Join our Board of Trustees

Christchurch South Community Gardens Trust are looking for volunteers to join their Board.  A few positions are available to grow a mix of skills. No prior experience is necessary, just a willingness to get involved.

As a board member you will join as one of approx 70 volunteers who maintain our garden and 4 other board members. There is a wealth of talent and energy given to the trust and the community gardens on a daily basis – from gardening and pickling to landscaping and building.

Some volunteers contribute their time independently several times each week, others come occasionally, as part of a group, or supported by a social service provider. There is a niche and a role for everyone at the gardens.

Responsibilities
Input includes one meeting per month plus other committee work as able. In return you’ll be part of a productive, active community development project, helping us to support a sustainable neighbourhood.

Areas of involvement could include:
– Public Relations
– Policy Development
– Not For Profit Business Planning
– Human Resource Support
– Fundraising
– Community Networking and Education
– Promotion of Neighbourhood Sustainability
– Social Media
– General Governance
– Building and Gardening

—–
Our mission

To develop a resource for the Christchurch community that actively supports a sustainable neighbourhood and enhances social well-being through participation in a neighbourhood community garden..

Core values of the CSCGT

– Food Security & Health Promotion
– Neighbourhood Sustainability & Education
– Beautification of the Environment & Waste Minimisation
– Promotion of Community Development & Social Wellbeing
– Enhancing cultural understandingPositions are available on our Board of Trustees

Job Types: Part-time, Volunteer

 

What’s happening in May 2019?

So far this Autumn soil temperatures have been higher than last year reflecting the mild weather, so it’s still not too late to plant some greens, especially the Chinese style Pak Choy. The cooler weather reduces its tendency to bolt. Time is rapidly running out for cabbages and caulis though, as there is a risk that the onset of cooler temperatures will stop their growth. We are busy mulching around our brassicas, with a side dressing of blood and bone and also a little bit of lime. The mulch keeps the weeds down and the soil temperatures up.

We are harvesting our pumpkins. This year we tried some Austrian Oil Seed pumpkins which are grown specifically for their seed, although the flesh is also edible. We have also just completed harvesting the last of the quinces and they have produced an excellent crop this year. All the garden volunteers have taken some home. This year we pulled all the second flush of figs off our fig tree as they will not have time to develop fully before Winter and we hope that doing this will produce a really good first flush next season.

On the planting front, celery plants will go in this month and we also will be trialing some early snow peas. Spring onions can be sown at any time of year as can baby gem lettuce. In the glasshouse we will be planting sweet pea seeds in punnets ready for an early start in spring. On the corner section we have some Blackcurrant bushes to go in as they do very well there.

As usual there is so much to do. Weeding, especially the noxious  oxalis is constant as is the general maintenance required to keep the garden productive.

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING ? ~ AUTUMN 2019 ~ Our 20th Anniversary in the Community – see our events page for more info

While we attempt to recover from the shock of recent events,  the Autumn garden calls. It is a welcome call – working quietly in the garden is comforting. It is important we continue planting the last of the leafy greens before the soil temperatures drop.  Plants going into winter need to be as big as possible ( but not going to seed) as growth will slow down from now until August. The objective is to have big  luscious leaves for winter so don’t be tempted to pick the leaves too soon. We are planting  pak choi, silverbeet, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.

It is a good time to repot plants, check for disease and make compost to stock pile for spring.  We are also preparing to make our annual batch of organic spray and have cleaned up our glasshouse first with vinegar – then with baking soda to protect against disease during the colder months. We are especially proud of our peaches, date palms and olive trees – all grown from stones and pits.  Date palms can make elegant pot plants under cover in a sunny space or  in a frost free area of your garden. Dry the pits from fresh dates on newspaper then plant  on a sandy soil mix in a deep tub, cover with more soil and place in a protected area / glasshouse. Dates are very slow growing and may take  up to one year to emerge – so don’t give up too soon and take care not to over water – they prefer to be a bit dry.

