Muriel Sellars is a family day care educator, who happened to win Family Day Care Educator of the year for Queensland 2012 and I’m proud to say she has looked after my three young ones.
I love the fact that she instills a love of nature and gardening in the children she looks after.
Here is her garden story.
First of all how would you describe your garden? (What do you grow? What is your climate like? )
I grow fruit and vegetables in a permaculture garden. I live in a sub-tropical climate.
I live in the country and have a small acreage where I grow grassy hay to mulch my garden. I keep chooks to do the hard work of spreading the mulch, scratching and weeding to prepare for planting.
In an ideal world where I had as much time as I wanted to garden, I could easily have enough and more veggies for my family and friends. The area I use is about 10metres square. I have divided it into 8 separate gardens.
The chooks are let out into 1 area at a time so that they kill all the weeds and finish off any leftover garden plants. While they are doing this they are also fertilizing the area with their droppings. I leave them there for 4-6 weeks and each day they get new mulch to process [get all seeds and break up the hay]. This keeps them busy and happy and as a side benefit they lay eggs.
How did you get started in gardening?
I am the daughter of a farmer and as a child we learned that we ate if we grew food so we took great delight in producing food for our own table. As an adult I have always enjoyed the satisfaction of growing my own fruit and vegetables. Sometimes I go for some time not getting a chance to garden but I always go back to it .
What motivates you to get up and garden?
I am a Family day care educator and I enjoy teaching the children in my care the delights of gardening.
What were some of the unexpected hurdles in your garden? How did you deal with them?
I made the fences 4 ft high and some of the chooks can fly that high. It is most distressing when the chooks think they are doing you a favour when they dig out the precious seedlings that have not long been planted. I have decided that large chooks i.e. Rhode Island Reds are the best type of chook to keep as they are too heavy for their wings to support them.
What has your garden taught you?
That I need time to myself and there is no better way to reconnect and ground myself than gardening
What do you feel your garden can teach the children you look after?
They can learn so much it’s hard to know where to start’ The lesson I try to teach them is to learn which insects and animals are our friends. As most children are fascinated by [even when they don’t want to touch] insects and small animals this is a lesson that is fun to teach and there is so much to learn.
I also think it is important that the children learn where our food comes from. Lots of children don’t understand that food is grown and doesn’t magically arrive on the shelves in shops. In a permaculture garden the chooks lay eggs so they also have the joy of collecting them and we often come back and make them into lunch. Food straight from the garden tastes so much better and especially when there has been some involvement in the growing process.
If you were a fruit or vegetable, what would you be?
A Shaddock [Sweet and round ]
What advice would you offer first time gardeners?
Grow in your veggie garden what you put into your grocery trolley in the fruit and vegetable aisle.
Would you like to share your garden story with us? We would love to hear it! Please contact us for more information.