This Sunday! Wondered where the garden was and what was going on there? Pop in to see us 10 am. End of Muri Road, walk along the platform to the painted waiting shed. See you there. (Event posted by Jane Comben on Facebook)
Last Friday we had a couple of hours of working at the gardens – weeding, cutting grass and a bit of planning. I think 8 of us were there – sorry we didn’t get you all on the photos. This week activity is planned for Monday from around 4pm – everyone is welcome to come along and join in / have a chat about what we are doing. Things to do this week include planting Comfrey and other support plants around the trees to help them with fixing minerals, nitrogen etc. It would be great if we could do something together every week – so message your email if you would like to be put on the emailing list – and let us know if you would like to ‘take ownership’ for one week or more – to make sure things keep moving ahead.
It’s been a busy month in the community garden — we’ve had three working bees and made a lot of progress.
Today we finished the first phase of planting in the garden for this year. So far, we have:
- planted feijoa trees between part of the garden and the neighbours as a screen that will also produce delicious fruit
- planted all the fruit trees — apples, pears, nashis and plums
- planted the support trees around the fruit trees to provide protection and to help fix nitrogen in the soil for plant growth
- mulched around all the trees to keep down weeds and help the soil retain water over the driest part of the year.
We still have to put in some wind breaks by the trees to protect them from the wind that comes from the northwest, which can be pretty strong at times. Of course, we’ll need to keep the grass down, but we’ve got a scythe and some keen users so we can do it without disturbing the neighbours with noisy machinery. Spring and summer will be busy with making sure the trees are OK, and well watered during the dry season. Fortunately, the council installed a tap for us when they built the access onto the site, so we have a permanent and reliable water supply.
We also have to start planting the smaller support plants, which will help accumulate minerals for the trees and build up the soil health, and we’d also like to get some berry plants in there, too. We’re trying to follow permaculture principles to create an ecosystem that has a wide range of plants, soil biota and insects that all support each other.
It looks like we have got more funding from Porirua City Council under their Village Planning programme again this year, so we’ll be able to do more planting over the next 12 months. We’ll look at establishing a different range of plants from the pipfruit trees we’ve planted so far — perhaps more stone fruit, or maybe some citrus. We can’t wait!
We had another great day in the community garden yesterday and planted most of the fruit trees. Rob Oscroft shows what we have achieved.
Today a small, keen group worked in the community garden to prepare for our working bee tomorrow to get ready for planting the fruit trees arriving this month.
The community garden is really a ‘food forest’ that will eventually include a wonderful mixture of fruit trees, berries, herbs and support trees that will grow into a self-sustaining ecosystem. We’re developing it following permaculture principles to create a diverse and integrated system that is rich in plant, insect and microbe life, and recycles nutrients and doesn’t need many inputs from us. Continue reading “Marking out the garden”
We had a great meeting at the site of the Community Garden on Sunday, having invited all the neighbours to discuss the project and contribute with ideas and feedback. Everyone who turned out was enthusiastic and eager to participate, so we are looking at getting things moving ahead. With this in mind – everyone in the community is invited to a meeting at 7pm, Thursday 19 October at the School Hall to contribute to the planning for the immediate and longer term future of the garden.
If you have anything you would like to put on the agenda; ideas and feedback, skills, materials or other resources to contribute, please feel free to message here or comment on the Facebook posts’s discussion.
We planted 30 trees today, mostly tagasaste, which fixes nitrogen and helps to improve the soil, and can later be be coppiced for firewood and sacrificial mulch. It will serve to shelter the holly oaks while they get established to form the main long-term shelter. We even managed to sneak some lavender amongst proceedings too. Many thanks to everyone who turned up to help!
To celebrate Her Royal Majesty’s birthday, let’s build a compost station and some raised beds after lunch on Monday. Kick-off at 1pm on Monday 5 June (more event details here), and subject to availability we can get a few tree and nursery species in the ground too.
Things we need
- Used pallets (7 initially)
- Some sleeper timbers
- Lengths of driftwood from the beach
- Plants. Currently, donations will be gratefully accepted of the following trees and shrubs for the nursery and beginning shelter layers: tagasaste (Cytisus proliferus), holly oak (Quercus ilex), common lavender (Lavendula augustifola), and feijoa (any good variety).
It might be a bit wet to try to get a shed in place on the back of a truck, but Malcolm from PCC is keen to get the water tank sorted soon.
If you are interested in participating in the community food forest garden project, please contact Jonathan at the Residents’ Association through the Contact Us page with your email address and/or a contact phone number, so we can keep a mailing/phone list of interested folks. For instance, one of the first things we need to figure out is the best way to facilitate discussion and coordinate resources and tasks between working bees, whether that be email, Facebook, this website, a wiki, smoke signals, or some other method.
Hi folks, it’s really happening! Let’s all catch up tomorrow at 10 am (see event details) and meet and greet. We have our garden plan (PDF) to work from, and we need to mark out where the things will go, who has access to what resources, and what we can get started with first.
Things to do
The council have already mown and mulched the site for us, so that’s the first thing done from the list of tasks in the plan. Likely candidates for things we can start doing are:
- Construct the composting station. There’s a nice easy way to build this out of used pallets.
- Construct some initial allotment beds: 3-4 raised beds, 1.2 – 3 metres, over winter, ready for spring planting. Sleeper timbers or similar (driftwood?) required.
- Minor earthworks, to cut 20-30 cm swale steps along contours in places. I think we’ll need a bobcat for this, or it’s a large amount of manual spade labour. We may be able to engage the council here.
- Plant nursery trees (tagasaste, lavender) to improve the soil, fix nitrogen and shelter later tree plantings.
- Plant some of the orchard tree species that are tolerant of wind and poor soil (feijoa, bamboo, apple varieties “Irish Peach” and “Priscilla”).
We are currently investigating the option to move one of the old shelter buildings from the closed Muri Station onto the site, to use as the potting/tool shed, and the council are willing to provide a water tank for garden and Civil Defence use.
Things to bring
- Gumboots (required),
- enthusiasm (required), and optionally:
- measuring tape,
- a spade,
- pencil and paper,
- any plants you’d like to donate; at this stage we only envisage planting Tagasaste (Cytisus proliferus), Lavender (Lavendula dentata), or Feijoa (Acca sellowiana), and
- if someone could bring a drone so we can get a top-down photograph, that would be super-fantastic and help with mapping and plotting.
Good news! There is now sensible access along the Muri Station platform and a new gate into our new community garden / food forest area on Muri Reserve. The council have provided us with a mains water connection and have mown and mulched the grass on the site ready for planting.
We would like to run an opening and working bee this weekend. There’s plenty to do, and there is an initial list of jobs in our short term annual garden plan. Any and all donations of time, materials, tools or required professional services will be gratefully received.
Iif you are interested in participating please get in touch with the RA secretary via the Contact Us page!