WIC Gardening Update - 12 Dec 2012

Posted 11 years, 6 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hi and ayubowan

This will be the last WIC Update for the year and my last as WIC Project Manager - I finish up next week.  What an amazing 18 months we have had!  We are looking for a WIC Coordinator to start next year - there is more information about this at the bottom of the Update.   

I heard a cicada 'singing' for the first time this week - a sound I associate with summer!  I am looking forward to spending more time in the garden over the Christmas-New Year break.  I usually get some exercise by walking to work: spending more time in the garden over the holidays will make up for this - and it will be fun!

Christmas is celebrated with a public holiday on the 25 December.  While this is a Christian festival, many non-Christians also celebrate it as a time to be with family and friends, eat special foods and to give gifts.  ESL News NZ has more information about how Christmas is celebrated in NZ. 

Some home-made gardening-related gifts are: 

  • plants grown from cuttings (started in July/mid-winter to be ready for Christmas)
  • Christmas 'tree' pea tee-pee - in a pot (as demonstrated at the Low Cost Living Expo see photo below - ideally started in spring) or a child sized project in the garden 
  • Produce that you have used in baking or preserved, such as chutney, pickles, jams...
  • seed bombs - made with clay and compost, or with paper mache (also called papier-mâché)
  • rose water or rose oil
  • lavender bags (English lavender) to help sleep and to repel insects from stored clothing.
  • pomander ball
  • If you have more time than money, why not give them a voucher giving them two hour's help in their garden?

Grandview Community Garden

If you are not a signed up Grandview Community Garden member, please do not visit the garden outside of the advertised training session hours. If you want to drop off tools or plants, or visit the garden out side of these hours, contact Clare or Tim (WIC Community Garden Mentors) and make an appointment to visit.  

We have just had an extra section of land cleared of weeds etc, so it is a great time to start a new garden plot there if you have been thinking about it! It is free to join the Grandview Community Garden and have your own plot: you can keep what you grow there, but not sell it.  Individuals, families and groups are all welcome.  We have about 70 people gardening there at the moment, representing over 14 ethnicities and all ages!

For more information contact Clare, ph 021 0387623.

Reminder: WEAVE Twilight Market

The Christmas WEAVE Twilight Market is on this Friday 14 December, 5 pm - 9 pm at Claudelands Park, Boundary Road, Hamilton.  Come along to see and taste the diversity we have in Hamilton city!

Free Healthy Cooking Class

Stephanie will be running her popular hands-on class.  This week you can learn how to cook Christmas Cake and Crispy Salty-Peppery Chicken.  Saturday 15 December 2012, 10 am - 12 noon at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre in Boundary Road.

Just turn up, no booking required - everyone is welcome! If you need more information contact Waikato Ethnic Family Services, ph 839-4688.

Reminder: Multicultural Christmas Party

Another chance to experience food from a variety of cultures at this free event - everyone is welcome!

When: Saturday 15 December 2012, 2 pm - 4 pm

Where: Waikato Migrant Resource Centre, Claudelands Park, Boundary Road.

More details and a flier are on the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre Community Events Calendar

Taro Planting Workshop

Taro is eaten daily by about 100 million people around the world! It is particularly important in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, some parts of Africa and Egypt, the West Indies, and some of South America. The whole plant is edible.  

Come along to Grandview Community Garden on Friday 21 December from 6 pm for a hands-on taro planting session.  Experienced taro growers from Samoa, Tonga and Taiwan will be showing us how.  We hope to have a mixture of varieties to look at. 

If you already grow taro, come along and share your knowledge, it would be great if you could bring any interesting varieties you grow.  Your taro recipes are welcome too! There is a sweet taro cake recipe on Ooooby from Taiwan, and a spicy savoury taro cake recipe here.

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.  

For your calendar

Our gardens do not take a holiday - this is a time where our gardens are growing fast!  So the following free sessions will be held at the Grandview Community Garden over the next few months - everyone is welcome to come along and learn! 

