Resilient communities produce and share their own food
Why is gardening useful?
- It can reduce your food bill. Food gardening can give you access to fresh, tasty and healthy food and can also reduce your weekly shopping budget.
- It can keep you healthy. Gardening can increase your personal resilience and ensures a healthy diet regardless of your economic circumstances.
- It keeps you fit. Gardening can provide gentle exercise and is a good activity to do outside without the cost and strain of having to go to a gym.
- It's good for the environment. Maintaining a chemical free garden can enhance biodiversity and helps look after our bird and insect populations by giving them habitats.
- It's cheap. Nature doesn't need stuff from the shops to flourish. You can build a garden from recycled materials, save or swap your own seeds, propagate your own plants and make your own compost and fertiliser.
- It's good for your mental health. Gardening is creative and helps you connect with nature's beauty in a peaceful environment. It gives you the satisfaction of nurturing and caring for something.
- It can inspire others. When you are able to gift a bunch of flowers to a friend, or share kai you have grown, it may inspire others.
There are some great nationwide initiatives that support this kaupapa:
Crop Swap Aotearoa: brings together backyard gardeners, home bakers and food foragers for swapping and sharing high quality local food on a regular basis: For more info on Crop Swap Aotearoa:
We have a crop swap based at Volcano Vibe Collective in Raetihi. Contact Barbara on 027 829 8973
Community Fruit Harvesting: We hate seeing fresh fruit go to waste when many people are unable to afford food for their families. Community Fruit Harvesting is a community group that picks unwanted fruit from backyards and orchards around New Zealand and shares it with those in need. See Pickfruit.co.nz
No Dig Gardening
No dig gardening is:
- A soil building exercise that creates rich deep fertile soil,
- Easy to set up and requires very little ongoing maintenance,
- A way to recycle kitchen scraps and garden waste,
- Able to be built in a raised garden bed, on the bare ground or in a container,
- Water efficient.
A no dig garden' follows simple natural processes of soil building, called deposition and decomposition. A variety of organic materials is laid down by the gardener in layers, lasagne style'. The materials can vary based on availability, but consist of alternating, successive layers of brown' (carbon-rich) and green' (nitrogen-rich) material. The material breaks down to form organic humus - the perfect growing medium!
How to build a no-dig garden:
1. Gather a pile of carbon and a pile of nitrogen
|Paper, Newspaper, Cardboard||Fresh grass clippings|
|Hay||Fresh vege scraps|
|Dried grass clippings||Green leaves|
|Dried Ponga fronds||Blood and bone|
|Straw or Pea straw|
|Chip mulch (small, woody)|
2. Prepare the area - if it is grassy trample the grass; if there are invasive weeds dig them out
3. Completely cover the prepared area with wet cardboard or newspaper or carpet.
4. Then lay a thick layer of carbon, followed by a thinner layer of nitrogen and so on until you are 20cm above the edge of your garden bed. Water every layer well.
5. Make the last layer carbon.
6. Add a layer of compost to plant into immediately if you wish, OR leave out and cover the stack with sacks or an old sheet and leave it for about 8 weeks to break down a bit.