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Randwick Community Organic Garden: an oasis in the middle of the city PDF Print E-mail

ImageHorticulturist Emma Daniell knows the secret to growing healthy plants and is only too happy to share her knowledge and experience with others.  As the volunteer coordinator at the Randwick Community Organic Garden, Emma works with members of the community who are interested in changing from traditional gardening methods to organic techniques.

Horticulturist Emma Daniell knows the secret to growing healthy plants and is only too happy to share her knowledge and experience with others.  As the volunteer coordinator at the Randwick Community Organic Garden, Emma works with members of the community who are interested in changing from traditional gardening methods to organic techniques.

“For people to change to organic gardening they first have to understand about the life that exists in the soil and how ‘traditional’ methods were always organic. Chemical-intensive methods of gardening can damage the soil and the ecological balance” said Emma.

“Once people see the inter-connection, the world of organic gardening opens up before them.”

Emma has been a volunteer at the Randwick Community Organic Garden for eight years.   The gardens, which are part of an existing recreational site, are leased from Randwick Council for a peppercorn rent, and run as an incorporated association by a voluntary committee.  

Randwick Community Organic Garden is divided into two areas:  community and allotments.  To qualify for an allotment, budding gardeners must first undergo a three-month training period where they obtain skills in: organic gardening, composting, worm farming, the no dig gardening method and pest control.  They also learn about the importance of crop rotation, companion planting and the use of natural fertilisers such as seaweed and fish fertilisers.   Following this training period the gardeners are then put into various working bees to get more experience before becoming eligible for an allotment.

“The focus is on feeding the soil,” said Emma.  “Healthy soil equals healthy plants.  The no-dig method that we use is about creating a garden without disturbing the soil."

The group has a diverse range of members from young people in their twenties, families and retired people.  They hold regular meetings that include: seasonal meetings to forward plan and to cover any queries, monthly working bees and harvesting groups.  They grow predominately annual vegetables plus a selection of sub tropical fruit trees, herbs and citrus plants.

As a seasoned horticulturist Emma maintains that the most important thing people should understand about gardening is that everything is inter- connected.  “The soil is full of life it is so important that soil is kept healthy as everything grows from there,” she re-emphasised.

For more information on your local community garden group and organic gardening classes go to: www.communityfoods.org.au

Randwick Community Organic Garden is situated at Paine Reserve, corner Rainbow and Botany streets near the Scout Hall on the northern area of the park.  Working bees are held monthly on the third Sunday of the month: everyone is welcome. 


 
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