Anthony Santamaria moved to the area from Melbourne four years ago and joined the community garden a couple of years later.
“I lived in Newstead and needed a garden. Compared to the city, life here is not as rushed and I had the time and mental space that gardening needs.”
Anthony came to gardening through cooking. He has worked as a chef and cook in Melbourne and Daylesford, at vegetarian eateries and markets.
“I love to cook for people and I realised that to feed people in the best way possible – to me this meant home grown, fresh and organic and this lead me to the garden…”
More recently Anthony catered for the Castlemaine State Festival event at the Newstead Anglican Church.
“The Australian Youth Orchestra Wind Quintet played in the church and we had the community garden as a backdrop to the lunch afterwards. I served kale chips, rice paper rolls, spanakopita, mini pizzas, using produce from the garden, including our garlic and tomatoes. The feedback was very good”
In his patch, Anthony grows mostly from seed and has just planted tomatillo, eolean iceberg lettuce, kale, turnips, cauliflower, cabbage, endive, beetroot, oakleaf lettuce, carrots and mustard. He’s a keen compost user and also applies plenty of mulch.
“You need to keep replacing your soils and nutrients all the time as you continue to crop and harvest. For me, composting is the best treatment. You need to treat your plants like babies, and understand them in order to grow good food. They’re still teaching me!”