I reckon that life is so much the richer when we all give something of ourselves to others for no other reason than, – ‘just because we can’. Hunter Backyard Veggie Growers is something I have created that has combined a number of things that I find a lot of satisfaction in. I enjoy sharing my experiences of life with people and I also enjoy growing veggies.
What do I enjoy growing vegetables? Frankly, everything about it in fact, the sowing of seeds, the planting of young seedlings, the pruning, trimming, digging up the dirt, and even the weeding. I love the look of veggies growing in the plot and I eagerly await with anticipation the harvest, but nothing beats the pure pleasure of picking something from the garden, taking it to the kitchen and then eating it fresh. The sweet smell of a freshly pulled carrot, or the crunch of an iceberg lettuce or even the taste of the first sweet corn for the season, all very satisfying. Even better when you can enjoy the meal with other people.
When we moved to the Newcastle in 2009 and we built a new house I found myself with a block of land that had nothing. When I say nothing I mean absolutely zero. The block is in an estate built on a sand dune and the place was as barren as you could get. So I was able to start with an empty canvas and design a back yard that I knew would be able to produce nice food. It took a couple of seasons to get it to a state that would satisfy my expectations but it does now and I am delighted. It will never be perfect but every gardener knows that perfection is something you strive for knowing that you will never get there in this lifetime.
During the development of the garden I found that people were interested in how I did things. The questions that they asked made me aware that lots of people are interested in growing veggies for themselves but just do not know where to start. Some people were discouraged by failed attempts, others didn’t think they had enough time, and others thought that as much as it was a good idea, it was not for them. But I do find that there is one thing that everyone wants. And that is, to have a great tasting fresh veggie that is good for them.
My name is Andrew Meyles and I have been growing all sorts of things all of my life.
I come from a long line of Dutch growers of both vegetables and flower bulbs. As a kid I spent a lot of time in my parents business of greenhouse tomatoes, vegetables and plants. Later I decided to join the family business which was by then was a diverse horticultural business. For 7 years I grew cut flowers, tomatoes and operated a nursery that specialised in Australian Natives as well as conifers. After 7 years I decided family business was not for me so I took it over and relocated to Richmond in Tasmania and continued to grow cut flowers and lots of flower bulbs for the wholesale market. Later I developed a mail order bulb business. After 7 years of growing flowers and bulbs it was no longer a viable proposition and as a result, I got out of the horticultural business.
I then moved out of horticulture completely and worked in various roles that involved people and people management. In 2009 I moved out of Tasmania for Newcastle in NSW and now I find myself working in a high tempo Government role that is as far away from the garden as you could ever imagine. I find myself working in people management, coaching and in a job that is best described and a ‘herder of cats’. Diverse, enjoyable but busy. It has been 15 years since I have been working in a business that got dirt under my nails and I am now digging for pleasure rather than profit.
One of the pleasures is creating Hunter Backyard Veggie Growers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.