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Community Gardens celebrates growth in interest

April 4th, 2012
[by David Armstrong]

Growth of interest and facilities at the Motueka Community Gardens is gaining momentum, following a bumper Harvest Festival celebration and new faces on the management committee.

The festival, held on March 25th, attracted about 40 people including pupils from St Peter Chanel School, who enjoyed the barbecue which included vegetables freshly harvested from the garden beds. Several educational games were played, and seeds were collected from the sunflowers which were planted in December, to be sent to feed Natureland's birds.

See photos of the event below.

From tentative beginnings, the community gardens have grown into a thriving area of activity in the area between the Recreation Centre and the Inlet Walkway. The communal plots at the front are now well established, along with the tool sheds, compost bins, scarecrows and now a shade house, and over the past six months more than a dozen people have prepared private allotment beds, paying a nominal annual rental in return.

Several gardeners spend significant time working on their plots and the communal areas on most days of the week. The fears of vandalism and of a losing battle with the couch grass have proved largely unfounded, and the area is thriving.

The committee of five trustees and a treasurer has this month been boosted by the addition of three people wanting to offer their skills to further the development. Motueka's own gardening expert, Grant Douglas, who was a founding trustee, has resumed that position and will provide mentoring and advice on when and how to plant produce and what weekly jobs should be done by volunteers at working bees.

Grant will also be running public workshops at the gardens on basic vegetable gardening, beginning this spring.

Two allotment renters, Sue Walker and Kahu Geor, have also joined the committee, and will help with liaison with allotment holders and with public relations, funding applications and organisation.

Three further applications to rent allotments have been received, and the trustees are preparing for the next annual rental agreements to be commenced or renewed after the Annual General Meeting, to be held in August. People hoping to be able to rent gardening space will need to make their applications soon.


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