Community gardening

By: Dee Pignéguy

The challenge of our time is to create and maintain sustainable communities, and to that end we now have a Seed Savers group here on Whangaparaoa Peninsula with monthly meetings held at Whangaparaoa Library.  

The next meeting will be held on May 24 at 10am and will include a seed sowing demonstration. You are welcome to attend if you would like to join the group and learn about seeds in your local area, seed collecting and cleaning, and share experience with others.

Seed savers help to perpetuate and promote genetic diversity within food crops and there is an emphasis on heirloom vegetables, which are grown from seeds handed down from one generation to the next.  This is important because we have lost at least 90 percent of our vegetable cultivars since the 1920s.  

Seed saving allows us to get a wider variety of plants that are not available commercially and also grow vegetables that are adapted to conditions in our gardens that are full of the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy diet.

Many gardeners hate seeing fresh fruit go to waste when many people are unable to afford food for their families. Community Fruit Harvesting is a charity that picks unwanted fruit from backyards and orchards. Last year 420 volunteers picked 26,411kg of fruit which was donated to those in need. The organisation has a local area coordinator for the Hibiscus Coast. Val lives in Wainui and as well as picking, she is also a preserver.
 
If you would like to get involved either as a picker, or donating the fruit from your backyard trees, just email me (address above) and I will pass your details on to Val.  Together we can make a big difference – one fruit tree at a time.

And while we are talking about challenges, the local community garden in Manly needs your help. It is time to dig the kumeras and replant for the winter. But we need a small group of committed people who will come along every week and keep the garden producing. We would meet on a Saturday morning about 10am in winter and earlier in the summer. For new gardeners I will run workshops. We are also looking for someone with computer skills to keep everyone up to date with a weekly newsletter. So, if you are keen to plant and harvest seasonal vegetables just let me know via the email address above.

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