Allowing gardening to grow on you

The days are getting longer, the soil is getting warmer and spring is just around the corner. This is the perfect time to start thinking about your veggie patch.

Gardening is one of the most practical ways that you can make a positive difference to the environment. Firstly, Home gardens generally use less pesticides and fertilisers, which means less harmful chemicals going into our soil and waterways.

Growing your own also helps minimise your carbon footprint by reducing food miles. This refers to the distance that food is transported from production to consumption and the amount of fossil fuels that are burnt along the way. The distance from your backyard to the kitchen isn’t too far at all!

There are many additional benefits associated with gardening including the positive impact on physical and mental health, costs savings, increased awareness of your local environment and the opportunity for learning and sharing good food and knowledge with friends and family.

The Nelson Environment Centre is here to help support our community to get involved with any type of gardening, especially growing your own edibles. You can grow your own food regardless of how much space you have. Our Nelson location on 31 Vanguard Street is a living example of this where we have a make shift garden in recycled tubs and pots that you can come and visit.

If you are a beginner, a little bit of research and planning will go a long way and we recommend you start small. Think about the type of garden you want – beds, planter boxes, vertical or containers can all be effective. Plants can be grown either from seed or seedling and there are pros and cons of both. Seedlings have the advantage of being more established and therefore more resilient. Seeds are inexpensive and although they will take longer to mature, can be very satisfying to grow.  

The Nelson Seed Library is a great resource, which is housed at the Elma Turner library. Volunteer Ami Kennedy explained the process of borrowing, growing and returning seeds. She said “our goal is to build a seed stock, available to the public, that has been grown locally and suited to local conditions”. If you want to learn more you can go along to the upcoming Winter Seed Swap being held from 2-5pm August 11th at the Earth Hub, 235 Haven Road in Nelson. Or you can visit the self service kiosk open every day at the library, 27 Halifax St E, Nelson City.

Jess Ettridge