In this week’s In our Garden, we talk to Mandy Healey, who is growing organic vegetables and herbs in the most unlikely of places...behind the Bargara Post Office.
When Bargara Post Office proprietors’ Mandy Healey and Craig Donehue moved into their new Post Office premises 10 months ago Mandy dreamed of continuing her love of organic gardening, which she started in 2009.
Unfortunately, the ground behind the post office was not ideal for gardening.
“There was no garden at all,” Mandy said.
“Where my garden is now, it was just dirt, a mass of tree roots, and old deteriorated woodchip.
“All I knew was that I wanted to have a vegetable garden but there was only one area that we could use which was between the fence-line and the Post Office wall.
“The good thing was that this area receives beautiful sunshine for two thirds of the day.
“The challenge was the soil was the worst I had ever seen.
“Craig surprised me and made my garden beds.
“He helped me with the soil, and I look after the plants.
“As Craig says ‘It’s the perfect team effort – Mandy grows the stuff, and I eat it!'.
Mandy and Craig’s post office garden is now flourishing thanks, in part, to the compost she makes herself.
“I think the organic matter created simply from kitchen vegetable scraps has been my secret.
“Composting was easy – it’s my favourite part of gardening.
“I firstly added a layer of dirt and every day I spread all my kitchen vegetable scraps on top of the soil and the sun naturally dried the scraps.
“Occasionally I’d add a little water to help it decompose and dig the scraps into the dirt then I’d add more dirt (sand and clay), some good potting mix from the nursery.
“Within four to five weeks the dirt was transformed into a nutrient rich soil full of beneficial soil microbes for my plants.”
“And the results speak for themselves.
“I have snow peas, parsley, celery, lettuce, coriander, tomato, Asian greens, garlic, spring onions, capsicum, basil, rosemary, beans, bok choy, red cabbage, aloe vera, lemon grass, wormwood, radish, chillies, Ceylon spinach, lamb lettuce, sunflower,” Mandy said, with her customary enthusiastic smile.
- Loved reading about Mandy and Craig's post office garden? Check out last week's gardening column: “In our Garden”: as much about people as plants