“I grew up as a city girl from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam who have always loved nature.
I had lived in Denmark for a few years since I got married. The cool weather would prohibited me from growing many of the things, I missed from my home country, Vietnam. But one day, I wanted to try growing potatoes from a few sprouting ones left over in the kitchen. A few months later, digging up those potatoes was an exciting moment for me and getting to taste it fresh for the first time in my life, inspired me to have my own veggie garden.
Other than the fact that I enjoy gardening and treat my garden as my sanctuary, I enjoy knowing that what I eat is completely organic and, naturally, everything home-grown just tastes so much better.
Now I live in Maitland in New South Wales and my total garden is around 500 m2, of which I have converted nearly 400 m2 into a kitchen garden. I try to create my own compost using scraps from the kitchen, garden waste and chicken manure from my coop. I try to use the companion planting method when possible to keep pests to a minimum. I also protect my produce with nets and fruit fly traps, or I spray my veggies with home grown chili/garlic water.
The hot, dry Australian climate is the biggest issue. Although it is hot enough to grow tropical produce it doesn’t rain as much as in the monsoon tropics and it can get very hard to keep everything with enough water – particularly through a drought. In the winter half of my veggie garden doesn’t have sun because the sun is too low in the sky and houses and trees cast a lot of shade.
My husband and I get to eat fresh, organic produce that we know is entirely free of any sort of chemicals – and we can just walk out in the garden and pick what we need when we need it. The joy I feel when working in my garden and eating my veggies is also one of the biggest rewards. It is like free therapy and good exercise for me everyday right at home.
I am a member of the local, organic Slow Food market where I sell my surplus of produce every fortnight. This is also where I share seeds with the other growers and share tips and tricks for growing healthy, organic food.
I started with no knowledge and learned by trial and error, using the internet, my network and reading books about gardening. If a city girl like me can learn to grow food, then I believe everyone can. So don’t give up!”