Operation Green Thumb

Wellington's Community Gardens

This month I visited Kings Seeds in Katikati where many gardeners browse a beautiful colour booklet and order a large variety of seeds online.  We were shown around the back where seeds in bags from many countries were stored after MPI clearance.  Some types are very expensive and so only small quantities are purchased.  The cost is no different if you visit the shop but at least you don't pay postage. The lady that showed us around was very knowledgeable about all the seeds on the shelves and as you can see they are packaged by hand and counted by the girls there.


Introduction: Operation Green Thumb (OGT)-Wellington's  Community Gardens is supported by Wellington and Upper Hutt City Councils and funded by Lottery Grants. 

 We have been around since 1994 and have most of our gardens in WCC  housing complexes but there are 7 public gardens we helped set up or support: Tanera Park Gardens-Brooklyn and Owhiro Gardens-Happy Valley Rd, run by Mokai Kainga Maori Centre (contact Robert Te Whare on 3834922 ), another in Kilbirnie, St Matts Church Taine St-Taita a communal garden cared for by locals,, Timberlea Community Centre Upper Hutt, Trentham Community House, Tawai and Clyma Parks for those locals in the Trentham area.  All up there are about 200 plots dug up around 15 sites. 

We also support other garden projects around greater Wellington and Upper Hutt. We try to be as organic as possible and do not condone the use of sprays.  We have a small seed bank and publish our own gardening posters and guides specifically for Wgtn's dubious gardening climate.

Our Aims: Are to assist in the set up of new gardens for those people who have no land of their own so they can grow low-cost food.  So if your are unemployed, on a benefit, retired or on a low-income and have no land of your own OGT is available free of charge. If you live in a WCC complex which already has a community garden there you are welcome to apply.

SOME OF OUR GARDENS                                       

MOKAI KAINGA'S OWHIRO GARDENS - HAVE PLOTS AVAILABLE IF YOU NEED-HAPPY VALLEY RD-  WGTN RING ROBERT AT MOKAI KAINGA 383-4922

TAWAI PARK UPPER HUTT, PLOTS AVAILABLE FOR LOCAL GARDENERS AS WELL AS A COMMUNAL GARDEN FOR THE COMMUNITY

DANIELL ST FLATS NEWTOWN HAS GARDEN SPACE AVAILABLE

TIMBERLEA COMMUNITY AND TRAINING GARDEN HAS BEGUN WITH A GARDEN CLUB TO HELP NEW GARDENERS AND OLD HANDS.  MEETS FRIDAYS AROUND 12.00  CHILDREN WELCOME.

CLYMA PARK UPPER HUTT HAVE PLOTS AVAILABLE PLUS FAMILY EVENTS AND A WONDERFUL GAZEBO TO SIT IN

ORONGOMAI MARAE COMMUNITY GARDEN IS LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS SEE ME AT ORONGOMAI MARAE, RAILWAY AVE, UPPER HUTT. TEACHING COURSES ARE AVAILABLE FOR THOSE WANTING TO LEARN EASY TECHNIQUES FOR LOW-MAINTENANCE GARDENING.

ST MATTS IN TAINE ST TAITA IS NOW BEING OVERSEEN BY THE CHURCH THERE AND IS A COMMUNAL GARDEN NOW MEETS FRIDAYS

OPERATION GROW-TRENTHAM COMMUNITY HOUSE GARDEN'S PLOTS AVAILABLE.  SEE MAUREEN

LANE ST UPPER HUTT EXCELLENT SITE IN PEACEFUL SETTING (SOUND LIKE A REAL ESTATE AGENT) GOOD SPACE AVAILABLE

IF YOU LIVE IN ANY WELLINGTON CITY COUNCIL HOUSING COMPLEXES MANY STARTED BY OGT AND YOU WANT A PLOT FIND OUT YOUR IN HOUSE COORDINATOR THERE TO GET A PLOT.

POSTERS FOR SALE P&P $7-EMAIL ME.

If you live in the city and have no land of your own but want to have a plot contact the co-ordinator listed below.  Garden space is becoming a premium now at the 4 public gardens but we hope in the future to be able to offer more gardens in Wellington.  You do save money gardening as well as knowing the veg is fresh and spray-free.

