Cath has recently joined the Spare Harvest team and will be sharing her amazing garden tips.  She will be writing about all things gardening under “Cath’s Gardening Tips”.   As a member of the team, we thought we would introduce Cath by sharing a little about herself.

Cath Manuel on Spare Harvest sharing garden tipsTell us a little about yourself Cath. Who you are? What are you passionate about? What do you like to do to relax? Help us get to know you better.

Growing and enjoying food are just two things that I love to do! I’m a wife and mum of two active boys, and an entrepreneur. I love sharing my years of experience and knowledge to support people in growing healthy food and enjoying gardening.

Share with us your gardening story. What is your earliest memory in the garden? Why did you decide to make horticulture your career? Why do you love to garden?

Deciding to turn my passion in to my profession was a huge step! I had an interest in growing food from farm visits with family at a young age and then gardening with my step-dad in early teens. Gardening has always, and still is, my therapy and I would head to the garden during times of stress and the need to be outdoors. This lead my to studying horticulture in 1999, which began my the start of a great love for working in the gardening and horticulture industry. Almost 20 years later, I still love to garden, grow food and share my abundance with others!

Tell us about your garden Cath. How would you describe your garden and what do you grow?

I describe my beautiful space as a Kitchen Garden. I visited France and the UK in 2014 and just loved the Potager gardens (French for kitchen garden), so these gardens inspired a few features in my garden. My garden contains a blend of edible and ornamentals, as well as areas to relax and enjoy the beauty, food and smells.

It’s my space to relax and connect with nature. I grow fruit trees, a range of seasonal vegetables, lots of herbs and colourful flowers. I like to leave plants to self-seed so lots of goodies pop up everywhere. I also have a background in Permaculture, so when I designed the garden in 2008 I followed many principles of permaculture and sustainable gardening.

You are the founder of Soil to Supper? When did you start Soil to Supper, what is Soil to Supper and who is it for? What is your five year vision for Soil to Supper?

Children in the garden with peas

My son Archie in the garden.

I initially started my business in 2010 under my own name and began consulting and running workshops on organic food growing (my You Tube channel is still called Organic Food Growing!) From my long term vision for my business, I decided in 2011to brand my business as I wanted to expand and provide my programs online. I really gave the name a lot of thought, and wanted to include what I was really passionate about which was healthy soil and food….there was Soil to Supper! I still love the name as it completely resonates with my philosophy of growing and enjoying healthy food. In 2014 I completed extra studies in the field of Horticultural Therapy, which is the use of plants and gardening activities to improve mind, body and soul.

I now include consulting and training within aged care and community support in the work I love to do. It’s been 6 years now and my vision is to create an online community for people worldwide who also have a passion for good food and caring for themselves, others and our world. I love to share my knowledge, so I’ve created the Soil to Supper Community to guide and support people to enjoy gardening and fresh food.

We are very grateful that you have agreed to come on board and share your gardening tips. If you had three top tips, what would they be?

My number one tip is ‘Dream Big, Start Small’ Gardening is meant to be a pleasure, not a chore! Whatever you do in the garden give consideration to the earth. Follow sustainable gardening methods. Enjoy what you do! Grow the foods you love, cook delicious meals and share your abundance with others…that feeds our body, mind and soul. One more (hope that’s OK!) Keep it simple sunshine. Don’t over-complicate things as nature knows just what to do.

Spare Harvest is about reducing our waste footprint. How do you try to reduce our kitchen and garden waste?

I’m a bit radical in the reducing waste area. I sort everything into rubbish, composting and recycling and look at everything that goes in these bins! My boys are great at adding things to the right bin and know how to compost and recycle items. I like to look at many items as having two uses, so I keep a close eye on excess waste in our home!

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

I believe that we can all take simple steps to create sustainable lifestyles and by connecting with others it makes the process easy and much more fun!!