Bribie Island, Highfields

Fresh is best! Digging in for fun, food and health

Fresh is best! Digging in for fun, food and health

Communal gardens at GemLife resorts are giving residents who enjoy growing their own fruit and vegetables the perfect place to unwind, mix with nature, meet others, keep fit, and enjoy free, fresh, and homegrown produce all year round.

Ever mindful of rising prices, a 25-strong group of gardening enthusiasts at GemLife Bribie Island meet every Thursday at the resort’s community garden to get their hands dirty in the fertile soils that are bursting with an array of fresh produce.

Community Garden Coordinator Darryl Rowlingson said the group included several vegetarians among a great team of people who like to grow their own fruit and veggies.

“We use compost and sugar cane mulch and stay away from chemical sprays and fertilisers for the best possible results,” he said.

Darryl said the garden has produced some amazing crops including pots of herbs and some rosella plants which residents are able to use for making rosella jam.

He said currently the sweet potatoes were growing well, along with the beans and peas, while the winter potato crop was due to be planted soon.

“Potatoes do best in winter because there are less pests around to feed on them,” said Darryl.

Meanwhile, at GemLife Highfields, the community garden is also home to an impressive range of winter crops including two types of cabbage, broccolini, cauliflower, bok choy, peas and radish.

Coordinator Caroline Boughton, who has been involved with the garden since August last year, said they keep the crops free of chemicals and have worm farms at each corner of the garden, which features eight beds of produce.

“The fresh produce is there for everyone to enjoy,” said Caroline.

“Once we have picked it, we put the fresh produce in a box in the barbecue area of the country club. Residents can then take what they need and donate $1 or whatever they like to help us buy more seeds for future crops. With the cost of fruit and vegetables at the supermarkets these days, it’s a real bargain and the produce is so fresh.”

Sustainable gardening methods are employed where possible in each of the GemLife community gardens, a practice that brings many benefits.

Learn how to make you own worm farm in the July issue of The Gem.

Going green with sustainable gardens

Sustainable gardening is a fancy term for growing fruits, vegetables, grass, and shrubs, in a manner that does not use harmful pesticides, and promotes a continuous harvest that does not damage the environment.

People the world over are `going green’ and growing their own vegetables at home.

The move towards `sustainable gardening’, not only reduces the carbon footprint, but also helps to promote healthier eating habits as the homegrown fruits and vegetables are free of pesticides and other preservatives commonly used in mass production.

A sustainable garden is not a difficult thing to start. All that is needed is initiative, a few simple gardening tools, seeds, soil, and determination.

A garden that yields fruits and vegetables over and over `sustains’ itself by natural means such as seeds, water, and sunlight. Other examples of effective sustainable gardening methods include the recycling of garden waste into compost that can be used in the soil, and the use of native plants that are more adaptable to the natural environment.

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