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How to: grow your vegies on the verge

Photo - Linda Ross

We are fortunate to have a reasonably big space in our garden that we can allocate simply to growing food. We still use all the space-saving techniques we can – growing multiple vegetables on big tripods, nestling leaf lettuce among taller growing vegetables like sugar snap peas, growing garlic under the citrus, and carrots between the cauliflowers. Other gardeners make the most of space on a sunny balcony or terrace. If that’s not an option for you either, consider what might done on the verge! With a little street participation, the oft-neglected, and certainly under-utilised, grassy strip between the road and footpath can become productive. Overflowing with bounty the verge can be garden, market, school for food, and a great focus for the neighbours and the wider community. The no-dig garden strategy developed by Sydney gardener Esther Dean in the ‘70s is the best approach to this space.


Photo - Linda Ross

Here’s what to do.

1. Call your local council to check on any regulations or rules regarding verge gardens. When drawing up plans keep in mind that pathways need to kept clear and it needs to be easy to get in and out of cars.

2. Once you have the all-clear, create a giant layered sandwich: cover the entire area with newspaper, topped with layer of cow manure, then a layer of straw, another layer of cow manure and another layer of straw.

3. Make small planting holes in this sandwich and fill with a few handfuls of compost. Plant seedlings into these holes.

4. Water well.

5. Choose low-growing edibles such as salad greens, herbs, spinach, rocket, and chard.

6. Set up a watering schedule among the interested neighbours to share the load.


Text: Linda Ross

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Author: Linda Ross