In the South
A large variety of nutritious, spray-free fruit and vegetables produced according to organic principles is the result of Tuesday afternoon working bees at the Lumsden Community Garden.
The working bees have been organised by garden co-ordinator Adele Woodford, through the Northern Southland Community Resource Centre Charitable Trust.
"The two raised gardens are the pride and joy of our self-motivated students, Andrew [Antoniovac] and Oliver [Beaumont] as there is no digging and they enjoy putting on the compost we make, having fun as they work, planting, harvesting and learning lots," Woodford said.
"We do companion planting and vary and mix up the crops to confuse the bugs as well as leave plants to flower so they attract beneficial insects, before going to seed," she said.
Trust community co-ordinator Lynley Soper said the goal of the garden was to support families in the community by giving them the opportunity to learn how to garden and how to meet family budgets.
It was also a place for new people in the district to gather and get to know others.
"New migrants are finding our garden in Helena Street on Tuesdays between 1 and 3pm, joining in and learning not only about gardening but also developing their English language skills," Woodford said.
The group appreciated the guidance from Evan Hankey and more helpers were welcome to join Oliver and Andrew, who visited every Tuesday to help.
"At the Family Fun day in early March, organised by the trust, the free soup went down a treat, made from our garden vegetables and it was so easy to feed a crowd," Woodford said.
The garden produced a good crop of blackcurrants, raspberries and rhubarb. Perennial vegetables are a feature with jumping onions, globe and jerusalem artichokes providing variety.
This autumn the group has been rotary hoeing, putting pea straw on some areas and a green crop in others to build up the fertility over the winter.
"All our helpers are against sprays as we recognise their negative effect on bees and other beneficial insects," Woodford said. "As we harvest, the regular helpers take some vegetables home and the rest are given to people who live alone and some families, who appreciate the fresh produce."
This year has seen corn, brassicas, red onions, lettuces, climbing beans, potatoes, spaghetti squash, pumpkins and courgettes all given away, along with garlic, with some being saved to plant on the shortest day.
- The Southland Times