Docklands Community Garden

Community gardens are great places to learn how to grow fruit and vegetables from experienced amateurs who are willing to share their skills with newbie’s   Well that is what I have heard, because unfortunately, I am not a member of such a group.

We do have the start of a community garden in our town of Melton, which is great and I totally support it, but I haven’t gotten fully involved as yet as my spare time is scarcer than hens teeth.

I know lots of people who sing the praises of their regular visits to their local community garden.  They often tell me that it is a learning rich environment and a joy to work in on weekends.

So, to my surprise, I stumbled across a very small community garden a couple of days ago.  As I am still exploring my new work environment during my lunch hour, I had not discovered it before among the high-rise apartment blocks and office towers.  It was like finding a gold nugget in a pile of steaming horse poo!

Firstly there was a meeting place which also had an electric BBQ.  It looks like great for a rest after caring for the garden.

There are a few types of garden bed.  These few are made of recycled hardwood, probably from around the dock area.  On the rear wall there was some kind of vertical garden, but there were no plants in it.

This type of corrugated iron bed is becoming more popular, but I think they are quite expensive.  I don’t know if I would place a fruit tree in the middle of it.  Any vegetables that you planted around it would suffer from lack of water.  Still, it is the thought that counts.

Then there were some pine beds, which I don’t think were treated.  Lots of marigolds in them but not a lot of veg.

This corrugated iron bed had a small peach tree in it surrounded by mountains of nasturtiums.  It was a very colourful addition to the garden.  I particularly liked the wooden chairs, which were very comfortable.

Olives galore in these four raised beds.  I didn’t notice any fruit, but they were healthy.  Maybe next season, as they looked quite young.

Then there was a citrus orchard down the roadside in large round raised beds.  There were no labels to distinguish what type of citrus they were, but I think they were lemons and limes if my trees a home are anything to go by.

In the centre there was this random space, which could have been used a little more effectively.  The seating is nice, but I would have tried to squeeze in a few more beds.

Here is an aerial view of the community garden, hidden away in the middle.  As you can see it is not very big, and lots of room for expansion on the western side.

Overall, I was very impressed that a modern development had considered one of the basic needs of the surrounding residents, which is the desire to grow food.  The garden was well cared for, and blended in with its locale.

I think I will call the number on the sign tomorrow and see if they need a hand during my lunch hour.  Now that would be something to look forward to during the work day.

Does anyone else have a local community garden that they visit or grow food in?  I would love to hear about your experiences.

Comments

  1. says

    I was in Melbourne over the weekend and was delighted to find Veg Out Community Garden in St Kilda. If you have never been, you must. The place is paradise. Well, paradise filled with ailing broad beans.

    We have an disused block in our street that has been turned into a community garden of sorts. What was once a patch of broken bitumen and weeds is now a lush mix of raised garden beds, pots, buckets and beds with everything from horseradish to kale to tomatoes to all kinds of herbs to cucumber growing away happily and healthily.

  2. says

    There are a few community gardens in the Sunshine and St Albans area which are quite nice. Like you, I haven’t spent any serious time in them as my place seems to soak up all my time. Although I do visit them when they have open days or similar.

    I agree that the St Kilda garden is a delight. They also have some good meeting room and community facilities on the site as well.

    Cheers

  3. says

    Hi Gavin. We have a great community garden at Beelarong Community Farm in Brisbane. Here is the link. http://www.beelarong.org.au
    I joined about two years ago as a Wednesday morning volunteer. Since then I have rented my own allotment there. The community garden is at the centre of the farm and the allotments are sited around the edge. Unlike the allotments in the UK ours are quite small, each plot being approximately 8 square metres.
    It’s a great social community. Our Wednesday morning group all stop at 10am to share a morning tea and a good natter.
    Incidentally, when I was in Melbourne a few months ago I visited the Veg Out Community Garden in St Kilda. It was beautifully maintained, with lots of garden art. Well worth a visit.

  4. says

    What a great use of a space.We don’t have any community gardens here in our city. There have been attempts before and one actually got started years ago, but was taken back when Coles moved in and needed the area for a car park! We now have one planned for some vacant land near our local Organic shop which has become a real hub for like minded souls and so will be quite productive I think.

  5. says

    Ballan has a community garden tucked in a lovely north facing space behind the Police station. I’ve done a drive by as one of my readders mentioned it was there. It looks like a pretty comprehensive set up with a few hens, compost and garden beds. I was very impressed.
    And if the St Kilda one is the one I’ve seen on Gardening Australia then it is definitely most impressive.

  6. says

    Can someone explain community garden to this northerner? Is it a municipal space, looked after by volunteers? Or completely volunteeer driven like the Incredible Edible people in Todmorden? Or is it like a raised bed version of allotment gardening?

    The Docklands one looks great – a nice spot to get away from the office, for sure.

  7. says

    I like your description of Docklands as ‘steaming horse poo’ – that made me laugh! My partner works in Docklands and thinks the same thing. I’ll let him know to check out the community veg garden.

  8. says

    One reason community gardens often look a bit sparse is for accessibility. Councils put stipulations on community gardens that they must be fully wheelchair-accessible, so you have to have nice wide paths, avoid steps, etc. It also helps vision-impaired visitors, too. At home, of course, you can pack stuff in much more densely!

    Gav, did they use much irrigation around the garden beds? I can’t see any in the photos, but it could be hidden in the shadows or under the mulch.

  9. Richard says

    Anyone know (or guess) the size of the round colorbond planters the olive trees are in (800mm or 1.2m diameter, 800mm high)? I’d like to copy this at home, depending on cost. The garden design looks fantastic!

    Rich

  10. Chris Koehn says

    Hi Gavin,
    You were more than happy to bag the Docklands community garden in 2012 saying that most things wont work!!!
    Perhaps you should come back and re visit our garden and all the negative things that you commented about were totally incorrect.
    We are a small group of dedicated volunteers that upkeep our garden which is very successful,Your comments were very premture and not fair,regards Chris Koehn

    • Gavin Webber says

      Hi Chris, sorry that you felt that the blog post was negative. I am sure that you put a lot of passion into the garden, and I might just take up your invitation and visit again soon. I am sure my readers would love an update about your great work.

      Kind regards,
      Gav

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