Renewed vigor marks this working bee – plus a call for help

Hello and happy new year!

Sarah and I have found ourselves wondering recently how to adjust to our very time consuming roles of wardens of the garden (our first baby) and our (more demanding) real babies (of which we now have three between us) and together we have come up with a number of key solutions to the problems we face going into 2015:

1: Permanent water access: For this I’m going to ask for your help…water access is still a major problem as the tap needs a tap key and the key we have bought from Bunnings doesn’t work. We can borrow Annie’s but this isn’t really practical. Water is essential for our garden so I’ve been lobbying Colleen (from Waverley Council) for a long term solution. She has been lobbying the council’s plumber but although he has promised to fix it, he has proved elusive so far. Even if you don’t regularly use the garden, please help us get our water supply back by going to Waverley Council’s Make a Request page and ask in the strongest possible terms about fixing our water problem. Thanks in advance!!!

2: Get rid of one of the compost bins and stop members of the public using the other: Unfortunately we have found managing two compost bins too much to manage so this month we have emptied and freecycled one of the compost bins on. We have learned that opening the compost to everyone means people don’t compost the right things (think chicken carcasses, whole coconut shells etc) so we spend way too much time wading through rancid rottenness during the precious time of our working bee. Sorry public but if you’re in the Eastern Suburbs and want to learn how to compost properly and want your own compost bin or worm farm check out the compost revolution. If you’re a member of the garden’s group however you are welcome to still use the bins. Just remember, only veggie scraps and things like cardboard and straw are what we need!

Emptied, washed and freecycled!

Emptied, washed and freecycled!

3. Ask for help: This month Sarah and I met with Colleen from Waverley Council who has promised some help. Our wonderful friend Annie, who for the past three and a half years has allowed us to use her porch as our storage shed, has sold her house and is moving on (although hopefully staying in the area) so we needed a new storage solution. The wonderful Colleen has promised to buy us a new shed/storage solution which we can keep onsite at the garden. We’ll fit it with a combination lock so gardeners can access everything all the time. This is fantastic news. Thanks Colleen, you are a star!

4. Workshops: We also met with a local gardening educator about running quarterly workshops at the garden so we can all brush up on some skills. Council has promised to fund this but the person we have in mind has quite a few commitments on the weekends we have in mind, so if you know of any other garden educators who would like to run workshops at our garden (on the third Sunday of the month, four times a year) please get in touch via our Facebook page.

5. Keeping people coming: We want to urge YOU in the loveliest possible way to come along and help us during a working bee or two this year. It’s easy to remember our dig days – the third Sunday of every month and we’ll always send a Facebook invite as well. We can’t wait to see you.

That’s all the news for now so happy gardening and we hope to see you next month. As Sarah and I are away on the third Sunday of next month the next date for your diary is March 22nd at 10am.

Ta ta for now xx

Our garden is bloomin' great!

Our garden is bloomin’ great!

 

 

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Show me the love – it’s springtime!

What’s going on at the garden this month?

Our composts are full to bursting

Our composts are full to bursting

Fecund and saucy, this bed is always bursting with life

Fecund and saucy, this bed is always bursting with life

Exhibit 1: trendy kale - a staple foodstuff of all the Eastern Suburbs yummy mummies

Exhibit 1: trendy kale – a staple foodstuff of all the Eastern Suburbs yummy mummies

Red delicious - who doesn't like beetroot? You're bonkers if you don't!

Red delicious – who doesn’t like beetroot? You’re bonkers if you don’t!

It seems a shame to ruin this bee's playground as the rocket starts to flower

It seems a shame to ruin this bee’s playground as the rocket starts to flower

Garlic hides among the flowers

Garlic hides among the flowers

Artichoke dominates this bed with grace and beauty

Artichoke dominates this bed with grace and beauty

Greens, greens, greens!

Greens, greens, greens!

Wild growth - I love it!

Wild growth – I love it!

Broccoli and daikon battle it out in this bed

Broccoli and daikon battle it out in this bed

The composts are full! The need for a better composting solution in the east is obvious

The composts are full! The need for a better composting solution in the east is obvious

Breathing space after the working bee

Breathing space after the working bee

The plants can spread their roots

The plants can spread their roots

Thanks team. Enjoy the take aways!

Thanks team. Enjoy the take aways!

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Getting ready for spring

So, what did we get up to this month?

