As Ponsonby News hits our mailboxes in July the Matariki star cluster is high in the sky and we are half way through a month-long celebration marking the beginning of the new year in Maori culture. Also known as Pleiades or The Seven Sisters, Matariki coincides with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere.
As a significant part of Matariki is preparation for planting and a time to give thanks it is a good time to check in on what volunteers are up to at our local community gardens. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
At the Wilton Street Community Garden the gardeners have put in the winter crops of broad beans, broccoli, cauliflower, leeks, beetroots and garlic. To their delight the fruit trees given by the Mt Eden Village People as part of the Fruit Trees for Auckland project last spring have not only survived the hot summer, but have fruit and orange bloom.
With the rains and cooler temperatures the compost is breaking down much slower, but please keep dropping off your organic waste as it is essential to the vitality of the garden. To volunteer at the garden email firstname.lastname@example.org or pop by on Sunday mornings from 10am.
The Grey Lynn Community Garden is tucked away behind the St Columba church hall. Growing certainly slows down in these winter months but even so, volunteers at the garden have managed to plant many winter crops.
The garden is communally cared for by a bunch of keen gardening volunteers, made up of both experienced gardeners and those learning the ropes. The GLC Gardens are always looking for new volunteers to help out – there is a small group gardening on Tuesday mornings and another group that works on Saturday mornings. Visit their Facebook page or email GreyLynnCG@groupspaces.comto find out more.
The Ponsonby Brownies started a small edible garden next to the Freemans Bay Community Hall last year. Recently they secured funding from the Waitemata Local Board to expand the garden, and held a community open day and working bee. To find out more about the Freemans Bay Community Garden, email email@example.com.
The original objective of organic growing at Kelmarna Organic Gardens, started over 30 years ago, still holds strong in this tranquil and beautiful green space by Coxs Bay. There are also bee hives, grazing cows, chickens and a more recent arrival – Jafa the pony. Visitors are welcome all year round. The secretary of the Kelmarna Trust, Mary Paul, can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org
For all of the farmers of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market, Matariki and the winter solstice signifies a period of dormancy, of rebuilding the soil, of rest, and of preparation. Sarah the market manager has recently visited our local growers and reported on the market website www.glfm.co.nz what this time of year means to them. The GLFM newsletter is also a great way to keep up to date with the changing seasons as it provides regular updates on the produce and award winning artisan food available at the market.
Published in the July edition of Ponsonby News
Note that since this was published the Wilton Street community garden is unable to accept compost.