If you love growing your own produce, or you have some fruit trees that give you lots of fruits certain time of a year or you are interested in growing your own veggies but don't know where to start, the West Croydon Fruit & Vege Swap will be a place where you should visit on a Saturday.
Home grown produce for swap Image Credit: West Croydon Fruit & Vege Swap
Back in January 2008, Croydon resident Julietta Cerin noticed her neighbours having so many fallen fruits from a fig tree. She started a vege swap in the McInerney Reserve in West Croydon for anyone to come and swap their surplus produce.
Nearly 9 years on, the group is still going strong. They meet every week in the summer months to swap fruit & vegetables, herbs, plants, seeds, cutting, seedlings, preserves, jams, even worm juice. (Worm juice is the liquid that drains out of the worm farm excess but also nutritious to your plant).
You can also bring some food for morning tea to share (recipe will need to be provided though if you choose to bake or make your own). They love recipes. Not everyone has a big garden that will have produce week after week either. The West Croydon Vege Swap also welcomes you to just come along for a chat and a cuppa. Just bring your smile.
The weekly swap starts on the first Saturday in January until the first Saturday in April. The tea & coffee starts at 10:00am while the swap happens at 10:30am. After Easter, it goes back to the monthly swap which takes place on the first Saturday of the month in the Reserve. The start time is also pushed back half an hour too i.e. 10:30am for 11am swap.
I have been to the Vege Swap many times in the summer months. However, my favourite is the Winter Garden Circle. During the winter months, there will be a lot less to swap and it is probably too cold to meet in the Reserve. From May to October, members of the Vege Swap open their home garden for the swap members. The location is different every month. Through the Winter Garden Circle, I have visited some of the lushest garden in Adelaide and the biggest veggie patch in suburban backyards.
A veggie garden that I visited during the Winter Garden Circle
Other than friendship that has grown over the years, I have also learnt a few good gardening tricks from the fellow Vege Swap goers. This one trick that I am sharing here works every time. Visit your veggie patch at 10 o'clock at night with a torch. You will see all the slugs and snails chomping your little veggie seedlings or sweet strawberries. Pick them for your chooks or bin them. No need to buy snail bait. Totally organic! If you do that often enough, your veggies will grow big and strong and you can harvest in no time.
For November and December, it is still a monthly swap at the Reserve. Meet at 10am for 10:30am swap. Parking at Pinda Street (off Kilkenny Road). The group is also on Facebook. Leave them a message or visit their website if you have any enquiry. See if for yourself and you will believe me that gardening can be a social thing.
If you are not in the area, there are other swaps that you can check out like Adelaide Hills Produce Swap and LETS South Food Swap in Willunga. Do you know any veggie swap in your area? Send me a note and I will be happy to share their story.
We are fortunate to live on a big block and when we moved in it had a Plum, Mandarin, Fig and Lemon trees! Will definitely be picking as much as we can this harvest as the trees produce too much for us, very interested in swapping for home grown veg and fruit as well as other produce like fresh chook/duck eggs! Mmmm yum!