Productive patch competition -winner announced!

18 March 2021
Productive patch  competition -winner announced!

Productive Patch - satisfaction guaranteed when producing your own fresh produce including experimentation. Helena has chosen!

Our long-time OGV committee member Helena Buxton will be judging the February competition ‘Productive Patch’ showing what’s special about your home and food garden.

The winner will receive a $100 gift voucher for @thediggersclub. Helena is OGV’s ‘Queen of Compost’ – she regularly hosts a ‘Cooking Up Compost’ workshop, shares gardening tips on OGV’s website and is an experienced chook and bee keeper. Helena’s Instagram feed @spadeandtrowel has great information for home food gardeners and you can also take a virtual tour of Helena’s stunning Geelong garden from an Instagram Live hosted by OGV.

Read on to hear from Helena as she chooses our winner and  special mention entries.

How inspiring judging the February 2021 Vegetable Garden competition for OGV has been. Each and every gardener should be commended for their efforts.  The entries were filled with challenges, new ideas and answers to problems that many gardeners face. The unifying themes were the pleasure offered from harvesting your own food and importance of improving the soil through the use of organic techniques.

Some entrants faced great challenges by being confined to container gardening while others were limited by space and aspect. All of the gardens were ‘young’ and all entrants made comment on the enormous rewards offered through growing, harvesting and sharing the food from their own garden. The winning garden entry included a number of vital global factors such as plant diversity, companion planting and consideration of the vital role that pollinators play in the production of food, creating a healthy living environment for all. 

Congratulations to our winners, Jian Liu and the Liu family.  This garden is outstanding and has challenged me to rethink some of my own gardening practices.  A sturdy commitment to reducing the family’s carbon footprint is woven into the intention of this food garden.  Driven by a philosophy of treading lightly on our Earth, the principles of recycling, repurposing and scouting out ‘waste’ for a better and longer life inform the making of this special space. Built in stages, the value of the garden was recently enhanced by the extra time at home offered through COVID that witnessed the removal of a huge area of concrete to turn over to food production. 


One of the most interesting aspects of this veggie patch is that the Liu family has been willing to experiment with different species not ordinarily grown in a Melbourne climate.  Interesting plant species combined with low cost structures built from foraged items have been used to create microclimates. 



The result has been an increase in the productivity of favoured plants.  Boldly, the garden utilizes aquaponics and by recycling household waste the Liu’s have developed a ‘closed system’ for nutrient collection and soil improvement. An abundance of food is now produced on an ordinary suburban allotment that happily feeds a family. Any excess is shared within neighbours, friends and extended family. 

Two other gardens are highly commended:

Rachael Milligan… what bleak beginnings! This garden is a model of what can be done if you are renting a property and are constrained to container planting on a low cost budget.  Rachael’s garden was established during COVID when the sourcing of items would have been difficult.  The Milligan garden is an excellent example of ‘making do’ with minimum resources for maximum results.



Francisco Fisher has transformed the traditional front garden by establishing a veggie patch, making better use of the limited space available in an inner urban setting.  The best thing about this garden is the community bonding that happens  when tending plants and harvesting produce. Just being out there means the neighborhood is encouraged to chat across the fence, talk about important local issues and keep up to date on the health and happiness of people in ‘the hood’.




Thank you to all our entrants. We love hearing from you!


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