Left to right: a small chicken-adorned plot exclusively for beetroot, chillis, vege patch and cornflowers.
The Community Organic Gardens believe that 'sharing land to grow food and plants builds a sense of place and community'. As well as learning how to garden, growers obtain a sense of achievement. Plus growing your own 'vitamins' is a real money saver. After all, who hasn't occasionally toyed with the idea of being able to head out to the backyard to pluck a salad from the vege patch?
Surrounded by beautiful Australian native trees, the gardens attract native birdlife, such as kookaburras, galahs and even the occasional heron. Slogans remind the visitor to 'protect lucerne', eat locally and avoid chemicals. It's a relaxing atmosphere with a smattering of brightly-coloured artworks.
Smattering of artworks as well as shopping for seeds.
Information posters dot the grounds informing on things like permaculture, the benefits of windbreaks, the frogs of Toowoomba, herbs for medicinal use and worm juice tea. Yes, you read that correctly. Fortunately, it is not for human consumption, but rather used to fertilise the trees. For $2, visitors could purchase bottles of worm juice tea, punnets and bundles of pre-loved gardening magazines. Homemade marmalade was $3. Seed packets were $1 each.
A few of the items for sale, galahs feeding on the grounds and colourful encouragements.
A tour guide explains about types of mulch and the results you can expect from them.
Organic farming would be incomplete without a worm farm, from which growers extract 'castings'. Castings are made up of soil that exists in the worm's body and it makes great fertiliser. Yep, it's worm poo.
To get started on your own worm farm at home, first buy worms. Keep the worms in a container they will have difficulty escaping from. Then chop up food scraps for the worms to eat. Hint: they love potato peelings, banana skins, crushed eggshell, coffee grounds and tea bags. Place the food under bedding material, such as shredded cardboard. Check the bedding every week to ensure the right moisture level is maintained. Once it's all underway, you will be able to harvest worm castings which you can add to your potting mix.
Frescos adorn a garden path, adding to the charm of the gardens.
Membership & More
For a small fee (the amount depends on your requirements) you receive your own garden plot, all the advice you could want, plus a caffeine hit in the shade with friendly people. As well as gardening, you will learn about composting and may also perform volunteer work. The Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens would love to have you as a new member. During Carnival of Flowers, there was a cup of tea or coffee and scrumptious home made cake.
The gardens are an inclusive group who appreciate diversity, for example the local African community use the plots to grow maize. The grounds are hidden back from the road, yet in the city and are also handy to the Sungrown Nursery in Clifford St. Adequate parking on site plus metered street parking. Wear a hat and take water.
The Toowoomba Community Organic Gardens are a peaceful diversion of gardening, wellbeing and community in a delightful setting.