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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Did I say a dearth of rain?

Dear hearty gardeners,

Further to my last post and the aforementioned “dearth of rain”, well, I’ve got to say this month the word at the top of my mind has been “deluge”. And doesn’t that make us gardeners SO HAPPY!

This month’s series of quite magnificent thunderstorms has made the beds explode with life and so our job for today’s working bee was to trim, prune and clear space for some of the smaller plants to have their place in the sun.

But first, we installed our brand, spanking new sign courtesy of our fabulous friend at Council, Colleen, the Civic Pride Coordinator. Thanks Colleen!

Where shall we put it?

Where shall we put it?

One screw in, but we need more power...

One screw in, but we need more power…

Power tools and Sunday mornings are a match made in heaven.

Power tools and Sunday mornings are a match made in heaven.

With the new sign shouting, with great gusto, our garden’s philosophy to the world, it was time to get to work.

Today was also a day of composting and I’m pleased to report that both compost bins were full to bursting, so Sarah (who can’t help herself when compost and worms are involved) got in there digging one of them out, filling up the wheelbarrow and topping up the beds.

It also looks like the dry matter bin is working well. For those of you that don’t know, it’s important to spread a layer of dry material  over your veggie scraps when you drop your compost off. The dry matter bin has a fresh load of straw, courtesy of the wonderful Fiona from Randwick Council, so please use this liberally whenever you use the compost bins.

For today’s harvest, there were super spicy purple chilies, a cabbage, lots of little beets, Thai basil (which Salla and Angie are planning to make pesto with), sage galore…but despite the amazing strawberry plants, only green strawberries! One day I’ll be there just in time for a ripe one :)

Big thanks to Annie (and her outlaws), Celia, Angie, Sarah, Salla, Sasha, Charlie, Heidi and Olive and see you next time = 10am on Sunday 15 December!

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Spreading that chocolaty rich, compost. Yum!

Spreading that chocolaty rich, compost. Yum!

According to Salla, these chilies are super spicy, so take care!

According to Salla, these chilies are super spicy, so take care!

Amazing that there are always green strawberries and never red ones!

Amazing that there are always green strawberries and never red ones!

Packing up to go.

Packing up to go.

Great work today girls!

Great work today girls!

We finish up with a nice picnic and cuppa - lovely

We finish up with a nice picnic and cuppa – lovely

Give a little, take a little - a wonderful philosophy!

Give a little, take a little – a wonderful philosophy!

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By Jove, the wicking method works!

Blimey, with the dearth of rain we’ve had these last few weeks, a busted hose and a few absences on the water roster I’m surprised the beds have held up as well as they have. But I’ve got to say how impressed I am with the wicking method. Over the last month there have been lettuce a plenty, spring onions, strawberries, mint galore, silverbeet, beetroot and the herbs are going mental.

Today’s working bee was a major success and lots of old faces turned out as well as a couple of new ones. HUGE thanks to Annie, Ricky, Salla, Dee, Adam, Meg, Charlie, Heidi, Lance and Elvis for all your hard work!

Ps, did you know that the TV show Better Homes and Gardens has established a brand new (and very swanky) community garden on Anglesea Street just off Bondi Road? In a rather large feather in our cap (let’s make it from a peacock), apparently it is modeled on our garden because ours has been such a success! We’re brilliant!

Pps, we’ve got a brand new hose (special thanks to Civic Pride Coordinator Colleen at Council) and it is a JOY to use. If you want to join the watering roster we are always looking for help so just let us know :)

Bursting with life - go the wicking beds

Bursting with life – go the wicking beds

Looking very neat

Looking very neat

Heidi and I soak those new tomato plants

Heidi and I soak those new tomato plants

Only 10.30 and it's going to be a scorcher!

Only 10.30 and it’s going to be a scorcher!

Fresh, succulent, rich compost - YUM!

Fresh, succulent, rich compost – YUM!

We are some seriously busy bees

We are some seriously busy bees

Dee did some great stake outs today

Dee did some great stake outs today

Brand new garden on Anglesea Street - modeled on ours don't you know!

Brand new garden on Anglesea Street – modeled on ours don’t you know!

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The gardens spring into, well, Spring!

It was a petite but hardy crew who braved the drizzle to ensure the garden received its monthly TLC:

Exhibit A: 9 month pregnant Sarah

Exhibit B: 7 year old Maddie

Exhibit C: 9 month old Heidi

Exhibit D: Yours truly

Go us!

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Bed number 6 was a clean slate...not for long - go beets go!

Bed number 6 was a clean slate…not for long – go beets go!

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July in the Garden

Oh the time has flown once again. This blog has been empty but the gardens have been FULL!

Here are just a couple of piccies from our July Working Bee…

Big thanks to Jules for keeping me company.

So long for now!

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Love is… a pink watering can

Jules tackles the compost bin - a brave women that!

Jules tackles the compost bin – a brave women that!

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