How is your garden growing?

Adam Woodhams in his garden by Lake Weyba. 284842_02

Alder Levey

If you want a successful vegetable garden, you need to devote time to it.

It doesn’t have to be a big effort – just 10-15 minutes a day for an average garden bed.

A little often saves a lot to do later.

With a lifelong passion for plants and the garden, coupled with over 25 years of industry experience, Adam Woodhams is a down-to-earth gardener, horticulturist and sustainability specialist transitioning into landscape and home improvement.

Originally from Sydney, Adam now lives on the shores of Lake Weyba near Noosa.

He is also a regular guest speaker at the Queensland Garden Expo which is being held at the Nambour Showgrounds from July 8th to 10th.

Adam believes gardening creates a healthy perspective too – it relieves stress and keeps you active.

“It’s fantastic practice… and it’s free,” he said.

“After wet or damp weather, just take the time to look for water, bugs, and fungus.

“It’s pretty easy and fun, but you have to understand that it takes time.

“It’s not difficult at all.”

Gardening can be a pleasant start to the day—that quiet time when the sun comes up.

Otherwise it’s nice to be able to relax at the end – just before sunset when the garden is so quiet.

“Take the time to check the leaves, soil, mulch or weeds,” Adam said.

“You have to understand that those few minutes are an essential part of making it work.”

Adam has been involved with the Queensland Garden Expo Expo for about five years and will be there on two levels this year.

More than 120 free lectures and workshops will be held at the fair over the weekend.

Adam will be at the Scotts’ marquee every day to lead workshops.

They are probably the most popular instructional workshops for building small planters.

He loves to be involved in the fair on different levels.

“I can see what people are interested in – sharing a love of gardens, having the opportunity to talk in person and face to face.

“So often this is done remotely. Here you can speak directly.”

This year it will be pot succulents – a chance to create a little treasure to take home and grow.

Adam will also be speaking on the Jacaranda stage, focusing on two different areas.

One will be how to get the best photos and videos out of a phone camera.

Adam has run his own specialty communications business for more than a decade.

His freelance editorial and photography work has appeared in quality magazines such as Handyman Australia, Better Homes & Gardens, Gardening Australia and Your Garden to name a few.

Adam has photographed garden shows around the world including the Chelsea Flower Show.

He has worked as principal photographer for the prestigious Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

The other topic he will be speaking about at the Queensland Garden Expo is sustainability.

Again, he has a strong background.

He believes that a home’s garden and living spaces can and should be beautiful, practical and environmentally responsible.

Adam was deeply passionate about contemporary sustainable home and garden design long before it became a buzzword.

“I take a pragmatic approach,” he said.

“If you don’t take that approach, it’s not sustainable.

“It’s about how we can become sustainable without breaking the budget.

“To do this, we look back on past generations.”

Sustainability is particularly relevant now as we emerge from the Covid pandemic and are impacted by the rising cost of living.

“What destroyed sustainability was the end of World War II,” Adam said.

“We had the manufacturers at the end of the war and all this new technology.

“We have moved from simply meeting needs to advances in technology – refrigeration, supermarkets, improved transportation.

“Large-scale agriculture has taken over the family farms.

“It’s interesting in that it’s coming full circle – it’s a fascinating area, especially when you look at its history.

“People are quite surprised that it’s only taken two or three generations to move so far away from self-sufficient practices.”

The challenges of recent years have been a blessing in many ways.

Adam comments on how great it is to see the IGA grocery stores and independent outlets supporting local produce.

“When things reached a crisis point in Covid and the flooding the big supermarkets couldn’t provide as many lines.

“This is where the local supermarkets and shopkeepers came in.

Local farmers could continue to supply these established retailers and they could supply their customers.”

Speaking of growing conditions, Adam admits he has a non-scientific rain gauge but that there has been 2000mm of rain at Lake Weyba by early June when it is normally 1600mm per year.

Having moved to the Sunshine Coast six years ago, he’s amazed at how plants that grow in the South as houseplants and rare ornamentals are becoming the standard for gardens here.

“It is a great pleasure to grow giant bromeliads in an open garden.

“As a gardener, it was so exciting to be surrounded by different plants.

“What struck me was the length of the growing season. The heat.

“We can grow tomatoes all winter.”

He is inspired by the way we in South East Queensland are able to have multiple harvests throughout the year, many of them outside of the regular growing season.

“Brassicas like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage don’t like high temperatures during the day.

“This is a challenge in our winters with mild, sunny days.

“Having gardened since I was a child, I noticed that many of these vegetables were becoming increasingly difficult to grow even in Sydney…we were experiencing warmer winter days, although there were still cold nights.

“The same goes for broad beans and Brussels sprouts… you have to be aware of the requirements.

“Get a full understanding of what’s needed.”

This brings us back to going to the garden often and not leaving challenges to ourselves.

There are ways to circumvent fruit flies, Adam said.

“The trick for citrus is an organic fly trap, and you put it in the garden as soon as you see the citrus trees starting to bloom.

“That’s when the fruit is most vulnerable – the skin is so thin.

“Keep the traps out until the skin thickens.

“That’s one of the areas I’m talking about at the show.

“It’s important to be in the harvest regularly so that if there’s a problem, you can nip it in the bud.”

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