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  • Writer's pictureLisa Maule

June - July - August - September 2020

In late September I am itching to plant peas and sweet peas. The new bed for shared produce I want it to be finished, plus the signs, the healing plant area , a mow, the rest of the bark chip... oh and weed the existing bark chip, rubbish removal, new shed base. Labels for fruit trees. Etc.

The list goes on, and the spring weather in Wellington is as it always is - very sunny days, cold days with night frost and gale force winds, we had about four days of extreme weather warnings the last two weeks.

The Tuesday morning group - they have had some success - the worms in the worm farm are still alive. Their original bird netting got nicked, and the first plantings all didn't make it. There are now a few things growing in their triangle plot now and they keep coming back for more. Arianna their guest is now a member with a plot and ideas to put some shared irrigation.

On sunny days it seems wrong to be inside. The mission statement was 'building sustainable plants and people' and has now changed to 'nurturing sustainable plants and people'. As a review of what it means to coordinate a community garden this subtle but great change is a good guiding one. My role I see at this stage is to providing leadership and also enable leadership.

Philip, Anh and Ha in this photo (I made them pose) have helped with the idea of shared leadership. Contributing regularly and being there for the working bee's when I can't make it. Philip has embraced the idea of composting which is such a great asset for a garden. And he met me in town during a busy work day when I was having a crisis of overwhelm.

I am project orientated and I love the list of tasks to do, developed by the multitude of ideas seeded from being at the garden, reading books, viewing you tube, and talking to the other gardeners. I also remind myself to relax and not think all the jobs need to be done at once. The principle of sustainability is good, for myself as well as the garden especially in a volunteer role.

The last few months have seen an increase in members. There has been a seed swap with friendly people from the Community Orchard Berhampore and Island Bay visiting. I picked up a tumbler compost for free from a garden swap group so we can have food scraps without getting rats. The ever promised greenhouse from Karori Normal School has ben delivered in bits and now we are scratching our heads with the assembly and base question - we have help on the way though.

Selfie in the garden

a concrete bench with seed packets spread over it and some one's hand looking at them
Seed swap

I had never run or been to a seed swap before. Other people who came had though. It worked well to generate conversation about gardening and bring in people from outside of the current community.

a patch of purple flowers with green leaves
Viola's amongst the vegetables

Viola's live in a few patches at the garden and have been flowering since March. I like them for the bee's and insects and to brighten up the garden. They can also be eaten.

Against a white wall tw figures are crouched with their backs to us over amongst garden beds
Mum and child gardening in the mist

the sign has a diagram and says 'community garden beds *new* this area will be divided into vegetable beds to grow shareable food
A cardboard sign stuck in the ground

These two on Tuesdays some days and help out. Here they are weeding the raspberry patch. They will be happy at harvest time.

Figuring out how to communicate with people. A little cardboard sign - it says:

'community garden beds *new* this area will be divided into vegetable beds to grow shareable food'

It lasted a week before delaminating and turning into worm food.

a small bed with light brown mulch and branches for surrounds and bark chips around
Angela's brand new plot

A new garden bed inserted amongst the others. More like this are going to appear as I find space for all the new people

I am trialling not having built edges. When we make them with free untreated timber from palettes they rot away and then someone has to find t he resources to replace them. Once the plants establish they become the edges. great.

braches entrined around the edge and loops of bamboo with netting over
Up-graded with woven edges and bird netting
Two smiling people stadning at the back of a yellow trailer with a big shed and other cars around.
Collecting horse manure from Ōtaki
A women in the front crouched on the raised garden be. Behins another women is watering a different bed with a hose.
The two most experienced gardeners.

Angela has woven a more sturdy edge and it looks great. The shared herb garden behind it is now lush with parsley seedlings.

The three of us Philip, myself and Rana journeyed to Ōtaki an hour north of Wellington to collect a trailer load of aged horse and pony manure for the garden. Philip organised the local Lions club to sponsor the trailer. After we unloaded at the garden it got spread around the beds and fruit trees at some garden sessions and also used to make new no-dig garden beds.

Rana and Silvana individually spend a lot of time at the garden and have a lot of combined knowledge of gardening. Here they are tending to their beds. Rana has brought fresh bamboo for different people to use and shown us how tie it and bend it then cover with mesh. Blackbird and thrushes come into the garden and dig for worms - not so good for seedlings and seeds.

The last few months have been full of meeting many people, listening and thinking about ways the garden can be used and what people want to get out of it. And also observing patterns of use and starting to feel more people invested. I have found some time in the garden with no-one else is a good companion to running a garden session, and to not sweat it when not everything gets done, because we are all volunteering our time. I like the times I get to potter around by myself, I also love a group achieving things together.

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