The constant gardeners: a family idyll

we want our kids to be mindful of the environment – the garden is where that all begins

Words Natasha Inchley | Photographs by Megan Gale

Long before the herbs, marrows and tomatoes ripen or burst into bloom, Megan Gale and her children, Louis, 2, and Pallas, 5, can be found elbow deep in the picturesque garden surrounding their Bellingen cottage. “I’ve always loved food. My granddad had a great garden, I remember eating vegetables before they made it to the dinner plate,” Gale explains. “These days, it’s much the same with my own children – they're more likely to eat veggies if they’ve grown and picked them for themselves. I think it’s important they understand where their food comes from and how it grows in season.”

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  1. Indeed, Gale and her husband Henry have created a kind of idyllic haven for their young family; its lush greenery, rambling vines and vegetable rows provide the ultimate inspiration for a year’s worth of cooking. Gale says, “We’re very mindful about what we plant so as to minimise food waste and we’re not into pesticides or chemical fertilisers, just organic compost, seaweed and comfrey concoctions.”

    Her philosophy is simple: “Even if you only have the space for a small balcony garden, it's worth investing time in – kids just seem to be naturally interested in growing things.” On her own horticultural routine Gale says, “We aim to spend at least an hour in the garden every day, it's the best way to keep an eye on pests. The kids love to pick off caterpillars and observe the beneficial insects like bees and lady beetles and, of course, they always love a good dig for worms. In my mind, that's better than a television and iPads.”