Getting out into the garden

Well I have no idea what’s been happening in the garden for the past few weeks, but am sure it’s been hotter and drier than in NZ. This past week saw frost and several single digit degree mornings in central Otago. Where I’ve been, the vege patch garlic is still forming and filling bulbs, chives flowering, broad beans are just beginning to flower in earnest, with more plantings going in on a regular basis, and tomatoes and corn barely planted. In Wellington, wind protection is the order of the day for all plants and somewhat curtails the growing season (and even clotheslines are placed in a sheltered spot!)

A little late, however, thanks to Brian Keats, I can provide the best gardening times and activities, sight unseen. You can order the 2015 Calendar now through his website, or from ABV.

Go to the Gardening Notes for December to find out what to do, when, this month. In what for many will be a hectic December, find some time to spend in the garden; you’ll be grateful on many fronts.

Last month Saide represented the garden at a gathering at Loddon Prison, a thankyou to the many community groups who supported the Prison’s Nomination for a Corrections Victoria Community Partnership Award. Loddon’s horticultural project raises seedlings for community garden projects around the shire (including ours) and was named Joint Winner from a total of 13 nominations for the “”Most Outstanding New Project Award”.

I visited Loddon Prison last week for morning tea (more of a swish brunch) on behalf of the community garden. We went for a tour of their garden. Two large shade sheds, each about 2.5 times the size of ours is where they do the seed raising. A very small vegetable patch grows some veggies, but is not yet used to supply their own kitchen, although all kitchen scraps are used to make compost for the garden. There are five, or is it six, 3×1 metre, state-of-the-art, concrete based worms farms with in-ground juice collectors that churn through the vegetable scraps. All are in constant use as the prison is like a small town – larger than Newstead. The only item they buy in is some seed raising mix.

They were very grateful for the seeds we offered and have asked for any requests re types of Autumn/Winter vegetable or herb seedlings be sent soon, as they are in their planning stage. If you have particular requests maybe you could send them to Mary Park or Myself, saideg25@gmail.com and we will pass them on to the appropriate people.

I was very impressed by the staff and other participants in the prison gardening program. One horticulturalist told me that a number of participants had experienced the gardening program as a form of transformational reconciliation. He saw working with nature as one of the key aspects.

It was a great opportunity to meet some of the other gardening groups in the region and to see the source of so many of our seedlings.

Gardeners have also been busy harvesting broad beans and podding, blanching and freezing for future eating. See you in the December garden.

 

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