Bear­ing fruit

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR BACKYARD -

WICK­ING GAR­DEN: Matthew Mor­ton (front) and a friend wa­ter the wick­ing gar­dens which hold a reser­voir of wa­ter.

Peter Baker: It will be a lovely shady spot in sum­mer

de­signs cheery, bright and colour­ful, and wel­com­ing.”

Each Fri­day af­ter­noon, the youth club swarms to the gar­den – drawn like bees to nec­tar.

Shel­ley Kelly’s planter box de­sign of chick­ens was a favourite for Zac and Zoie Bas­sett, who de­lighted in talk­ing about their chicken Sprin­kles and the joys of eat­ing eggs.

As up to 20 chil­dren range across the gar­den, Zoie said she’d learnt a lot about fruit.

“I’ve learnt that rock­melon takes 10 weeks to grow (and) we have to wa­ter it,” she said.

Older brother Royce, who re­joined the youth club four weeks ago, munched on his favourite gar­den foods.

“I like the food that’s here – the sor­rel tastes re­ally sweet,” Royce said. “My sec­ond favourite food is the mint be­cause it’s so sweet.”

When the project be­gan, BIEDO con­trib­uted the ser­vices of their gar­dens man­ager Prue Leng, who was later re­placed by Ta­mara Kelly.

Ms Kelly’s gar­den knowl­edge was learnt from her fa­ther, who was a gar­dener.

“He had ro­ta­tional pheas­ant pens – he would spell them and grow ve­g­ies,” she said.

She ex­tended this knowl­edge into her for­mer job as an en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tor, where the chil­dren would “bring things back to me and I would tell them about it”.

Through this process of self-driven dis­cov­ery, Mt Perry’s youth have learnt to com­post, save seeds from their kitchens, pro­vide habi­tats for soli­tary bees and ex­per­i­ment with wick­ing gar­dens.

“We’re ex­per­i­ment­ing with ver­ti­cal or hor­i­zon­tal (wick­ing) gar­dens,” Ms Kelly said.

“There’s a reser­voir of wa­ter un­der­neath in­stead of soil.

“With holes about half­way, the mois­ture is kept at the bot­tom.”

Hav­ing wa­tered the soil un­til there were no more bub­bles, some chil­dren be­gan plant­ing pota­toes in pots while Luke and oth­ers were off to ex­plore the na­tive bee habi­tats.

The young gar­den­ers have been ex­per­i­ment­ing with dif­fer­ent soli­tary bee habi­tats from blocks of wood with holes drilled in them to small plas­tic or bam­boo pipes.

“The dif­fer­ence be­tween a bee and a wasp is the bee eats pollen,” she said.

As Ms Kelly farewells the youth, she re­minded them they were wel­come to come dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

There will be mulching, wa­ter­ing and plant­ing to do, toma­toes and rocket to be har­vested, bee­tles and bees to ob­serve.

Mt Perry res­i­dents who would like to par­tic­i­pate may con­tact Ms Kelly on 0429 138 669 or biedog­a­r­den@bur­nett. net.au.

PHO­TOS: SHIRLEY WAY

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