We hope you can join us in a few weeks at our Community Garden Autumn Market day – April 13th –  188 Strickland St, Sydenham

 

For more information Contact: Christine Blance:   info@cscommunitygardens.net.nz

 

 

What’s happening in August 2018?

Every day in the Weather section of The Press you can find the soil temperature. The best guide for gardeners is the 10cm reading. This has been showing a pleasing upward trend recently so we have taken the plunge and planted an early variety of new potatoes at our St Martins site. We used Cliff’s Kidneys. Six weeks from now these will be followed by Maris Anchor and Agria. One of our volunteers, Ted, has also decided to try out the warming ground and has planted all the thinnings from his radish plants at home into one of the beds at Strickland St. So far they are looking very healthy. Christine is a fan of Daikon radish which she incorporates into pickles and also Kimchi, and has used this technique to increase the yield of this variety. The method could also be used with Beetroot seedlings as the ground is warming up.

Planting out of Silver beet has begun as well as  broccoli and cabbage. The last of the carrots have been harvested and the bed for the new crop is being prepared. This involves digging in the green crop of marigolds (tagites) and mustard which will deter the pesky carrot flies from laying their eggs

Maintenance work continues. Pruning is just about completed, which is timely as blossom is beginning to appear on the plum trees, and we are stringing the broad beans. The birds have been into our pea sowings so now they are protected by chicken wire guards. The St Martins site has benefited from a lot of work and is  looking good. It yielded a fine crop of pumpkins this year and also seems to be a great spot for growing chili peppers. Also benefiting from some TLC is the Beckenham site which has had lots of bark spread over the paths to freshen them up. In last months blog I incorrectly stated that the bark was donated by City Care. In fact it was given by Beaver Tree Services, so a belated thank you and apology to them. Some of the bark has also been layered into our compost heaps.

We have been disposing of surplus items via the Freecycle network This is a great way to give away items which are of no further use to you but are too good to go to the dump, or conversely, to pick up items which may be useful. It’s all done via email and is easy to use. Just go to https://my.freecycle.org/ for more details.

Emma from Canterbury University has been progressing our Human Activity in Gardening research project by assessing tasks for their suitability in improving balance, load bearing and cardio fitness. Christine and Anna presented the results so far to the last Public Health Association conference earlier this year and this project is ongoing. Emma’s time with us is coming to an end so we thank her for her work and wish her well in her future studies.

Happy Gardening.

What”s happening in July 2018?

Halfway through July already and it’s peas and beans and peas and beans and….! However, lots of other stuff is happening as well. Volunteer Ted has been hard at work with the pruning shears and has completed most of the accessible fruit trees with just a few of the larger ones still to do. The object is to maintain crop levels whilst keeping them to a height which makes harvesting easily manageable. Our peach, quince, apple and apricot trees have all benefited from Ted’s expertise. Also undergoing pruning are our currant bushes. The three colours we have; red, black and white, all require different approaches to pruning. The white ones look and taste terrific in jams and jellies.

On the same theme, all herbaceous perennials are being cut back and compost spread around. We are also spreading shredded branches and bark ( donated by City Care ) on the small orchard  we are developing as a neighbourhood resource.

We are presently dusting all our vacant beds with lime . A light dusting only as the soil is best kept slightly acidic. We will work it into the ground and leave for a month before early planting begins in August.

Potting up and pricking out will continue through July. This will give us a good supply of plants ready for sale in our Spring Market Day on October 6th. We’ve already completed  lots of beautiful daffodils and these will be flowering from September.

We have had an excellent crop of Jerusalem Artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus). Despite the similarity in name, this is a completely different plant to the Globe Artichoke (Cyanara cardunculus var scolymus) which is a type of thistle. They seem to be hard to find in retail outlets so if you like them call in and pick some up.  ($5 per kilo ). They are a bit sweeter than potatoes and go well in a winter soup. Christine is experimenting with fermenting the tubers and also pickling.

What’s happening in June 2018?

