Tag Archives: community garden

What I did on my holidays…. visiting community gardens in Otumeotai

Close-up of red sunflowers at Otumoetai Community Garden TaurangaQuite by accident when looking for lunch while on a rambling walk along the Otumoetai foreshore in Tauranga, Roz and I tripped over the fabulous, fecund Let’s get growing community gardens.

Sited in the Otumoetai Railway Reserve, the allotment style gardens are a vision of paradise on earth. You’ll have to look at the pics below to believe me when I say the sunflowers were already over four metres tall in early January. Smote was this Wellington gardener.

On returning from our walk I found the website for Let’s get growing. There is all the information I could wish for about the history, plenty of engaging photos and a Google map so I can find my way back. The level of detail is excellent for people wondering how it works, and for others involved in community gardens elsewhere to see how they run the space.

Of course, this visit is not the only thing captured on ‘film’ from our family’s summer vacation which now require my attention. An announcement at Roz and my civil union party inviting well-wishers to be part of a crowdsourcing approach to documenting the celebration has generated over 300 photos and a few hours of video.

In between the occasional sun in the Bay of Plenty and Wellington, I have started to get organised for 2012.

As promised, the Wellington NGO webmasters networking events will continue each month in 2012. The first one is on Tuesday 14 February.

At the Connecting Communities event in Christchurch, on 29 February, I’ll begin promoting some new services to help people run online meetings/ webinars for their organisations or networks. Quite a bit of prepare yet, so I can’t say too much just now. You’ll find more details about what I’m offering on this blog in early March, along with some of the things I learn as I go.

Next week I’ll be discussing with my colleagues at Family and Community Services how we go about sharing my work raising awareness of NGO ICT capacity building needs. Sharing a presenation I’ve cooked up is one idea, notwithstanding the lengthy title: “Why ICT matters for family support services and community organisations, and how to help people get better at using IT”.

Enough preambling, I hope you enjoy my visit to the Let’s get growing community garden as I did.

Technical note: the photos and (clumsy) video were shot using my Nokia E5 – designed to capture an impression, rather than being great photography. It’s taken me about 30 minutes to upload, sort, batch edit and share the pics.

Plotting community gardens

View Community gardens in Aotearoa New Zealand in a larger map

See the map above, well I’d like your help to add to it. As part of some research I’m doing for an article on community gardening I want to know what is happening around Aotearoa New Zealand.

By the looks of things there is a lot. Already I’ve counted well over 30 community gardens, some of which are listed in my delicious community gardens bookmarks.

I need help to expand the list. And specifically, to find out exactly where the gardens are. Mapping the gardens using a Google map has more visual appeal than a bald list. Plus updating is something that can be shared with others. Anyone who joins in can have a few debates dilemmas involved in mapping.

To capture and record the giant list and any collective knowledge about NZ community gardens I’ve also set up the Plot Your Community Garden wiki. This will include the constantly updated map (I hope) and any other stuff people want to share. When I say “jump in and create your own page, or add a new resource”, I mean it.

I’m secretly hoping that by listing gardens people will get in touch with others for tips, lessons, share joys and lows. And perhaps create some pressure for John Key to follow in the footsteps of Michelle Obama and turn-over some turf at the prime ministerial digs to a garden.

If you want to help you can:

  1. Send me an email with a street address (or coordinates) and a photo of your community garden. I’ll add this to the map. Email: communitygardens.nz@gmail.com. If you’re happy having contact details shared let me know. Or
  2. Contact me for details of how to edit the Google map pictured below and you can add information about a community garden yourself. Or
  3. Add details to the giant list of community gardens page.

Who will be the first to list?

PS Please spread the word about this to anyone who is interested. Later I’ll ask for help via Facebook, Social Invovation Camp, Transition Towns and Twitter.

Organic gardening in Ngaio and Hampstead

Over the last few weeks I’ve been enjoying a new blog on the Guardian website about an organic allotment a group of Observer Magazine staff have started working on. They’re starting from scratch at a negelected allotment in Hampstead, London. As photos and videos on the blog show, they started with a pretty messy site but they’re slowly transforming it.

In the latest entry we hear about delivery of “perfectly rotted down two-year-old cow manure loaded with biodynamic preparations and thrumming with life to pass onto our soil and crops”. And there are pictures too (see below).

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Considering the state of my so-called compost heap I’m suffering from humus envy big time. The Observer crew seem to be racing ahead at a fast rate.

The pace of growth seems is something of a contrast to approach to organic gardening espoused by local seed raiser and man of the land Dave Treadwell. Earlier today Dave shared his knowledge and philosophy through an organic gardening course I went on (thanks to Mandy for a very thoughtful christmas present).

A big lesson I picked up was on the need to spend time observing your garden. Sit back and notice what is going on. When removing the vermicast when worms have finished their munching, Dave said go and have a cuppa to allow the worms to flee. He said it takes about seven years to really understand the microclimates and ecological niches in a garden.

Dave sells his organic seeds by mail order. As a source of seeds selected to thrive in local conditions and having visisted where the crops are grown in Ngaio, I’m pretty keen to buy seeds from him in the future. The seed catalogue along with some tips can be found on the ecoseeds website.

It was good to get practical experience in my own backyard because I can’t see myself visiting the Observer Magazine allotment in the next wee while. I’ll still be checking the blog regularly though.