Building Horticulture Skills in the Derwent Valley

GlobalNet Academy Students in New Norfolk Tasmania are learning valuable Horticultural skills.

A new group of students came together in late August 2014 to start a course in Building Horticulture Skills. GlobalNet Academy and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens secured funding from Skills Tasmania to run the course in New Norfolk in the Derwent Valley on a part time basis over 15 weeks.

Derwent Valley students undertaking a horticulture course with GlobalNet Academy and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Derwent Valley students undertaking a horticulture course with GlobalNet Academy and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Being a fully funded course allowed equal access to training across the whole community and the response was incredible! A huge number of people were interested in starting their Horticultural training with GlobalNet and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens and after an application and interview process were completed, it was time for the successful applicants to get their hands dirty!

Both Chris Toselli, the director of GlobalNet Academy and Marcus Ragus from the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens were thrilled with the response and the quality of applicants in the Derwent Valley.

“Putting together the final list was really difficult because we know what a difference these programs make to communities and we hate for anyone to miss out” said Marcus. “We want as many people to be able to access this training as possible. That’s why we run similar courses in Smithton in the North West of the state, in Launceston and in Huonville in the south.”

The students have already put their theory into practice in the community garden at the Derwent Valley Community Centre.

Derwent Valley students laying out the grass sides for a no dig garden - GlobalNet Academy and the RTBG

Laying out the sides for a no dig garden

They are learning the principles of Horticultural production by constructing different growing environments and getting to know the tools, machinery and techniques required for producing healthy food gardens with minimal need for sprays and fertilisers.

In their third week, the students constructed a “no-dig” garden bed from scratch. Instructor Rainer Oberle took them through the principles of the no-dig approach and the team got to work. The ground was prepared and marked out with string lines. Then the grass mowed was to stubble, a lining of wet news papers went down and successive layers of compost and wet hay built the bed to a height of around 30cm.   The following week it was ready for planting out.

Derwent Valley students undertaking a horticulture course with GlobalNet Academy and the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

Getting all the grass ready for the no dig garden

“This is what it’s all about” said Chris Toselli, Director of GlobalNet Academy. “These students are learning valuable skills that they can take with them into employment and use at home to produce healthy food! These groups continue to show that with a little instruction they are capable of anything.”

The feeling of pride and enthusiasm in the group was summed up when one of the students grabbed our photographer by the arm and said “Get a picture of all of us all together. Show everyone what we can do here in New Norfolk. Show them it’s not the same town it used to be!”

With 12 more weeks to go, this group is set for big things.

If you would like to take part in a course like this or you would like to see one run in your area, contact us here at GlobalNet academy or contact marcus Ragus at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens for a chat.

Horticulture students working hard in the GlobalNet Academy and the RTBG Building horticulture skills in the Derwent Valley course

The no dig garden coming together - students in the Derwent Valley working hard

 

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