REGENERATION: Keita Messenger and Rusty, 4, in their Glen Eden garden.
REGENERATION: Keita Messenger and Rusty, 4, in their Glen Eden garden. Luka Kauzlaric

Time to get in the garden as spring arrives

KEITA Messenger delights in gardening, and with spring now arrived her garden is bursting with vegetables and herbs.

But the biggest joy in gardening comes from teaching her children to love and respect nature.

"It's good for teaching kids respect for nature from an early age," she said.

"It's great stress relief too. You just potter around and be active."

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The family's Glen Eden garden is alive with buzzing native bees and even has its own beehive, with the stingless and quiet native bee.

The raised vegetable patches are stocked with companion-planted heirloom varieties, from friends and fellow gardeners.

"It's not like we're feeding the family every day from this, but having herbs fresh in the garden is great," said Ms Messenger.

She is an active member of Port Curtis Organic Growers Garden Club, a group whose members share, trade and sell seeds, surplus seasonal produce, jams and other homemade goodies.

But the most important thing the group's members exchange is local knowledge, both in the form of advice and seeds.

Members have been collecting seeds from their plants for up to 30 years, and have an extensive seed bank of heirloom varieties.

Seeds grown locally over many generations store important genetic know-how for growing successfully in Gladstone's climate, Ms Messenger said.

"Each time you grow something, collect its seed and grow it again, that plant is adapting to the local climate," she said.

"Plants you get from (hardware shops) and supermarkets are from down south, so they're not as tough and they're not adapted to here."

Port Curtis Organic Growers Garden Club meets on the last Saturday of every month. Contact 0439 393 765.

Get your garden growing with free seeds

FROM September 13 The Observer will be giving away a seed packet a day to get your garden growing green for spring.

There will be 12 different varieties in all over the next two weeks - a week of delicious herb seeds and a week of beautiful flower seeds.

Redeem a token from our paper each day and exchange it for a free packet of seeds from participating newsagents.

Then we'll be giving away a complete garden makeover over the following two weeks. 

Click here for more details.

SEED COLLECTION:

Starting on September 13, your free seeds will be:

  • Saturday: Basil
  • Monday: Coriander
  • Tuesday: Italian parsley
  • Wednesday: Thyme
  • Thursday: Oregano
  • Friday: Chives
  • Saturday: Sunflower
  • Monday: Zinnia
  • Tuesday: Golden everlastings
  • Wednesday: Snapdragon
  • Thursday: Fresh flower mix
  • Friday: Petunia


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