Neil Young wrote “Rust never sleeps”.  Swap “A garden” for “rust” and it sums up nicely the situation in June. We have started harvesting Jerusalem Artichokes. kale, carrots and yams and will be preparing for the Winter Market day on June 23rd with lots of punnets of pea plants and broad bean plants ready for sale. There will also be kale and silver beet seedlings as well as lots of flowering perennials and bulbs such as jonquils and mixed daffodils. Come along and have a look around. 10am until 2.00pm

Jerusalem artichokes do not store well and are best left in the ground if you don’t intend to use them immediately. They can be pickled and are crunchy and delicious when the pickling is done with fresh tubers. They also make a great soup (look out for our recipe for JA and potato soup – coming soon).

Volunteer Darren and Alan have started re-aligning the edges of the garden beds to create better manoeuvrability for the lawn mower and this will continue through the month. They are also taking the opportunity to have a general tidy up. It’s a good time to see the structure of a garden  which means it’s also a good time to attend to the hard landscaping.

Our new plant display stand is nearing completion and will replace the old one this month. If you have visited the garden recently you will have noticed that the existing stand has reached its “end of life” stage.

There will be no let up in the green waste recycling programme during the Winter, although the lower temperatures mean the compost heaps need less turning than they do in warmer weather. If you have no physical space to dispose of your kitchen scraps by making your own compost or perhaps burying them, we would love you to use this service. One estimate has each household generating an average of 5kg of kitchen waste per week, and putting them into the red bin is a waste of a valuable resource. The green bin option means either a small fraction of the bin’s capacity is used each week or accumulating a bin full of putrefying, smelly scraps. Our service is free and easy to use. If you do have some space and want to set up your own composting system, but are unsure how to go about it, come along on a Saturday and get some free advice.

The new cycle way along Antigua St has opened and whether by coincidence or not (we suspect not ) our takings have suffered a big drop. It’s more difficult to park near us now and the effect has been quite dramatic. All you cyclists (of which I am one), take the opportunity to pick up some fresh produce as you cruise by. You can pick your own, although we’d like you to ask a volunteer if you’re after some root crops.

Apple tree pruning has been completed, dahlias have been cut back and potted up and pumpkins have all been harvested. At our St Martins site tyre stacks will be constructed and filled with compost this month in readiness for new potato planting in July. There will be lots of work done at the Beckenham site ; weeding, cutting back, edge tidying etc.  Volunteers are always welcome.

It’s not long until the shortest day, so stay warm and good gardening.

What’s happening in May 2018?

The weather in Christchurch continues to be mild, with no frosts as yet. Climate change, climate disruption or climate chaos; take your pick for a name, but the reality becomes more apparent every year. At the gardens the immediate effect is that this lack of frost has resulted in our pumpkins not developing skins hard enough for long term storage. We will have to be careful to store them in a cool dry place with sacks under and between each pumpkin so that they don’t contact each other and start to rot.

We will be utilising the mild weather to plant more brassicas, leeks, spinach, spring onions and silver beet. The days and nights are cooler but the soil temperature is still high enough for these crops to get a good start. Our first plantings of broad beans have emerged and we will continue succession planting until August. Peas will also go in this month.

We have had good results with our peach seedlings grown from stones. These will be potted up this month. This method works well with peaches but is less successful with apricots, plums and other stone fruits.  All our fruit trees will be pruned this month.

Other seedlings under way are Kale and broad beans. These are being grown on in the glass house and will be available for sale in punnets at our next Market Day on June 23rd. Preparations for this will be going on throughout May, but produce is available at any time at Strickland St. (except for the delicious baking, which we only roll out on Market Days )

Also available at will be Dahlia bulbs. These will be dug up and potted up this month ready for sale. We are quite proud of our Dahlias; currently we raise 12 different varieties, and very lovely they are when in flower.

The war on weeds and oxalis is ongoing and there will be no letup in May.

St Mary’s Church in Addington delivered a load of leaves early in the month and these have gone into the bay reserved for leaves in our compost bins. Sheep manure and a dash of lime will be added and the result in a few months will be a lovely mulch.

