Chelsea van Rijn at Trevallan Lifestyle Centre.
Chelsea van Rijn at Trevallan Lifestyle Centre. Sarah Harvey

Beat price rises, grow own food

WITH the price of fruit and vegetables skyrocketing, people are increasingly turning to their own back yards to cut household costs.

The trend has seen Ipswich families flocking to local nurseries and community gardens to start their own fruit and vegetable gardens.

Westfalen Community Garden president Trevor Gardiner said late last year the number of people wanting to grow their own fruit and vegetables had doubled.

There are now 65 individual plots at the Collingwood Park garden.

Mr Gardiner said he was confident that once people got back on their feet after the floods the trend would continue this year as more and more people looked for a cheaper alternative.

“People are realising that what you buy from the supermarket is not actually fresh, often it has been in cold storage,” Mr Gardiner said.

“People want to have a go at growing their own.

“It takes a bit of work to get up and going, but once you do it is pretty easy to keep going.”

The Riverview resident estimates he grows 75 per cent of his own vegetables, sourcing the rest from people at the garden.

Mr Gardiner said the key to a successful garden was making your own compost out of vegetable scraps and straw.

He said this mix could be stored in an old garbage bin, and once decayed, helped produce “beautiful vegies”, not to mention being a great way to recycle.

Trevallan Lifestyle Centre manager Chelsea van Rijn said she had also seen an increase in the number of people buying vegetable seedlings and fruit.

Mrs van Rijn said space wasn’t a factor, with vegetables able to flourish in pots.

“You don’t have to have acreage,” she said.

“A lot of people live in estates now with very little room, but they have back patios and can have citrus or vegetables in pots.”

She said traditionally people held off replanting their gardens until the weather started to cool down around mid-March.

That gives you plenty of time to prepare the ground for planting, which Mrs Van Rijn said was very important.

“If you want good vegetables, you have to start with good soil,” she said.

“Especially after the floods, it is important to add compost to put back the trace elements which washed away.”

She said if people chose the pot option for their vegetables, it was also important to invest in good quality potting mix.

Mrs Van Rijn said vegetables to plant in the cooler months included broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and peas.

“Lettuce and tomato grow all year round, as do a lot of herbs,” she said.

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