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Community garden allotments off to flying start

November 8th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

People renting allotments at the Motueka Community Gardens have made a flying start in transforming an old waste paddock into productive vegetable garden patches.

The community gardens, which saw its first planting exactly 12 months ago in disused council land opposite the Recreation Centre in Old Wharf Road, last month offered gardening space for a peppercorn annual rental ($1 per square metre) to members of the community.

So far 11 people have indicated they want to take up the offer and five of them have already begun preparing their plots and planting crops.

The community gardens, with the communal area on the left and early allotments to the right.

The rapid development of the gardens over their first year has been a remarkable feat performed by up to a dozen volunteers at weekly working bees and other random times. The area's communal plots - raised beds closest to Old Wharf Road - have had one flourishing harvest and are now well established, and most of the area behind them are now being developed into ground-level gardens for individual use.

The trustees of the registered charity are working hard to raise more funds after using up almost all of the $5000 seeding money donated by the District Health Board. Money raised will go towards soil and hardware for further raised allotments, a rotary hoe, extensions to the watering system, and other necessary equipment.

Also to be added soon to the setup will be some infrastructure including posts and wires, a hothouse and propogation shed, from Abel Tasman Educational Trust, whose conservation course was scrapped by the Government.

Now that summer has arrived, working bees for those interested in helping in the communal gardening areas will include Tuesday evenings from 7pm, as well as the regular Sunday afternoons and Friday mornings.

Trustees say that the community gardens concept is now well embedded and proven, and volunteer workers and donors (such as a lawnmowing service providing composting material) are gradually adopting the project. The trustees are still looking for someone who would like to help out as treasurer.

Despite some apprehension at the start, vandalism of the area or the garden beds has been very minimal.


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