Word by Wiebke Stegh
How close together can the carrots be in this bed?
Should we cut off the stem of this spinach plant or is it better to dig out the whole root?
What does a daikon actually look like, well, what does it even taste like?
Why is it better for roots to have less nutrient soil?
How deep should we plant the radish seeds?
If you happened to be in the community garden in Bondi this Sunday, the 13thof October, these were just a small excerpt of the questions flying through the air – together with lively conversations between the around 15 gardeners, laughter, and the sound of the bees that live in the garden.
Starting time was 10 am and as cliché Germans, we surely were on time just to be very warmly welcomed by Jade and Kit who play a key role in maintaining and organizing the community garden.
After a short introduction round, Jade gave us a quick lecture about how the existing beds are going to be newly organized. Instead of having different vegetables happily mingling together in one bed, it is actually better to keep them separate. You would want to plant a different type of vegetable each season in one of you garden beds.
You start with legumes as they in fact fix nitrogen into the soil – isn’t that amazing? After the legume cycle, you would want to plant either leaves or fruits as they both need that nitrogen. Following are the roots that should put all their energy into, obviously, the roots and not into their leaves. Ever wondered why your carrots have this beautiful big green bush, just to find out – after dreaming of this wonderful big orange carrot – that the root is nowhere near to being big?! That might happen because the soil contains too much nitrogen which the carrot then uses to grow nice big leaves on top of the earth.
Well, back to the bed cycle: After having the roots in one particular garden bed, you jump back to step one and start again with planting legumes that will feed the soil with lots of nutrition. Fantastic!
Wow, we learned so much in just two hours’ time.
And just as the planting system forms a beautiful cycle with the legumes at the start and the roots at the end, the gardening session also finished with a short closing cycle in addition to the introduction cycle just two hours before.
Everyone shared things they learned (well, for us it was plenty!) and what they appreciated about the last two hours. Thanks to Jade and Kit we could even nibble on tasty self-made cookies and drink some tea while resuming the morning.
After that, all gardeners went home happily with a bunch of freshly harvested vegetables in their hands to prepare a healthy and nutritious Sunday meal. We, for example, made some rice rolls wrapped in blanched mustard green leaves – a recipe that Kit shared with us in the garden this morning. As a side, we had some nice salad with fresh lettuce from the garden, together with shiso weed and eatable flowers. Delicious!
If you are interested in being part of the community garden, in learning more about gardening, in meeting like-minded friendly people from different parts of the world, make sure to come to the next dig day. Dig day is always the second Sunday of a month, so the next one will be on the 10thof November. The gardening crew is surely looking forward to meeting you ?.