Armidale Vegetable Sowing Guide
This guide shows planting time periods that should allow you to get a crop in Armidale.
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Climate Matters: Armidale Community Garden

Six years ago a group of enthusiastic volunteers took up the challenge of turning six abandoned tennis courts into a community garden. Armidale Community Garden lies just across the creek behind the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM), and although still very much a work in progress, it has come a long way since those early days.

It has been a true community effort. Over the years many local businesses and literally hundreds of volunteers have all played a part in creating a thriving garden full of vegetables, flowers, herbs, berries and fruit trees. Sometimes the garden develops in unexpected and delightful ways according to the particular interests of those involved. It is no coincidence that there are now several well-developed strawberry patches; each year in November the Black Gully Music Festival attracts more than a thousand people to the area, mostly families, with children who want something to do; it turns out that hunting for strawberries in the Community Garden gets the thumbs up from the kids!

People interact with the garden in many different ways. Some just want to relax for a while, wandering through the garden looking at the vegetables and flowers, or taking photos against the backdrop of spectacular towering sunflowers. Sometimes families, out for an afternoon walk, drop in for a while to chat, visit the chooks or let the kids play in the sandpit. Many people come to help; building garden beds, planting seedlings, weeding and mulching, in return taking away with them a selection of freshly-picked vegetables.

The increasing popularity of backyard food growing, community gardens and farmers’ markets all indicates a growing awareness within communities that much can be done at a local level to combat climate change. Choosing locally produced food eliminates ‘food miles’ (the costs, environmental and otherwise, of transporting food long distances) and boosts the local economy, as well as all the other benefits derived from eating fresh fruit and vegetables. It provides an opportunity to take a step back from industrial agriculture, one of the significant contributors to climate change.

Last, but by no means least, there is a sense of well-being that comes from getting out in the fresh air, tending a garden and growing some food. Don’t take my word for it, come along to the Armidale Community Garden and try it for yourself; all visitors are welcome! The entire garden operates as a shared space, and is open four afternoons a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from around 1pm until dusk. The garden can be reached on foot via the footbridge behind NERAM, or by car from Taylor St.

Written by Jo Leoni Coordinator of the Community Garden

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