Grower Profile: Victoria Barrett & Testing Grounds

Words by
Georgina Reid
| February 18, 2015

So, the Grow It Local Melbourne Growers Feast is happening in less than two weeks! Excited or what?! I am. The feast is happening at Testing Grounds, an outdoor art space in the heart of Melbourne’s arts and cultural precinct.

Testing Grounds is a place for artistic experimentation and testing new creative ideas, as well as a public meeting place. It’s also an exploration of different ways of transforming under-utilized civic spaces for the good of the general public.

The folk at Testing Grounds LOVE plants and the 2000 square meter site is overflowing with them. According to their website they have “24 maple trees, 40 pear trees, one nectarine tree, 312 pot plants, and more than 68 different plant varieties” to be precise. Wow.

Testing Grounds also have a vegetable garden, in which they’re growing food for the Grow It Local Melbourne Growers Feast. I had a chat to the Testing Ground’s horticulturalist Victoria Barrett about the garden. This is how it went:

What plants are you growing for the Grow It Local feast?
I am currently growing kale, tomatoes, broccoli and pumpkins, sweet potato and herbs such as basil, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Why did you decide to get involved in the Grow It Local feast?
Testing Grounds was approached to be a venue and we thought it would be a great idea to contribute.

What draws you to plants/gardening?
I studied Environmental Horticulture at Melbourne University,  I have always been interested in plants as my parents and grandparents are and were really into gardening as a hobby.

Why do you grow your own vegetables?
I grow my own veggies because it is rewarding watching plants grow and transform, and to get a harvest at the end is great.

What lessons have you learnt from growing this garden?
The role of light and shadow in the city landscape, as well as the radiant heat from materials around such as concrete.

If you were a plant what would you be?
Something non-edible!

This story is part of a series we are producing in collaboration with Grow It Local to promote their Melbourne Growers Feast on the 1st of March, 2015.  If you live in Melbourne, you really should drop by the Grow It Local website, register your patch and get gardening! The owners of the top 50 most creative and unique patches will each win a double pass the event. A no brainer, right? GET GROWING PEOPLE!

PS. We were paid a small amount of money by Grow It Local to help cover some of the costs associated with producing this story.