FRESH LIVING: Ooralea resident Maryann Cutajar grows her own fruit and vegetables and loves spending time in her garden. She says she would love to be self-sufficient.
FRESH LIVING: Ooralea resident Maryann Cutajar grows her own fruit and vegetables and loves spending time in her garden. She says she would love to be self-sufficient. Peter Holt

Going green pays dividends

IF OORALEA woman

Maryann Cutajar had her way, she would be completely self-sufficient.

This might be a little difficult living in town but she has managed to cut down on costs by installing solar power, rainwater tanks and creating her own garden sanctuary.

Ms Cutajar has waved goodbye to electricity bills and knows a few years down the track she'll be financially better off for installing the solar power.

But these savings are nothing compared to the love she bears for her garden.

Her yard is full of herbs, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, rocket, celery, corn, broccoli, silver beet, eggplant, plums, bananas, passionfruit, lemons, paw paws, mandarins and pomegranates - just to name a few.

There's also a few chooks that give her eggs.

"You save a little bit," she said.

"If you have a lot of broccoli you can freeze it. Even the cabbage, you can put some of that in the freezer."

However, to her, it's not about the money saving.

"It's like a pleasure," she said.

"It's about growing your own and the love of looking after your own stuff."

Ms Cutajar said some people couldn't believe she spent time in her garden after working at the sugar refinery all day.

"I just love it. I come home from work, have a cup of tea and go out into the garden."

Another reason she loves it is because she's eating organic, fresh produce.

"Because of the chemicals that go into fruit and veggies now, it makes them look good. But it's not about what looks good, they've got a different taste."

Ms Cutajar has always grown her own food, even when she was growing up.

"My family loved gardening, whether it was veggies or fruit, we just grew it and that's how we were brought up."

When she married and moved to a farm at Finch Hatton she had a big garden and all the fruit trees she wanted.

"I love eating my own fruit," she said. "It just tastes so much better."

When she moved into town eight years ago after her husband died, she had to start her garden from scratch.

"I brought in 15 loads of dirt using the ute," she said.

Every year she does something different in her garden.

"Worming compost, that's my next plan," she laughed.

TIPS

 Pick the right spot for a garden in your backyard

 Look at the position of your house and what your neighbours are growing

 Try and make best use of the space available

 Vegies need six hours of sun to grow


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