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From Car Park to Food Garden

Posted in Movements by Kate Archdeacon on July 20th, 2011


From “Winner: 2011 Yarra Sustainability Award in the Home and Garden category” by Sally MacAdams:

Frank Fisher lives in a flat in Clifton Hill. Like all the other flat owners he has a single parking place for a car, a valuable asset in the inner city – but not in Frank’s case. Because of his passion for sustainable transport and his commitment to public transport and cycling, Frank’s parking lot has stood empty for decades. Until recently, that is.

With the help of friends, Frank has transformed his parking space into a productive and attractive vegetable garden. The team installed several recycled timber apple crates that, once lined with weed matting and filled with potting mix, make excellent raised beds. Because of the height of the crates, people in wheel chairs or with limited mobility can still happily potter. Creating a wicking bed system reduced the amount of water required in the garden. The wicking system relies on a reservoir at the bottom of the crate fi lled with loose pieces of scoria (a type of rock). This allows water to seep up by capillary action to the roots of the vegetables through a weedmat to the compost and topsoil containing the vegetables. When it was time to unveil Frank’s car park garden, the team invited all of the neighbours to a barbeque. Everyone was interested to learn about the construction of the beds and the benefits of the wicking system.

Frank’s project shows that it is possible – in fact not hard at all – to transform our dead concrete parking lots into environmental enhancing, life giving, community vegetable gardens.

The latest edition of Earth Garden Magazine has an article on the transformation – with much better pictures! KA