Benefits of Having a Garden especially during the COVID-19 Lockdown
By Jewel Castillon
When we arrived in New Zealand almost ten years ago, one of the things that amaze me is the beauty of the gardens, whether it is a vegetable garden or a flower garden.
There is just a wide variety of flowers here, especially during spring and summer where blooms of different types can take your breath away.
Also, the vegetables here are large, juicy, and just glowing with health and colour. Thanks to the country’s fertile soil and ideal climate.
Researching a bit about gardening here in New Zealand, I learned that 43% of Kiwi’s or almost half of the population have engaged in growing gardens in the last 12 months between 2007 to 2008. It is also one of the most popular activities.
Gardening is a favourite hobby of mine. While we were still in the Philippines, I would always have plants at home either in the backyard or in pots. Having plants around makes your place refreshing, don’t you think?
Arriving in NZ, I started planting in pots. Living in flats, we didn’t have a lot of space before, but I had a lot of success growing different herbs in pots and even potatoes and tomatoes. It was a delight being able to use them in my cooking.
I remember the first time I grew potatoes in a pot, I marvelled at how fast they grow. Later on, I was surprised to harvest a few handfuls of decent-sized potatoes, which I used in my cooking.
Now that we have our own house here in Timaru, I now have a good-sized garden space with a glasshouse to grow some summer veggies during colder months.
With a spacious garden area, I have started to plant other vegetables that I haven’t tried growing before, for example, parsnips, snow peas, carrots, pumpkin, broccoli, and some fruits like strawberries, figs, and blueberries.
Below are some photos of my vegetables and some harvests.
Gardening is hard work, but all that hard work you put in, you will surely reap during harvest time.
As the saying goes, “The law of the harvest is to reap more than you sow”.
Aside from enjoying the fruits of your labour when harvest time comes, you will also feel a sense of fulfilment having accomplished something outstanding.
Here are some more photos of my garden and harvest:
During the Alert Level 4 lockdown from 25th March to 27th April, I appreciate my garden more.
Having a garden made a big difference. Why?
First, when your mobility is limited, having some produce from your garden can supplement your food supplies. Plus it is fresh and organic. It can save some trips to the groceries which is right on your wallet as well.
Second, having a garden provides you with an opportunity to be productive – it can even keep boredom away. How good is that?
Having a hothouse or glasshouse is a plus as you can plant vegetables through the colder months.
We love to eat pizza. From my garden produce above, I made the yummy vegetarian pizza below. Amazing!
If you want to start your vegetable, flower, or any type of garden – go for it!
You can use pots or start with a small area that is sunlight-filled if you want something manageable.
You’ll be happy you’ve done gardening in Timaru!
About the Author
Jewel is a passionate cook and baker. She has the penchant for developing her techniques and recipes.
After finishing her NZ Diploma in Advance Cookery with Patisserie at the former Aoraki Polytechnic (now, Ara Institute of Canterbury), she put up her cafe, Food Haven in 2015. She and her husband operated it for four years.
In between her job as a researcher for the Climate Adaptation Platform, Jewel continues to pursue her passion for cooking and gardening, learning and discovering more.
She will be blogging about food and gardening in LOVE Timaru. Watch out for her articles. 🙂