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Monday, July 27, 2015

Some changes to communal gardening at the West Brunswick Community Garden

Our Board and Organising Committee have agreed to slightly change the way we approach the communal growing areas of our garden. Below we'll explain what the changes are, why we're making them and what they mean.

First a bit of background. Our garden’s communal growing areas include:

  • the two large growing beds (along the West and North fences)
  • the two long, skinny, raised beds near the greenhouse
  • the spaces around the inside of the garden fence (perimeter)
  • the ground cover plantings and fruit tree beds in the Food Forest
  • Triangle herb bed near the north gate

Here's a map showing them all (in purple).

Communal gardening has been an important part of the West Brunswick Community Garden since the garden re-established in 2012. We’ve created various ways and spaces to garden together to help people meet and connect, pursue their interests, and to enable more people to garden (with communal gardening areas, you can get started - you don't have to join a waiting list as you do for individual plots). Gardeners can learn together from more experienced gardeners or from those with different gardening traditions, and people can participate casually, when life allows.

All our communal growing areas are managed by small groups of volunteers who work out what people want to grow and plant, and plan for that to happen. They are organised seasonally for propagation, planting, pruning, mulching etc (rather than everyone planting things wherever they like). To find out how to get involved with communal gardening join us at a working bee on the second or fourth Sunday of any month or get in touch.

What are the changes?

  • Plot holders no longer need to pay an additional fee to be part of communal gardening activities, only the normal annual membership plus the relevant individual plot fee. Other non-plot-holder gardening members still pay a contribution of $40 each year (concession card holders pay what you can - we suggest $25) 
  • All garden members (including plot holders) who participate in communal gardening tasks can harvest from communal growing areas
  • There will no longer be separate groups for the communal veggie beds and the Food Forest. Instead think of these as activities. You might be interested in fruit trees rather than annual vegetables, for example, so you can join in with Food Forest activities.

Why are we doing this?

  • We believe that this'll make our garden feel even more like a community. 
  • It'll make membership and structure simpler to understand and manage, and bring us together more often. 
  • Gardeners will be able to learn from each other and share information more readily as we work together

What does this mean?

  • Key volunteers (or small groups) will still take on regular tasks or roles, such as compost management, planning propagation and planting, watering, communications, rosters, shed management, OH&S etc.
  • We can all discuss issues that affect any of the communal gardening areas at our monthly Garden & Gather events and annual brainstorming sessions to generate ideas and priorities – so we’ll work things out together.
  • There is a working bee on the second Sunday of each month to look after the large communal growing beds. The tasks are planned by communal gardening volunteers.
  • Seasonal, substantial or special tasks and activities that need doing in any communal growing areas can be done at our Garden & Gathers or other working bees
  • Larger events to carry out major seasonal tasks, such as pruning of fruit trees, will be co-ordinated by the Organising Committee as always.

Of course if you have any thoughts on this please we'd love to hear them so get in touch by emailing us or talk to a member of the organising committee at the garden.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What to plant in July

Hope you've had a chance to get out in the winter sunshine, it's shaping up to be very cold over the next few days.

It can be hard to get some seeds going in colder weather, but if you're a member you can use the greenhouse at the West Brunswick Community Garden. If you don't want to try sowing seed, there are plenty of seedlings around now to get your winter garden off to a strong start. Here are a few things you can try:
  • Bok choy
  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Chicory 
  • Endive
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard greens
  • Onion
  • Pak choy 
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Rocket
  • Shallots
  • Silverbeet or ruby/rainbow chard
  • Tatsoi

You can also plant tubers of Jerusalem artichokes, crowns of asparagus and rhubarb, and you'll find strawberry runners and seed potatoes in the nurseries now. It's probably getting too late for the standard varieties of broccoli and cauliflower, but you can find green and purple varieties of 'sprouting broccoli' that grow more quickly and provide lots of small tender heads,  as well as year-round cauliflowers.

The odd frost is hard on flowering peas and the tender young shoots of potatoes (and on gardeners' fingertips and ears), so choose your position for these carefully or be prepared to cover them on frosty nights. A good layer of mulch such as pea straw or lucerne hay can help keep the soil warmer too. On the other hand, a good crunchy freeze is excellent news for Brussels sprouts and kale. It's all swings and roundabouts in the winter garden.

- Kelly

Seed saving group starting at West Brunswick Community Garden

We've started a seed bank and seed saving group at the West Brunswick Community Garden and you're invited to join.

We are looking at saving and stocking locally grown and heritage seeds for the use of the garden and members. Seeds from plants grown in the garden or in the area can be kept for growing more plants next season.

Although seeds come at any time to the garden through member's donations or Communal Crew gardening, the seed saving group meets during the second Sunday of every month at the WBCG, during the communal working bee. On this day, we collect seeds if available, process them and pack them, and check the stock. Activities might include seasonal sowing.

Seed saving is a restful and meditative group activity, where we learn about self-sufficiency and chat around a cup of tea while our hands are busy. Anyone can join the group for updates and participate as much as they want, even dropping in during Communal Crew.

If you or someone you know saves seeds or would like to learn how, why not join the group? You can send us emails on and join the email list to stay in touch.

We will be setting up a facebook group sometimes soon but if you are not on facebook and wish to receive email updates, let us know on the email address above.

Talk to you soon,

- Juliette from the Seed Savers Group

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What's on in July

Obviously if you're a member, you can visit the garden at your leisure but we have times each month when garden organisers will be there to help show your around and answer questions.

Friday meetups attract a regular crowd and are a good opportunity to garden in company and learn a few things.

Here are the times people will be down at the garden this month.

Fri 10th July 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 12th July 10am-12noon – Communal Crew working bee **
Fri 17th July 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sat 18th July - 11am-12.30pm - Garden in company
Sun 19th July - 2-4pm - Garden in company
Fri 24th July 10ish - Friday Meetup **
Sun 26th July 11am-3pm - Garden & Gather and Food Swap **
Fri 31st July 10ish - Friday Meetup **

Sessions marked with ** will have someone who can provide advice and direction on Communal Crew activities.

If there's a time you're available to spend time at the garden and you want company, let us know.