Community Gardening

Last week we popped up the road to the Taroona Neighbourhood Garden to meet TNG president Michael Lynch.

Sam and I arrived early to wander around and take some snaps of this beautiful space. While we waited for Michael to arrive we chatted to some of the friendly community gardeners that each had a plot, and have had them for many years. It was so nice to hear their stories, some popping down on a lunch break and others ducking in while walking the dog to grab some herbs for dinner.

Michael arrived and knew all the fellow gardeners personally, a lovely kind man who you felt like you had known for years. 

Each plot is lovingly maintained and the space so neat and tidy. Even a mud kitchen in the corner for kids. Michael showed us the little plot that belonged to the playgroup up the road.

We then sat down in the middle of the garden and chatted to Michael about what the Taroona Neighbourhood Garden means to the community of Taroona.

How does the community garden work?

"Well the way the garden is organised is that we've got 52 individual plots and Taroona families rent a plot for $60 a year. And we, the garden organisation, provides the soil, compost and the horse manure for them. They then can plant out whatever they like."

"It's interesting in a suburb like Taroona, where there aren't many apartments, that there are so many people who choose to have a plot here. We've got the 52 plots, and we've got nine families on the waiting list for plots, so clearly there's a real need for it, even in a suburb that's got big backyards."

Why do you think people grow here when they have space in their backyard?

"I think it's as much about the communal stuff ... and learning from others.

I think we all learn every time we come to the garden about something to do differently, or something not to do or whatever it might be.

Where we're sitting now, in this open space in the middle of the garden, we're surrounded by two long community beds, which are planted out by people who have plots and then the produce is shared. So it's as much a community meeting space, I think, as it is a garden.

My wife and I have a villa in Taroona with a small garden, but we've also got a plot here, because we can grow extra stuff. Maybe that's part of it, that you can grow stuff at home, and then you can grow other stuff here."

Can you tell us about the swap giveaway stall out the front?

"Well, there's two things. The giveaway boxes out the front, we've had for a couple of years, because even without the community beds, a lot of the individual beds were producing more food than they needed. Things like zucchini, where you get 87 ton of zucchini, all come on in a couple of weeks of each other. We built the stall out the front there for people to leave excess produce.

Just recently... Well the last 12 months, we've started on the first Sunday of every month a crop swap. People, not only community garden members, but just folk from around Taroona, bring in their excess produce or jam jars, or cans or gardening books, whatever it is, and lay it all out in this area here and swap. And it's just going gangbusters. We have 30 or 40 people, the first Sunday of every month bring their stuff along. It's amazing."

What's your favorite gardening tip?

"We've got a small garden at home, at our villa, but there's just the two of us. Whereas if you come down here, there's always somebody, and there's usually different people each day, at each time of the day, you can have a chat and get tips from them. So my tip is get tips from people that have done it before."

We think that is best tip we have been given.

As we left the garden Faye, a TNG gardener handed us a handful of her cucumbers, we left feeling so welcomed and understood completely why you would want to be part of such a wonderful community. Heart warming. 

Taroona Neighbourhood Garden Facebook Page


Taroona Neighbourhood Garden Facebook Page