Push to establish Karuah's community garden

DETERMINED: Karuah resident Peter James is behind a push to get the town's community garden up and running once and for all. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

DETERMINED: Karuah resident Peter James is behind a push to get the town's community garden up and running once and for all. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

SAY the words “community garden” and often you will hear “hard work” in reply.

But it does not have to be that way Karuah retiree Peter James said.

And he has a plan that proves his theory, one he wants to share with Karuah residents in the hope of sparking enough interest and volunteers to turn the vision into a reality.

“It’s physically impossible for one person to look after the community garden as it is now,” Mr James said.

“But I’ve redesigned it to eliminate the hard labour – no watering, no fertilising, no weeding.

“Just plant your veggies, sit back with a cuppa and watch it grow.”

There has been at least two known attempts to get Karuah’s community garden – located behind the visitor information centre –up and running since it was first established in 2007.

Each time it has failed because of a lack of community interest, Mr James said.

“It was an absolute jungle when I first came down here in early August, 2016,” he said.

“A friend and I were down here every day for five, six hours a day for six months.

“I’ve put my shovel down for now. It’s on hold until I can find people interested in helping me.”

At the moment, the community garden consists of two large planter boxes, a small shed and not much else.

After a lot of research, Mr James, who has a passion in finding eco-friendly and sustainable solutions, has melded the original plan for the space with ideas from a 2014 ABC television Gardening Australia segment on community gardens.

The plan is to break down the two large planter boxes and turn them into a series of smaller wicking beds.

The beds, once created, will be self sustaining and easy for community gardeners to maintain.

A water feature, barbecue and entertainment area is also planned for the garden.

None of this will be possible, however, if Mr James does not find any members of the community interested in being part of the project.

He also cannot apply for grants without showing there is sufficient community interest in the project.

Mr James will hold an information session at Karauh RSL on March 29, between 6pm and 8pm, to talk about what he has planned for the community garden, how residents can get involved and levels of involvement.

There will be some manual labour required at the beginning of the project but once done, maintaining the space will be easy Mr James said.

He added that a community garden in Karuah would present residents with a lot of opportunities and advantages including a source of fresh food for when the town experienced a blackout, improvements in health, the environment, education and social cohesion.

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