What’s happening in April 2018?

It was a beautiful day on Easter Saturday when we held our Autumn Market Day and thanks to all who came along to Strickland St to have a look around or to buy. Thanks also to the volunteers whose efforts make it happen.

It has been a bountiful season for pickles, so we will be busy making more and plan to hold a “mini market day” on the 14th April to offer these delicious treats for sale.

It has been a very mild Autumn ; according to the met service the warmest start to a year since records began. Consequently aphids and white fly are still a problem, so much so that Christine will be making up another batch of our organic spray and blasting the critters. She will also be running a demonstration on how to make it during the mini market day on the 14th at around 11am. If the weather stays mild we can also expect a lot of diseases such as powdery mildew in the spring. On the plus side, we will take advantage of  the mild weather to plant our spinach, silver beet and other leafy greens. It also makes mulching easier so we will be doing lots of this to keep the weeds down and hopefully keep the soil temperature just a little raised.

Some of our beds will be planted with a green manure crop this month. We will use a mixture of French Marigold (Tagetes) and mustard which will then be dug in before planting broad beans. We have also used barley, and for Nitrogen fixing, blue lupin.

We are still harvesting crab apples and quinces, so jellies made from these are still emerging from the kitchen. The Feijoa tree also has some nice big fruit left.

2018 Autumn Market Day – Saturday March 31st 10-1pm

Christchurch South Community Gardens

2018 Autumn Market Day 

Saturday March 31st ( Easter Saturday) 

10-1pm   ~~ 188 Strickland St, Sydenham

PLANTS – PRODUCE – PRESERVES – BAKING – HOT SOUP – BOOKS – POSTERS

LEARN ABOUT WHAT WE DO & WHY COMMUNITY GARDENS ARE IMPORTANT

 SIGN UP AS A VOLUNTEER ~ WIN A BASKET OF PICKLES 

– CONTRIBUTE TO NEIGHBOURHOOD SUSTAINABILITY  

What’s happening in March 2018?

This month is mostly about Picking, Preserving and Pickling. especially our crops of tomatoes and zucchinis.The tomatoes will go straight into the freezer to be used later for soups. Any green ones will be the basis of our delicious green tomato and pineapple relish. Zucchinis don’t freeze well so they are bound for the pickling pot. All the tomato plants will then be removed in order to prepare the beds for planting broad beans. We usually leave the ground fallow for a while but sometimes plant a crop of a light leafy green feeder such as lettuce or spinach. It’s probably too late for any new planting of carrots, but the ones we put in earlier are doing well

We have harvested a large quantity of apples and these will be stewed and then bottled or frozen. Some will be made into apple and mint chutney. Despite the trees looking very healthy, it has not been a good stone fruit season for us this year, especially the plums. We possibly pruned a little too hard last year. Our Grapes, however, have produced a bumper crop, as have the quince trees. Slow roasted with honey is a great way to use these as well as the traditional jams and jellies.

The NZ cranberry bushes (not a native despite its name) are ready to be picked and we are thinking up ways to use the berries. They taste a little like  (their relative ) guavas but with a hint of strawberry.

We have discovered rust on our peach seedlings and trees so they will all be sprayed with lime sulphur. We have researched this chemical and are satisfied that it fulfills the requirements of organic gardening. Apricots do not like it however.

March is a good month for planting silver beet and also the last of the winter brassicas will be put in after the ground has had blood and bone and sheep manure applied.

What’s happening in February 2018?

The summer harvest has begun! Zucchinis, tomatoes. french and dwarf climbing beans are all flourishing, so much so that Blue has been demonstrating his cherished “bean machine” which slices up the beans ready for cooking or freezing. The summer bounty also means that room has to be made in the freezers, so plum sauce production is under way using the plums which were frozen last year. The hot weather makes this a job for the dedicated.

The plentiful crops also means that we are getting good donations as local people take advantage of the fresh organic produce. This helps enormously with our running costs throughout the rest of the year.