First job, checking on the compost

First job, checking on the compost

Second job, getting some seeds in

Second job, getting some seeds in

Margie spreads those seeds

Margie spreads those seeds

Annie and James survey the scene

Annie and James survey the scene

Team July working bee - cold but beaming

Team July working bee – cold but beaming

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Winter working bee

A few choice images from our winter working bee. See you next month!

Carrots and beets make their preview

Carrots and beets make their preview

Rich and red, a great colour on your plate

Rich and red, a great colour on your plate

Garlic plants looking strong and healthy

Garlic plants looking strong and healthy

Sage, rocket, garlic and more!

Sage, rocket, garlic and more!

And King Henry of Broccoli said - "off with her head"

And King Henry of Broccoli said – “off with her head”

It's dinner time!

It’s dinner time!

See you next month

See you next month

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Jolly plantings and a cautionary tale…

Jolly plantings:

We had a bumper crop of volunteers for our third anniversary dig day (yes our lovely garden is three years old!). It was a joy and a pleasure to give the newbies a tour of the beds and share the history, but then it was time to get planting.

First up were about 50 leeks needing a new home. They were raised from seed in a make-shift nursery against my apartment block’s sunny rear wall and having got to about 7 inches tall were itching to stretch their roots and upsize their accommodation.

A leek planting demo my the marvelous Margie

A leek planting demo by the marvelous Margie

We like to train them up young...

We like to train them up young…

Sophia and Felicity give the leeks a lovely long drink

Sophia and Felicity give the leeks a lovely long drink

Then it was time to inspect the emerging broccoli (and find space for more leeks). There is just a tiny head poking through at present, but it’s super exciting to watch it grow.

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Oh ho, how does the broccoli grow!

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More leeks…

The kids were keen to do the watering!

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The pink watering can is a favourite of all

Then it was mulch time. It’s so good to keep a layer of mulch over the soil to stop unnecessary water evaporation.

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Mulch me up

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Sarah also sprinkled over some blood and bone

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Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch

And finally it was time for a lovely cuppa. Thanks for your help everyone!

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OooOOoo a lovely cuppa after a hard morning’s yakka

A cautionary tale:

I don’t want to dwell too much on rules and regulations, but I am driven to bring to our readers’ attention the importance of respectful plantings. We love a keen spirit and a helping hand but please make sure if you want to plant in the garden beds you only plant where there is space, or better still let us know (via our Facebook page) what you plan to do so we can give you some pointers. There is nothing more disappointing than nurturing seeds to seedling, planting them out only for them to disappear from the beds as was the experience we had last month. It wasn’t malicious, but it was thoughtless, so please help, we love it more than anything, but please respect the plantings already in the ground. Thanks!

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Good ol’ mucky fun

Well, hello Autumn! 

The monthly working bee on Sunday dawned bright and sunny but with the wonderful chilly lick of Autumn sneaking in first thing – I just love the changing seasons. I packed up my gardening bag and went downstairs to load up with freshly grown seedlings.

This is probably a bit off the point, but in a burst of self improvement I’ve been reading a book called the 7 habits of highly effective people  and the key, it seems, is to set a couple of small weekly goals in each and  every important area of your life. So in terms of being an effective community gardener, I’ve have been planting seeds weekly in the makeshift nursery at the back of my apartment block so there is always something ready for the next working bee. So far so good…there is lettuce, capsicum, cucumbers, beans, radish, silverbeet and coriander all waving their lovely green fronds at me whispering “oh you’re being so effective Penny”, which makes me feel pretty good :)

I spent the first little while at the garden by myself. Check out the first bed I tackled. A before pic with some very lonely broccoli and coriander…

Before. Looking a little empty...

Before. Looking a little empty…

And the after shot where the broccoli is joined by an energetic audience of white radish.

...and after! Broccoli takes centre stage with an audience of white radish and coriander. I'm watching this  bed with great anticipation.

…and after! Broccoli takes centre stage with an audience of white radish and coriander. I’m watching this bed with great anticipation.

My next job was to admire the beans, blueberry bush, lemongrass and chilies in bed number 5, which Sarah and I planted out in February. I am loving this bed at the moment:

This bed is also now home to super spicy chilies (left corner) broad beans (centre) lemongrass (right corner) and a blueberry bush (back right corner) how exciting!

This bed is also now home to super spicy chilies (left corner) broad beans (centre) lemongrass (right corner) and a blueberry bush (back right corner) how exciting!

