SCSA Brighton Group – Learning to grow – Progress!

by Veronique

This is number two in a series of posts describing our local community initiatives and activities during Autumn/Winter 2012. We first met on a sunny afternoon in April when a group of neighbours gathered in our driveway for a workshop on container gardening. At the end of that day everyone went home with Styrofoam boxes containing a mixture of seeds and seedlings.

In May we met again to check the growth and progress of our seeds and seedlings.  We strolled down our street and visited all the participating households to look at the planter boxes. It was unusual to see so many people on the road. We are used to seeing lots of cars coming in and out of driveways. We see people inside the cars looking very purposeful.  Perhaps we are taking a child to a sporting activity or going to the supermarket. Perhaps we are on our way to work and already looking forward to our morning tea break.

Here we are on the day, just strolling along the road, chatting and wondering about what we will see and do. We are enjoying the sunshine and looking at trees, front yards and verges. Someone said “what will the neighbours think?!”  A few days later a smiling neighbour said: “We saw you!”

So, what did we see? We saw little green carpets of baby seedlings where seeds were planted a month ago. The older seedlings had also grown. We saw new life had been created and great care had been taken to nurture it. And what did we do? We learned to ‘thin’ and transplant seedlings. Plants, like us, need room to grow. So we shared some of our extra seedlings with our neighbours, we moved some to spots where nothing was growing and we just laid some on top of the soil where they will breakdown and provide more food for the others.

Now we are no longer just looking, watering and waiting. We picked up our trowels and made some important decisions like what will stay where it was planted and what will be moved somewhere else. Just like us plants need a little extra care and attention when they are moved. Their roots have been disturbed and they will need a little time to get re-established. Transplanted seedlings also need to be watered straight away and every day for at least a week. Then, if there is no rain, spraying them 2 or 3 times a week should be sufficient. The bigger and stronger plants are the less help they need, but they will always need water, food and sunshine.

A month later, fresh lettuce leaves and parsley were harvested for school lunches and side salads. Everyone agreed they tasted much better than supermarket lettuces and it was easy to just step outside our door to pick what was needed – convenience food at its best.

Check out Veronique’s blog here!

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6 thoughts on “SCSA Brighton Group – Learning to grow – Progress!

  1. Thank you, Beth.
    It is not easy at a time when so many live such busy and structured lives. I think the key factor to the success of this activity was the children’s enthusiasm and the parents’ willingness to support that enthusiasm. As adults, it certainly involved stepping out of our comfort zone to connect with new people. It is truly amazing how isolated we can be in the suburbs and yet we are surrounded by so many truly amazing and wonderful people!

  2. Great stuff Veronique! Very inspiring. I’m a member of SCSA but not very experienced at growing veggies – am about to start on a couple of foam boxes of seeds myself and your comments are really helpful.

  3. Hi Anne – I appreciate your words of encouragement. Foam boxes are a good place to start growing vegetables. Once filled with soil, they remain relatively light and can easily be moved to follow the sun in winter and shade in summer. They can be positioned close to a front or back door for quick pickings. Down the track, they can be used to construct an external container ‘wall’ to create a raised vegetable bed. Using these as growing containers is also a good way to recycle and they are free!

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