The hot weather combined with a bit of rain has accelerated weed growth. We are putting convulvulus, oxalis and twitch into the green bin, NOT our compost bin. The City Council processes the material collected in the green bins at a high temperature and this will kill these invasive weeds whereas a normal composting process seldom reaches sufficiently high temperatures to do so.

Planting for Autumn and Winter crops is already underway. Early broccoli has gone in and the last carrots will be planted soon. Parsnips germinate well in hot weather so we will try a bed of these also. Brassica, silver-beet and other winter crop seedlings are all being readied. Cabbage white butterfly is a problem but they can be controlled with a home made spray (see our recipe below) or a safe manufactured spray such as Nature’s Way Pyrethrum. If you are not sure what compounds can be used in organic growing check the BioGroNZ website.

Our glasshouse has been cleared and cleaned with a baking soda solution as a fungicide, followed by vinegar.

February is a good time to sort and dry flowering bulbs ready for planting out in March or April. We will have lots of a fragrant jonquil called “Earli Cheer” for sale in the Autumn, so make sure to come down to our market day if you’re interested in these.

Organic Spray Recipe

Use  leaves of any of the following plants

  • Wormwood
  • Rhubarb
  • Feverfew
  • Tansy
  • Garlic( include bulbs)
  • Shoofly ( Nicandra physaloides)
  • Costemary
  • Pyrethrum

Cram leaves into a large pan and fill with water – use this pan only for home made sprays.

Heat, bring to boil and simmer for 2 hrs on an outside cooking surface – e.g. BBQ

Do not do this inside – the fumes are toxic – keep children and pets away.

Cool and strain through a sieve then tea towel.

Concentrate the liquid again by boiling for a further 1 hr.

Cool, bottle and add I tspn of organic laundry liquid before capping.

The laundry liquid will help the spray stick to the plant more effectively.

Use 1 cup/5litre watering can of tepid – warm water

What’s happening in December 2017?

Our Summer Market Day is being held on Saturday 9th December from 10am until 2pm. All the usual good stuff will be on offer: plants, produce, baking, preserves etc. In addition, local resident Neil will be bringing along his collection of renovated bicycles . A good range of bikes will be for sale; children’s and adult sizes.

Our Pea crop has finished but the second crop of Broad Beans is ready for harvesting. We are using Crimson Hughey which is a new variety with beautiful maroon flowers. It is cropping well so we will probably use it again.

It’s the time of year when watering is crucial and we need volunteers to help with our watering roster over the next month or two. If you would like to help come along to the market day and sign up to the roster. Sprinkler theft makes setting up the roster a little more difficult. Each year we lose two or three sprinklers, with an occasional hose going too. Given the hot weather we’ve been experiencing early in the summer the possibility of water restrictions is looming. At the gardens we have 3 big plastic barrels which are kept full of water. If restrictions are applied we can then use their contents with a watering can. If you do the same at home, make sure your barrel has a secure top to keep out mozzies and stop infants falling in.

Tomato training is in progress. Some of our volunteers are not at all certain about how to go about this so Christine will probably run a workshop in January. If you’d like to join in call in and talk to her.

Light summer pruning of our grapevine will be done this month. If you have a vine at home we suggest you prune to the last two or three leaves beyond the last developing bunch. This will give a much improved crop.

Have a great Christmas.

Summer Market Day 2017

SUMMER MARKET DAY 2017

Saturday 9th December 10am – 1pm

CHRISTCHURCH SOUTH COMMUNITY GARDENS

188 Strickland Street, Sydenham

Plants, Produce, Preserves, Baking

Looking forward to seeing you here on the day – volunteers needed for summer watering roster

Enquiries: Ph. 9426630 ( Christchurch South Community Gardens Resource Centre)

Good Quality Second – Hand Bikes For Sale On The Day 

What’s happening this month? November 2017

November is almost half gone already and the gardens are beginning to yield their bounty.

Sweet eating peas are ready for picking as are the fragrant sweet peas.  The Cavolo Nero is looking spectacular and is also ready to eat. It makes a great dip. Mix natural yoghurt, tahini, just cooked peas, a sprig of mint and the cavolo nero with the centre part of the leaf removed and run through the blender.

