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OurFarmBox - close up of herbs

Growing an Edible Garden with OurFarmBox!

I love plants, I really do. When I see beautiful gardens filled with lush, tropical green goodness or homeware magazines with resplendent blooms, I want that for my life – but it always seems unobtainable for me. I am not a gifted green-thumb gardener by any stretch, in fact, I am wanted for serious crimes against plants. Every attempt to be a proud plant/herb/vegetable grower has ended with a dry, depleted plant beyond rescue. The last time a friend placed her beautiful, green vibrant plants in my care, she returned to wilting, mostly dead plants – despite my best watering efforts.

In the days of self-isolation, I have started to long to be a plant parent once again. With the world in the middle of a pandemic, there is something so soothing and natural about having a greener space of your own. Whilst scrolling through my Instagram feed and being inspired by picture-perfect green spaces, coupled with spending more time at home than ever before, it seemed like a good an opportunity to give it another try.

Discovering OurFarmBox

Whilst the kids have been enjoying bear-spotting on our family iso-walks, I have been plant-spotting, enviously checking out the gardens of Balmain and Birchgrove. It was on these walks that I first started to see these fabulous, colourful boxes pop up and I was intrigued.

OurFarmBox - Gladstone Store
OurFarmBox - wooden sleeve

[Above: Veggie, fruit & herb boxes by OurFarmBox – photos courtesy of OurFarmBox]

After a bit of googling, I discovered that the OurFarmBox boxes weren’t just pretty, they were actually so much more – sustainable and self-sufficient herb, flower and vegetable boxes. The idea of having not only a green space but being able to grow flowers, vegetables and herbs ticked so many (excuse the pun) boxes for our family.

OurFarmBox is founded by an Inner West local, Jonathan, who immigrated to Sydney from South Africa. Jonathan originally started OurFarmBox over 15 years ago in South Africa, with the goal of providing rural communities with a much needed food source that could help them become more self-sufficient.

The Magic Box!

I met with Jonathan, who talked me through the origins of OurFarmBox and the very innovative and impressive design of the actual box, which is intended to help even the most inadequate gardener [read: me!] grow their own produce as well as reduce their carbon footprint. With the added bonus that they’re also so pretty to look at!

Jonathan walked me through the magic of the OurFarmBox and whilst each element on its own is article-worthy, it’s when these components combine, that the real magic happens. The three key design elements that ensure success are:

  • the coconut coir (cocopeat & cocofibre) – gives plants the ideal amount of moisture whilst allowing the roots to breathe
  • the plastic mulch covering – designed to retain moisture, prevent weed growth and control the temperature of the box. The black side is for winter to keep the warmth in and the silver side to keep the plants cool in the summer
  • the aeration screen – which sits on top of a water reservoir and allows the plants to drink when they want to, so you can’t over or under water

Jonathan setting up OurFarmBoxOurFarmBox - Cocopeat
OurFarmBox - herbs and flowers

[Above: Jonathan from OurFarmBox demonstrates how to set up a box, photos by Anna Jameson]

These design features create the perfect growing conditions for plants and veggies to grow…and FAST!

The full kit comes with six different components and you can also choose to add the handmade wooden sleeve that fits around the outer box, which looks great. You can paint it, varnish it or leave it as it is. To see more on how the design of the box works to benefit plants check out the How it works page on the OurFarmBox website.

Sow, Grow, Eat

The beauty of the OurFarmBox is that installation is super easy. Each kit comes with a step-by-step guide or you can simply watch the OurFarmBox video. Part of the set up requires watering the special cocopeat, which is completely sterile and kid-friendly, until it expands to fill the box. Even better, setting up the box is a great activity for the kids!

Kid-friendly OurFarmBox

[OurFarmBox – Day 1, photo by Anna Jameson]

For our box, I chose a selection of herbs and edible marigolds, but it’s really up to you what you want to grow. Once the box is all set up, there is nothing to do other than water every 10 days-2 weeks and then every week when the plants are bigger.

Green thumbs up!

Whilst we are only two weeks into having an OurFarmBox, our plants and herbs are already growing fast and thankfully thriving! The kids check on their progress each day and it’s lovely to watch their interest in gardening blossom too.

What I loved:

  • The plants grew FAST
  • The box has been thoughtfully designed – from everything like repelling slugs to controlling temperature
  • The kit is simple for beginners and those without green thumbs
  • No tools are required
  • Simple to maintain – the box is self-sufficient and requires minimal watering
  • The produce is not only organic but has a much more concentrated flavour
  • It looks great and also works well in small spaces

OurFarmBox Day 1
OurFarmBox - Day 14

[OurFarmBox – Day 1 of planting and 14 days after, photos by Anna Jameson]

For more progress updates of our herb box, keep an eye on our instagram! I’m already planning my next box.

How to buy

You can buy online on the OurFarmBox website. OurFarmBox is offering Inner West Mums a 20% discount on an installation and information session if you would like one. Offer ends June 30.

For now, you need to purchase the flowers/veggies/herbs separately at your local garden centre or Bunnings.

More information

Phone: 1300-036-134

OurFarmBox Logo

**Inner West Mums approached OurFarmBox to run a trial and as part of this were gifted an OurFarmBox. However all views in this opinion piece are 100% reflective of our experience with OurFarmBox**

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