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Creating an Edible Balcony with Indira Naidoo

10/04/2017 12:38 PM

In the lead up to Earth Day, Indira Naidoo gave an informative presentation and gardening demonstration at a 1 Degree lunchtime event. 1 Degree caught up with Indira after the event to talk about how she started an “edible balcony” and to get her tips on how we can all be zero waste in the kitchen.

Indira Naidoo is the author of the best-selling book, ‘The Edible Balcony’, about growing food in small spaces, and ‘The Edible City’, about community gardening. Indira has also designed two award winning gardens for the Australian Garden Show Sydney and helps community groups build their own food gardens through her garden company.

What inspired you to start growing an edible balcony?

I realise that like a lot of urban dwellers I was disconnected from my food and how it was grown and who grew it. I – like a lot of consumers – am concerned about the chemicals in my fruit and vegetables and how safe they are to eat. When you grow your own produce you know what’s in it. I don’t use any pesticides or herbicides. I grow everything organically. And I found that everything tastes so much better.

What surprised you the most about growing your own herbs and vegetables?

I have been genuinely surprised by how much success I’ve had and how little time I’ve had to dedicate to the garden. A lot of novice gardeners like myself believe that it takes great skills and lots of time to tend to a vegetable garden. I’ve also been surprised by how joyous I’ve found gardening. Spending time watering weeding harvesting and then eating what I grow is one of my great pleasures now.

What are your top five tips for reducing food waste? 
  •  To buy a little bit of fresh food every few days rather than a big shop every two or three weeks. In this way you are more likely to cook and use what you have.
  • I try to plan my meals so I cook using the ingredients I have or shop specifically for individual meals.
  • I also try to keep all my vegetable trimmings and freeze them in separate plastic bags that I can reuse later in soups and casseroles.
  • Growing your own vegetables also reduces food waste and teaches you what is in season. If I have a lot of basil growing then I will make a pesto or a lovely pasta using this ingredient.
  • I have a hungry bin wormfarm on my balcony where my garden clippings and food scraps are composted and remade into nutritious fertiliser for my plants.

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Photos from 1 Degree’s Lunchtime Event with Indira Naidoo: