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Clever garden reaps results

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014
Massey Garden
IN THE PIPELINE: Benita Yovi and Daniel Burgess of the Massey University Community Garden Club admire their strawberry crop.

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Most universities are concrete jungles but Massey's Albany campus boasts a thriving community garden complete with "strawberry towers".

Gardening on campus is helping beat stress and providing produce to cash-strapped students.

The Massey University Community Garden Club hopes to boost membership this year after winning club of the year at the campus in 2013. It's open to students and anyone in the community who wants to volunteer and enjoy fresh produce in return.

They hope one day they will have enough organic produce to offer it free to struggling students, or those who just want healthier food.

Vegetables growing in the garden include giant pumpkins, garlic, silverbeet, pak choi, beetroot and lettuce.

There are also several strawberry towers created club president Daniel Burgess, an engineering student, who decided going up was the best way to grow them.

Strawberries are growing in stormwater pipes with holes cut out and solidly anchored in concrete filled pots.

Weighing abound 20kg each, they're not going to topple in a hurry.

Vice-president Liam Griffin's biology expertise is also put to good use with his advice on what plants need to be healthy.

Daniel says a lot of students don't eat enough vegetables because of the cost and the garden is an antidote.

Massey's student association contributes up to 70 per cent of garden project costs and club members are great at sourcing other help.

Daniel's even tried using containers with leftover beer from the student bar's drip tray to beat a slug problem.

Pukekos are the garden's biggest enemy and the beds are usually covered with wire mesh.

"Pukekos don't touch established plants but they pull out seedlings. They don't eat them, they just pull them out."

Daniel says most of the club's 10 core volunteers are migrants.

Former president Benita Yovi's homeland is tropical Indonesia and she says it's so exciting to see how many plants thrive in New Zealand's climate.

Visit masseygarden.appspot.com for information.

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- North Shore Times

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