Last spring my son had a brief fling with the gardening bug. “Could I please have my own space in the vege garden, Mum?” I decided to strike while the iron was hot and after school we headed straight to the garden centre. While I loaded my trolley with vege seedlings, he was taken by the colourful displays and chose punnets of flowers instead.
Now at the end of summer I’m so glad for those extra flowers. The vege garden is bursting with colour and vitality. On a sunny day, it’s impossible not to be spellbound by all the butterflies and bees. And when you linger, your eye hones in on all the other tiny creatures. Too many of them are gorging on my vege plants, but there are predatory insects too. This issue we’re all about the bees and bugs so vital to a healthy world. Find out how you can help the bees (on page 9) and get the kids involved (page 22).
Despite ‘bad’ bugs and holiday neglect, our vege garden has supplied us and all our visitors with veges throughout summer. The challenge now is to make the most of the autumn growing season and get new plants started before winter sets in. Sarah O’Neil offers advice on page 17.
There is nothing so satisfying as a garden that provides something to eat all year round. For health professional Meryn Wakelin, growing vegetables at home is the easiest way to maintain a healthy diet (read more on page 12).
It was shocking to hear in the news this month a World Health Organisation study revealing New Zealanders as among the highest fast food consumers in the world (fourth out of 25 countries). This aligns with our escalating obesity rates. It seems so tragic and unnecessary in a nation with so much space to grow healthy food.
On a local level, our schools and communities are already fighting to buck this trend, teaching our children where real food comes from. Health and gardening, food and soil - these things have always been inextricably linked.