The next bed I worked on was full of last season’s tomatoes and I had just cleared them when the wonderful Celia turned up to pitch in with the planting. We planted silverbeet, lettuce, capsicum. Here is the result…they look a little droopy at present, but here’s hoping they survive the transfer:

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Silverbeet, capsicum and lettuce. All a bit droopy, but I’m hoping they survive the transfer!

Then the wonderful Adam and his daughter the gorgeous Isobel turned up. “What can we do to help?” Adam asks. And boy do I have a job for them…

One of the compost bins has been slowly sinking into the ground on one side and had become so twisted and warped that the lid wasn’t fitting and the side door had fallen off.

“Dear Adam,” I cried, “please fix the leaning tower of compost!”

“Righto,” he replied, and set to work.

The leaning tower of compost is about to undergo major reconstructive surgery

The leaning tower of compost is about to undergo major reconstructive surgery

We thought it might be a simple fix and we could just prop up the sinking side, but it quickly became apparent that to do it properly we’d have to disassemble the whole thing and start again. Hello cockroaches, ants, multiple legged critters and all sort of other squirmy friends!

"I hope I can put this back together again" Adam says hopefully as the compost bin collapses at his feet

“I hope I can put this back together again” Adam says hopefully as the compost bin collapses at his feet

“I hope I can put this thing back together,” Adam says hopefully as the compost bin collapses at his feet.

Rich and mulchy!

Rich and mulchy!

Yummy!

Sludge, cockroaches and a gazillion ants on a wonderful Sunday morning

Sludge, cockroaches and a gazillion ants on a wonderful Sunday morning

To make sure the same thing doesn’t happen again, Celia went home to dig out some old bricks that we could use for a solid base for the bin to stand on. Thanks Celia!

Thanks to Celia and John for the free bricks!

Thanks to Celia and John for the free bricks!

Adam levels it off and all is going well until…

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Our sunny day disappears!

Our sunny day disappears completely and the thunder and lightning rolls in! Somehow or other we manage to piece the bin back together, and refill it with the displaced compost, to the cacophony of Thor’s orchestra. Despite the change in our fortunes we have a lovely time cooling off under the stamping splashes of 1000 droplets.

At the end of it all the clouds hastened off to bother someone else and sun reappeared to bless the seedlings (and us) with a warm kiss or two.

The leaning tower of compost now stands tall and straight

The leaning tower of compost now stands tall and straight

And now look at it! The bin stands tall and straight and ready to transform food scraps into rich, fertile soil. Adam sent me a text that night saying how awesome he felt after our achievement and I couldn’t help but agree. Isn’t it always the way, challenges and setbacks just make the victory taste so sweet.

See you at the next working bee, as always the third Sunday of the month (20th April) at 10am!

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Rosy new faces and rosy red tomatoes!

Hallo you lovely lot and welcome to January’s edition of the Waverley Park Communal Garden Blog!

January’s working bee was a wonderful opportunity to meet some new friends and undertake a few critical jobs to keep our beds alive and kicking i.e. watering, watering and watering!

Water, water, water - the thirst is unbearable!

Water, water, water – the thirst is unbearable!

Watering was by far the most critical job, but seeing as we had attracted no less than eight new faces for our Sunday morning stint in the garden in the park (horrah!), we found some other fun things to do. I got stuck into the richest, mulchiest most delicious looking compost our bins have ever produced, so Eitan’s boys could get planting…

Gooey, yummy, wormy compost gets mixed in with the soil to make a nice little bed for the parsley

Gooey, yummy, wormy compost gets mixed in with the soil to make a nice little bed for the parsley

And it was a true delight to see our philosophy of “Give a little, Take a little” being so well demonstrated as the boys planted their parsley and took home some lovely fresh produce!

Gardening makes for happy families

Gardening makes for happy families

Other jobs included staking the tomatoes as they were getting rather saggy…

Julia trims and stakes our saggy tomatoes

Julia trims and stakes our saggy tomatoes

DSC00122And Salla got on with a general mulch and tidy up…

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The creative juices really got flowing…

Creative souls in action...

Creative souls in action…

And before we knew it, the morning was gone and our pockets were full of very ripe tomatoes, just looking for a salad or sandwich to team up with.

See you next time! Sunday 16 February 2014, 10am.

Ta da! Next working bee is on Sunday 16 February 10am - see you there!

Ta da! Next working bee is on Sunday 16 February 10am – see you there!

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