Phone: Sue Boyle (Dip Hort, HITO trainer & assessor)- Co-ordinator- 04 9342629 Please do not ring on Sundays or late at night, gardener is resting.

Mailto: greenthumb@paradise.net.nz


 Coordinator's Comment-January

What can I say even gardeners way up north during the Christmas break were complaining about the wind and cooler temps.  A friend who is a beekeeper in Taranaki says the manuka flowering will be poor this year too, therefore less honey. 

You should have hopefully ripening tomatoes on the vines-firmly tied up, spuds well sprouted and watered and lettuces flourishing in the cooler temps.  Protect everything you can from the wind.  It seems we are getting our northerly gales from November this month.

Keep planting lettuce, spring onions, silverbeet, beetroot, beans.  Water your curcubits and keep an eye out for early powdery mildew happening on those.  I noticed it on a zucchini which hasn't even produced anything.  50/50 milk and water spray. B*gga.

If you are near Upper Hutt and want to visit a community garden to learn growing hints and tips please contact me by email and visit our new garden base at the Orongomai Marae.  A great spot.

Tip: Don't let your rhubarb go to flower, cut off stalk and keep the energy for the stems.

We are now on Facebook, yes we succumbed but there is a brilliant page called NZ Vegetable Gardeners which gives very good advice and photos for gardening problems and triumphs.  So check out our Operation Green Thumb Facebook page and 'like' us feel free to contribute.

I have an 1888 Handbook of Gardening for New Zealand and inside is this: Nothing teaches patience like a garden.  All have to wait for the fruit of the Earth.  You may go round and watch the opening bud from day to day, but it takes its own time and you cannot urge it on faster than it will.  If forced, it is only torn to pieces.  All the best results of a garden, like those of life are slowly but regularly progressive.  Each year does a work that nothing but a year can do.  Learn to labour and to wait is one of the best lessons of a garden.  All that is good takes time and comes only by growth.  No author attributed to this.

We wish to acknowledge the generous support over the years:

Lottery Grants

Wellington City Council

Upper Hutt City Council

The Community Trust of Wellington

Trust House Charitable Trust

The Nikau Foundation

The Wellington Cancer Society

Orongomai Marae Community Gardens

Barista School-Lower Hutt (good coffee too)

Supporters who have donated seeds and resources, seedlings and tools-thank you

 Think about rotating your veg around so the soil doesnt get exhausted from the demands of the same plants in the same spot year after year.  Here is a simple chart for you:

  • YEAR 1 potatoes-peas/beans-roots-brassicas
  • YEAR 2 peas/beans-roots-brassicas-potatoes
  • YEAR 3 brassicas-potatoes-roots-peas/beans
  • YEAR 4 roots-potatoes-peas/beans-brassicas

SPRING MONTHS ARE: September-early, October-mid, November-late

September (fickle weather, still too cold, don't trust it)

  • Like I said don't get sucked into veges that like it warm and sunny.  There's always a nasty southerly blast left in Sept.  It causes broccolis, cabbage, silverbeets etc to bolt (go into forced flowering or remain stunted)
  • Time to prepare with some lime for those crops that prefer it:  beans, peas,cabbage, broccoli, get a good mulch laid down, patch weeded.
  • Fine to put in those early tried and trues-silverbeet, spring onions, lettuce like Mesclun mix, or Red Oak Leaf.
  • Soil and night temps are still a bit low so those favourites like corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchinis, beans and peas wait for next month unless you have a very sunny sheltered plot.
  • Put out spuds this month to 'green up' and sprout a bit. Or put in 'Rocket' a beauty medium sized spud that matures in 30 days.

October (starting to get windy, time to plant)

  • Spring is proving to be like last year-bit cooler at times, enough to slow seedling growth and plants
  • But go for it all the same:  tomatoes, spuds, zucchinis, lettuce, spring onions, peas, beans, s/beet, beetroot, corn everything can go in now.
  • Mulch up progressing seedlings with grass clippings (aged a bit), pea straw $16 in UH but none to had at the mo,  don't get ripped off for anything more at these swanky garden centres.
  • Herbs in now, coriander (brings around the wee Hover Fly that loves aphids), parsely, mints (keep contained or take over)

November (windy for sure now, protect seedlings, mulch, enjoy the beauty of the flowers, bees a buzzing)

  • Keep on progressive sowings of lettuce etc for continuity of supply
  • Mold up spuds, mulch them
  • Mulch, mulch, mulch your no-dig gardens and let the worms do the work
  • Last month really to put in curcubits (pumpkins) as they take a while to mature
  • Watering, staking, planting.
  • Hopefully we get more warmth and consistent sunshine to move everything along
  • White Butterfly on its way for those of you growing brassicas-cabbage, caulis, caulis.  You'll have to shield the plants completely otherwise they'll be massacred soon.