We are planting tomatoes, potatoes (at our site in St Martins) carrots and pumpkins. We will be planting for succession crops right through until February. It is also time to start thinking about what to sow in the Autumn for Winter yield, with an eye to crop rotation. Usually the brassicas  (cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli) go in then.

Show weekend is the traditional time when all danger of frost has passed and we will wait until then before putting in French Beans. It’s also now too warm for Bok Choy as it tends to bolt in the warmer temperatures.

The starlings nesting in the kitchen extractor fan have successfully hatched their eggs and are now extremely busy bringing food to the chicks. It wont be long before they are fledged and then we can use the fan again.

Elderflowers are out and Christine is busy making elderflower cordial. If you haven’t tried it grab a bottle at one of our market days or call in to Strickland St. It’s delicious with ice on a hot day.

We will be at the St Mary’s Fair in Church Square Addington on the 25th November. It’s a lovely old church and the fair is always fun, so come along and have a look around.

What’s happening this month? October 2017

Our Big Spring Market Day is on Saturday 14th October from 10.00am until 2.00pm, rain or shine. All the usual plants, produce and preserves will be available as well as hot soup, sausages and delicious baking.

The soil temperature is still a little low for our tomatoes, cucubits and pumpkins so they will stay in the warmth of the glasshouse a while longer. We shall be preparing the ground for these with lots of good rich compost.

Our Lemon Tree has some black mildew on it so it will be sprayed with our wormwood based spray which we make at the gardens. A little bit of baking soda is added and it is very effective. Wormwood (Artemisia Absinthium) is a herb which has long been used for its medicinal properties. Our fruit trees will also get a blast of spray after the fruit has set.

Plenty of rain, good soil temperatures and warmer air temperatures have produced good growth in the crops we already have in the ground and unless we have a late frost or hailstorm (like we had in December last year) everything should be going great guns this month.

Our Carrots will be going when the soil temperature reaches 15 oC (hopefully later this month). Normally these are preceded by a crop of mustard which is usually sufficient to keep away carrot fly when they are on the wing.

Both the glass house and shade house are full of seedlings ready to be pricked out, so that will be ongoing work this month, allowing us to be ready for the usual upswing in demand from the community which occurs in spring.

 

BIG SPRING MARKET DAY Saturday Oct 14th

2017 BIG SPRING MARKET DAY

SATURDAY OCTOBER 14TH – 10AM – 1PM

AT THE GARDENS ~ 188 Strickland Street, Sydenham, ChCh

Come along for plants, produce, preserves , delicious baked goods
heirloom tomato plants for sale
good variety of pumpkin, squash , zucchini
cold drinks – Try our plum & lemon verbena cordial
Lucky visitor pickle basket prize
☼☻☼
Enquiries: Ph. 9426630 ( Christine / office)

What’s happening in September 2017?

Little Spring Market Day. This is on Saturday 2nd September, 10.00am to 1.00pm,  and preparations are complete. As usual there will be plants, produce and delicious baking for sale. We are hoping the weather will be fine and lots of people come along to sample what the Gardens have to offer.

Our Tomato seedlings are doing well in the glasshouse, but there is still the danger of frost so we will be taking great care with them.

Christine measured the soil temperature at 8 degrees C this week which is warm enough for radishes of all kinds and also beetroot, so these will be going in this month. Still too early for carrots though.

The New Raised Yam Bed is well underway using the recycled concrete fire hydrants.  The bed will be ready but there will be no planting this month as it’s still a bit early.

Asian Greens will be planted in September as they respond well in the cooler temperatures of early Spring.

Spring brassicas will also be going in this month but it’s still a bit early for frost tender varieties.

Ongoing work in September will include weeding – the warming temperatures are spurring rapid weed growth – transplanting seedlings and preparing beds.

We have 3 more Market Days before the end of the year so keep an eye on our Facebook page and this site for advance notice.