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Little green thumb thrives

Posted: 9am 03 Sep 2021

A flourishing crop of tomatoes has inspired Jacques de Villiers to try his hand at growing other vegetables, fruit and flowers in his family’s North Lakes garden.

The eight-year-old has come a long way since March, when he started collecting Discovery Garden seeds from his local Woolworths supermarket.

The seed kits were given to customers for each $30 spent and Jacques’ mother said it had inspired her son to get outside and give gardening a go.

“Every time we went to the shop, he would ask for the seeds,” Susan says.

“In the end I said to him, we probably need to plant some of them.”

And so, he planted them and as his crop began to grow, the family bought a greenhouse frame and lace curtains to create a “greenhouse” on the back patio, protecting the young plants from the elements and the birds.

Jacques has harvested more than 50 tomatoes, along with silverbeet.

“They’re really yummy, better than from the shops,” he says.

He has also planted poppy, salvia and zenia seeds as well as salad greens, lettuces, pineapples, strawberries, guava, a mulberry tree, carrots, silverbeet and bunching onions.

Jacques says he did not really like going outside much before he discovered gardening, but now he likes getting his hands dirty and watching his plants grow.

“I can eat them and I can spend lots of my time doing gardening,” he says.

From little things, big things grow

He would love to plant an avocado tree and already has his eye on a garden bed down the side of the house for other plants.

Susan says he is always pottering around, watering and checking how his plants are looking.

“He enjoys doing things with his plants. They can only do so much Lego, then they’re bored,” she says.

“It’s been so educational for him, doing this more so than sitting him down and talking about it.”

She says he has learnt more about where food comes from, sustainability and how crops rely on people to keep them alive.

“These things are depending on him. He’s using a small space to grow a lot,” she says.

“For the sustainability of our planet, we need every household to start thinking about what they can do to contribute.”

The family feeds food scraps to their chickens and uses their manure on the garden, and Susan says they share the crop with others.

“It’s good for kids to see that,” she says.

“It would be lovely if we could all grow something and swap it with each other.”

A Woolworths spokesperson said: “We’re thrilled Jacques has taken interest in the Woolworths Discovery Garden, creating lasting memories in his backyard and enjoying the fruits of his labour”.

The Discovery Garden program ran from February this year for eight weeks.

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