SUMMER MONTHS ARE (hopefully) : December-early, January-mid, February-late

December-early- summer (windy, dry, bugs are out)

  • Get everything in this month-getting late for pumpkins, eggplants that need a long season.
  • Continue sowing lettuce seeds for continuity of supply
  • Protect new seedlings with drink containers or wind break
  • Plant tomatoes, beans, peas, spring onions, spuds (main crop now) lettuce, bok choy, cabbage, cauli, broccoli (white butterfly is out and laying her eggs so use an organic pesticide or shield with cloth-an absolute pain in the ar#e for ruining a good brassica.
  • Wind increasing so mulch your garden with grass clippings, pea straw to retain moisture and give food for the worms
  • Water evenings and early mornings if poss.

January/February-mid and late summer (hot, dry, water restrictions, try early am and pm now)

JANUARY-midsummer-and it's windy a bit, dry norwesters, mulch.

  • Keep planting seedlings for continuity of supply.  ie lettuce, spring onions, rocket, radish, peas, beans.
  • Mold up spuds and mulch-more water now
  • Liquid fertiliser on tomatoes
  • Mulch everything to hold in moisture and suppress weeds
  • Grow lettuce quickly with plenty of water-replant at intervals
  • White Cabbage caterpillar having a field day in brassicas-dont grow them or shield somehow
  • Water evenings or mornings now
  • Stake tomatoes properly or they end of the ground like mine did with this wind

FEBRUARY-late summer, how quickly it's going-harvest time, bugs are out. Dry still.

  • Keep picking the crop-beans will be flying, zucchinis, tomatoes, spuds, s/beet and anything else you put in.  The rain would have helped build up soil moisture but keep MULCHING.
  • Sow seeds for autumn now-cabbage, caulis, broccolis, pak choy-but be aware the white butterfly will be out so try and shield with chicken wire or net til it's time to plant out-about 6 weeks.
  • Sow radish, lettuce, spring onions for quick growing continuity of supply, or buy seedlings instead.
  • Water early mornings, evening-avoid spraying leaves to avoid mildew.  50/50 water & milk fixes that.

AUTUMN-MARCH, APRIL, MAY

March/April-Early and mid-Autumn

  • Harvest time carries on for tomatoes, squash-50/50 milk and water when you get powdery mildew on leaves of pumpkins and zucchinis.
  • Time to plant seedlings- all those brassicas-broccoli, cabbage-sadly the cabbage white butterfly is still active so you will need to use derris dust.  Get them in by April max to give them time to grow before the weather turns cold and slows growth. Look out for vegetable Shield Bug on tomatoes eat holes in fruit.
  • Remove diseased, old finished plants
  • Fertilise and keep on mulching-straw (pea is good), grass clippings, aged. Take runners of strawberries as they come on and share.

Rotate your veg around-see chart up the page a bit further-it is wise to rest soil with different crops.

WINTER-June, July and August

JUNE-EARLY WINTER-look out for frosts now, especially nth Wgtn

  • Put in some garlic this month, takes ages but worth it.
  • Leeks too can go in, don't push them into the ground, make a hole and softly replace soil, buggers to pull out later as they tend to dig themselves down into the soil to anchor.
  • Not in the mood, chuck on some lime, mulch and give garden soil a rest.
  • Those brassicas planted in Feb/ March will stall a bit now but will be ready by August
  • Get broad beans in asap now to give them a start for winter.  When it snowed up here in U/H that year they were the only thing left standing in my garden.  Long grower and then go mad in early spring.  Don't pull out roots when they are finished, snip them off at ground level and chuck remains back onto the garden-your own pea straw mulch, sort of.

