An intern’s life: compost and coriander

Coriander pretty much ready to roll. And look at that soil

From SAGE member Trevor Moore

Every time I talk to Leanne I am blown away by her enthusiasm for what she’s doing. The beetroot, shallots, radish, coriander, iceberg lettuce, silverbeet and celery that were just poking their heads above the ground a fortnight ago are growing like triffids; they’re so far along that the coriander will be at the farmers market this week. But while Leanne still has to keep on top the weeds she’s now erecting trellises for cucumbers. These summer vegetables are a new experience for Leanne. There’ll be eggplants and zucchini to accompany the cucumbers.

The few millimetres of rain we had this week has, of course, been welcome and though it’s not enough Leanne says that the soil is looking good with a rich dark colour. As she talks about the soil she says “the current crops are doing so well. I don’t know if it’s the plants or the soil or me.” I found her working hard with the broadfork so I suspect a lot of the plants’ well-being is down to Leanne’s hard work. She has transplanted some more seedlings that seem to have suffered a bit from transplant shock, though she says they are recovering. More evidence of Leanne’s hard work can be seen in a heap of compost that is disguised as a heap of what looks like straw. This compost is made of seaweed that she gathered from the beach and cow poo from the dairy farm where she lives.

Looks like straw, but it isn’t

Leanne noted that the mulberry tree at the SAGE garden is fruiting. In fact, that’s not what she said. She said, “the mulberry tree is pumping”, which I took to be a technical term but I understood what she meant. That was enough for me and we got a good harvest of mulberries which we stewed with a pear and some ginger and raw honey (don’t cook the honey, put it in after the fruit is done). I used it to make a crumble. Magnificent and another benefit of SAGE. And, of course, Leanne’s veggies will start appearing at the market next week, and that’s a benefit of SAGE’s intern program. It creates jobs and provides food.

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