the garden. The icy temperatures are a time to introduce different products and turn our focus to preparing for spring and summer abundance. In establishing a winter vegetable garden, we have introduced lots of brassicas, with some purple cauliflower and purple broccoli being something of a highlight! A collection of lettuces and cabbages, plus silver beet and kale to beat those grocery store prices. As the soil becomes cold and dormant, Participants are learning about the different processes involved in the improvement of soil, from worms to green mulch crops to massive manure hot piles.
Participants have established a green manure crop that is growing thick and strong – a lush green highlight in the veggie patch. Alongside this, we have an enormous manure hot pile, established with endless bags of horse manure, straw and paper (an initially stinky task). These cold mornings have provided a wonderful opportunity to witness the heat and steam of the pile as we turn it over and keep it cooking! It’s a wonderful moment of the week putting cold hands onto the toasty warm pile and lifting it to watch the steam rise like a hot oven!
Participants are also looking to beautify the garden space and protect our environment with the establishment of a native garden at the entrance welcoming everyone to Lifeskills. This project will be ongoing learning with specialists from La Trobe University’s Nangak Tamboree Wildlife Sanctuary, where we will contribute by volunteering once a month. We will learn about seed propagation, plant choices, land management and environmentally friendly weed control. The new native garden spaces will provide bush tucker and varied flowering indigenous plants, establishing an environment attractive to our local native bee, butterfly, and bird life! A welcoming environment for all!
Sara Johnson – Participant Support Worker