JULY-MID WINTER

  • Frosts and cold southerlies on the rise, wet soggy ground.  You can prune roses and grapes now and attend to fruit trees.  Spray for lichen.
  • Stake up broad beans which have made progress since May and mulch up too. 
  • Pick silverbeet, try pak choy.

AUGUST-LATE WINTER

  • Daffodills are out yay
  • More sunlight
  • Mulch and fertilise ground and wait for better weather

For those enquiries from Upper Hutt this is especially for you for winter

If you are in a frost prone part now is the time to:

  • Sow or plant broad beans by May-they do not get hit by frosts, are slow growing but you will reap a good crop.  Afterwards mulch those nitrogen fixers back into the soil for your spring crops to benefit from a bit of N.  Reasonable 500gm bags from Oderings- b.bs need some support/staking.
  • If you are protected from frost its too late for brassicas, get in some quick growing Pak Choy, spinach, leeks, garlic for later on.
  • Watch out for those blasted Pukekos who love pulling out the leeks and then just leave them lying around.
  • Stay warm and rest up until the madness of spring-mulch the winter garden to knock down weed growth and feed the soil-pea straw, straw, old grass clippings

Thank you Lotteries for your loyal support of our small but ever-growing project which builds communities, friendships, sharing, fun and peace.

 

 

Community Gardens Policy Upper Hutt City Council for those people or organisations wanting to start up a garden themselves.

Purpose of Policy

The purpose of the community garden policy is to outline the role of Council in regard to community gardens on Council controlled parks and reserves. The policy describes the process to be followed prior to establishing a community garden. It also provides some parameters and areas for consideration prior to approving a licence to occupy public land for a community garden.

Definition of a Community Garden

A community garden is a small scale garden operated by a group or collective on public land for the purpose of growing plants, vegetables or fruit. Role of Council in Relation to Community Gardens Council will support community gardens in the following ways:

Development of strategic relationships, encouraging collaboration between like-minded groups, residents and subject experts.

Development and facilitation of a local network of community gardens to share information, knowledge and experience as well as reduce duplication of effort and minimise demand on community resources.

Support groups (either established community groups or resident-led groups) to identify community garden needs, appropriate sites and funding opportunities.

The provision of Council land where a case for a community garden has been established and a lead group has agreed to a licence to occupy.

Decision to Grant a Licence to Occupy for a Community Garden. Requests for permission to develop a community garden on Council land should be made in writing to the Community Services department in the first instance. All proposals will be initially assessed by Community Services on a case by case basis in regard to sustainability and the level of community support. Once Community Services officers have approved the application they will liaise with Parks and Reserves and the applicant to identify suitable land and determine the specific terms and conditions of the licence. Where appropriate the Manager of Parks and Reserves will then grant a Licence to Occupy.  Although permission to establish a community garden on Council land is at the discretion of Council officers, in exercising their discretion the following factors will be taken into consideration: the location of the proposed garden, the purpose of the proposed garden, the legal structure and objectives of the group proposing that manage the garden, the benefit to the community, the level of support required from Council for the garden to be viable and sustainable, relevant plans, policies and legislation (such as the District Plan, asset plans, RMA, LGA, LTCCP, Reserves Act 1977 etc), community consultation, availability of public land, any other matters Council officers consider relevant. Licence to Occupy Process. Once permission to establish a community garden on Council land has been given, a Licence to Occupy agreement will be prepared and any specific requirements or conditions will be drafted on a case by case basis. Specific conditions will include, but are not limited to, the area being kept clean and presentable; appropriate access and security arrangements; noise restrictions; and any other such condition that the specific area may require as a result of community consultation. The Parks and Reserves Manager has the authority to grant the Licence To Occupy arrangement. The Licence to Occupy will include monitoring and accountability arrangements, and the expected levels of compliance with terms and conditions. Council will be advised of these licenses and ongoing garden activity through reports to the City Services Committee.  The Community Services Manager will be responsible for these reports, and for the ongoing monitoring of the agreed terms and conditions. The Licence to Occupy will be time limited, and will be revoked in the event of noncompliance with the terms and conditions.

Adopted 4 November 2009, FYI if you want to have a go, we will support any new gardens.

 

ALL THE BEST TO YOU WHO ACCESS THIS WEBSITE-ENJOY THE PEACE AND FRIENDSHIP THAT GARDENING BRINGS. GOOD GARDENING AND GOOD HARVESTS.