Growing connections at the Denmark Community Garden

Organic Horticulturalist Neal Collins checking produce in the garden bed (Isabel Vieira)

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THE Denmark Community Garden, once a barren wasteland, is now a thriving educational hotspot for all things gardening.

A group of Denmark residents, with the support of GreenSkills and the Denmark Community Resource Centre, host educational hands-on workshops for the community to learn about gardening.

The Community Garden was formed in March 2019, located behind the Denmark Community Resource Centre in the heart of town.

The workshops aim to create an innovative and inclusive environment by encouraging people to learn about how to grow organic fruit and veggies and share their ideas.

An organic horticulturalist attends a number of the seasonally focused workshops to help answer people’s questions.

Thriving garden beds full of organic produce 

From little things, big things grow 

The well-established garden grows a range of organic seasonal produce, such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots and spring onions, alongside a magnificent herb garden.

Denmark Community Garden member and gardner Don Hunt said it took a lot of work to transform the once barren land into the fruitful garden beds you can see today.

“This was just a bank, we got a bobcat in, levelled it off and made a terrace and then started from bare earth basically,” he said.

“It was just a waste land and we made it productive”

A growing eggplant in one of the garden beds 

Local knowledge is key

Community gardens are often found in urban environments and are utilised by residents who do not have their own land to grow produce.

Many of the Denmark residents who attend the community garden are growing their own produce at home and attend the workshops for the educational aspect.

Mr Hunt said they see a lot of new Denmark residents who are seeking information about what types of plants and produce they can grow in the region.

“You need local knowledge, what you can grow in Perth at this time of year you can’t necessarily grow here in Denmark,” he said.

Organic Horticulturalist Neal Collins sharing his passion for gardening 

Garden lies in the hands of residents 

The Garden is run by a core group of residents, while the participants assist by maintaining the gardens and harvesting during the workshops.

Before the group get their hands dirty, a question-and-answer session is hosted by Organic Horticulturalist Neal Collins.

“We usually pick a theme for each workshop that’s relevant to the season and what the gardens,” Mr Collins said.

“For example, compost comes up all the time, so we will run a workshop on that, and it attracts people.

“Then we usually take a walk through the beds to see what’s going on, using observation as the main tool.”

Organic tomatoes ready for harvest 

Holistic approach to growing organic produce  

Mr Collins said he likes to take a more holistic approach when offering solutions to common gardening problems.

“With gardening you find its all interconnected, there’s no one thing you can talk about without talking through everything,” he said.

The workshops not only serve as an educational gardening outlet, but as a social avenue to mingle with like-minded people.

Participants taste testing the produce 

Garden fosters social growth 

Participants in the workshops often assist each other with gardening tips and tricks, and occasionally the workshops take an excursion to a different garden location.

“The attraction of the garden is mainly a social one, for people to connect over something they enjoy doing, like growing food,” Mr Collins said.

“It’s a good showcase for new people in town, by coming to a community garden that’s doing well.

“It has a great scope in the future.”

To get involved in the Denmark Community Garden, contact Don Hunt on 0427 446 657.

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