Living more sustainably ... vege patches

Hi, my name is Claire and I am one of the owners of Ahuriri Pharmacy. I’m loving reading these blogs and changing our family’s lifestyle to make us more healthy. One choice we made a year or two ago was to live more sustainably and to grow mostly edible plants in our garden.

We moved into our new home on a small section a year ago now and decided that with the space we do have, we’d like to grow as much food as we can while still having space for a small lawn. My husband Nick and I wanted to do this firstly to have home grown, nutrient rich fruit and veges and secondly to create a space our boys would like to be in and help cultivate. I would love to sit here and tell you that we produce most of our food needs but that is not the case at all. We are still learning what to plant and when and how to stagger the crops so we are not overrun with one vege at one time and then have none for months ... but we do love the experience.

Today was our Spring planting day, we re-composted and dug out the old and planted the new. Despite being a technology day, both boys (8 and 11 years) were out digging and harvesting and our chickens had the best day of their lives fossicking for bugs and greens. I chose plants that worked well for us last year and that we would eat over the next few months. So for salads, we planted:

  • Carrots
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions

And my sweet peas and avocado tree is still growing nicely. Our fruit trees are looking like we might get fruit this year and our herb garden adds flavour to our cooking.

We added in bok choi for stir fries, silverbeet and corn. Our corn was so good last year - if we’re barbequing, I boil or steam them for a while and then put them on the BBQ for extra flavour. Silverbeet is the greatest vege to grow – it is so easy, it lasts for months and months, you can keep picking bits off and chickens love them! I use it instead of spinach and make a yummy quiche with it and eggs. If you have space for chickens, I would definitely get them. They make fabulous pets – friendly and inquisitive and fun for kids and their eggs are amazing ... so yellow and so delicious. Each chicken regularly lays an egg a day and I have a trading system going with a couple of friends, kitchen scraps for eggs.

So at the end of day of fresh air, sunshine, shovelling and tending, I’m going to bed sore, tired and happy. Gardening for me is such a positive activity. It is so important that we do things that make us feel good and nature does that in so many ways. I’ll do a blog one day on getting kids out in nature and how good it is for them, but for my kids, it’s priceless.

I hope one day we can build a community garden in Ahuriri and enjoy our community and nature’s spoils.
Happy gardening,



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