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!