While students were enjoying their school holidays, the Cire community garden at Mt Evelyn has been bursting at the seams with extensive growth.
The tomatoes, pumpkins and zucchini plants have been quickly filling up the beds and we have already harvested more than eight kilograms of delicious zucchinis. In true community spirit, Cire families and staff have shared the zucchinis for use in slices, relish casseroles, salad, grated into pasta, crumbed, filled and roasted and even made into a chocolate cake.
Other crops that have been harvested during the Spring/Summer season include rocket, garlic, silverbeet, snap peas, garlic chives, kale, spring onion, and herbs like parsley, chives, oregano, rosemary, nasturtiums and thyme.
This year we grew four varieties of potato – White, Desiree, Royal Blue and Brake Light. The White has been extremely abundant and large in size. For flavour and versatility, Royal Blue won hands down. Delicious roasted, fried, used in salads or mashed.
The garden has struggled against wild rats and we have done what we can to protect the crops and garden beds from their destruction. It has been devastating to discover their destruction of seedlings and crops such as basil, beans, peas and more recently, the entire corn crop. However, we are always learning and adapting to our environment and hopefully, we can focus on the positives. We may not be able to harvest any corn this year but we could use the stalks as climbing frames for beans, a shelter for nearby crops and then mulch for the garden beds.
The biodiversity and health of the plants and soil, as well as the lush plantings, have encouraged an abundance of wonderful creatures who all call the garden home and have various roles to play. We have a family of three young kookaburras learning to fly and feed around the garden and also honey bees, hoverflies, butterflies, blue banded bees, lady beetles, rosellas, magpies all calling the garden home with various roles to play.
The students did an amazing job of tending to the garden during classes last year. They have injected their own unique style with art pieces and ornaments starting to appear, adding vibrancy and colour to the garden.
We are reaping many benefits from the garden. It is very productive with the array of self-sown vegetables and herbs, as well as providing seeds to collect and plant next season. The garden is also a peaceful haven for all involved. Such continuously expanding benefits are extremely rewarding and highlight how our garden awards are so well deserved.
We are looking forward to another fantastic and productive year. Happy gardening!
Cire, Mt Evelyn
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