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Owhiro Bay gardeners growing a community

Oct 12th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

Gardening MAIN

DIG IN: Members of the Houghton Bay garden team in planting mode. Photo: Supplied

ANDREW McLachlan comes all the way from Tawa to Owhiro Bay to dig Wellington’s latest community vegetable garden.

The garden has been going for three months and Andrew is already plotting how to get one going in Tawa.

Andrew says the group came together through online discussion and mutual friends interested in being self sufficient and using recycled goods to create an organic garden.

“It’s for the community to share,” Andrew says.

However people need to contribute by working on the garden.

“The garden needs around 10 people to get it started.

“Then they go to the council parks and gardens that can help get the land for a plot.”

Wellington City Council identified unused land near Owhiro Bay gthe group could use and bulldozed blackberry bushes off to give the group clear space.

The council has supported community gardens since the establishment of Operation Green Thumb in 1993.

Increasing interest in recent years led to the council publishing community gardens guidelines last year, and to the setting up of the Wellington Community Garden Collective, which include well established groups such as Arlington Gardens at Mt Cook, Island Bay’s Common Ground, Innermost Garden at Mt Victoria and Keablock at Brooklyn.

Andrew says the Owhiro Bay garden is currently growing snow peas, carrots, broccoli and potatoes.

“At the moment the choice in vegetables are from the core group on the programme, but we want to branch out into asking the community.

“The ideal outcome is to have a number of community gardens in a number of suburbs across the wellington region.”

Andrew says the inspiration for getting the garden started is to do something positive and have the resources for the community.

“We’ve got the land that has been given to us. And we can give that away. It’s like a mini resource economy.”

He says core principles involved are that it’s all about the communities, producing food organically and any excess produce is given away to support the local communities.

This includes shelters, food banks, elderly and anyone who needs it.

“There are different parts in Wellington that don’t have access to these gardens and so where there aren’t gardens I’d like to see more established.”

They have also come up with some innovative ways to recycle, using tyres for vertical planters donated by Tony’s Tyre Service.

The group is also designing new ways to water their gardens, including a water wheel to generate electricity using the current of the stream that flows near the plot.

They have had a small number of people helping with donations of scraps for different purposes, such as French Kiss Cafe and Craving Coffee delivering coffee grounds to use as fertiliser.

Porirua recycling centre Trash Palace has been a source of gardening tools.


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  1. Nice story…I live in Houghton Bay and didn’t even know it was there! My wife likes gardening so I’ll send her accross!

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