  • Thursday December 27, 9 am - 10.30 am, repeated Saturday December 29, 9 am - 11 am - Sow summer vegetables - plant a second crop of zucchini, cucumbers beans and tomatoes
  • Wednesday January 2, 9 am - 10.30 am, repeated  Saturday January 5, 9 am - 11 am Seed saving in the garden: new plants for free
  • Monday January 7 (To be confirmed - this date may change), 9 am - 10.30 am, repeated Saturday January 12, 9 am - 10.30 am - Growing healthy tomatoes
  • Tuesday January 15, 9 am - 10.30 am, repeated  Saturday January 19, 9 am - 11 am - Pest control - beetles and bugs
  • Monday January 21, 9 am - 10.30 am, repeated Saturday January 26, 9 am - 11 am - Water wise gardening
  • Tuesday January 29, repeated Saturday February 2 - Sowing autumn vegetables in the shade house- leeks, broccoli, onions, spinach.

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.

For more information contact Clare (ph 021 0387623), WIC Community Garden Mentor.

NZ Tree Crops Association (NZTCA) National Conference is in Hamilton next year!

The national NZTCA conference is being held at Hamilton Gardens on April 26-28, 2013.  A great Grow Your Own themed program is being offered, with top speakers from overseas and around New Zealand and some hands-on workshops.  The local branch of NZTCA is also looking for Waikato people to get involved as volunteers. There is more information on the website

Local Horticulture Courses 2013

If you would like to learn more about organic gardening, Agriculture New Zealand are running a combined Level 3 Organic Horticulture and Level 2 National Certificate Horticulture course next year.  The course will run one day a week (probably Tuesdays) during school hours for 32 weeks.  It will be held just out of Cambridge and the tutor is Burton Worth (Cook Islands) of Locavore.  The course fee is $250 for the full year. If you would like more information, contact Micky Cunningham on 0800 475 455 or 858 5322. 

If you combine the above certificate with the Plant Propagation course being offered by Agribusiness Training you can get the Level 3 National Certificate in Horticulture.  The Plant Propagation course is offered in both Te Awamutu and Hillcrest, and runs twice a month in the evening. It costs $300.  For more information contact Brent ph 0508-247-428 option 6. 

Other horticulture courses in Hamilton next year include the WINTEC program and the Hamilton Permaculture Trust's design certificate course.   

Free plants and seeds

Lance saves his own seed and has a glut.  Rather than composting them, he is offering free cauliflower seedlings as well as free bean and chilli seeds.  If you would like some, give him a call and arrange to pick some up: ph 027-487-1616.  He is based in Frankton.  (Thanks Lance!)

Harvesting Garlic

We planted garlic around the time of the shortest day in mid-winter.  Six months later on the longest day, 22 December, it is time to harvest it! 

Clare's garlic harvesting instructions are: Stop watering and feeding the garlic plants two weeks before harvest. Garlic is ready to harvest is when there are just two or three green leaves left and the rest are dead. To harvest, dig the bulbs up rather than pulling them up, being careful not to damage the outer skins.

Let them cure in a dry, shady, well ventilated location for three days eg on a table in carport. Once the  foliage is dry, clean the bulbs by wiping or peeling away the outer husk. To store your garlic bulbs, place them in mesh bags or braided strings in a dark, cool place. Garlic will keep up to three months if stored in a cool dry place.

And of course, save one bulb of garlic to plant in June 2013 for your next crop!

Sow over summer...

Clare says it often rains between Christmas day and New Year in the Waikato – bad for camping, but a good chance to sow a second crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and greens.

Watch the weather forecast and try to sow or plant just before it rains: watering is OK but rain is best!

During January/February sow trays of leeks, broccoli, cabbages, onions, lettuce in a shade house or cool shady area, for planting out in late summer/autumn.


Sweet Treats for the Holiday Season

Last week I talked about harvesting red currents: this week's Get Growing ezine has them as their 'crop of the week' with some growing tips and recipe for red current jelly.  The jelly often used to glaze (make shiny) sweet tarts, meats such as pork or the Christmas ham or turkey or chicken, or to serve along side roasted meats like lamb, or in a sandwich with cheese. 

Teresa asked for a frozen yogurt recipe: if you use strawberries and raspberries for Sanitarium's berry frozen yogurt  you will have a deep red Christmassy coloured yogurt icecream.

The simple Fruit Cake/Christmas Cake recipe published in the January 2012 newsletter is now up on Ooooby - use your foraged walnuts in it, if you have some.

Some Christmas recipes kids might enjoy helping you to decorate are:


It has been inspiring to hear how some people have been translating the WIC Gardening Update for their communities, whether it is within a family like Lucy translating it over breakfast for her husband, or the Colombian man who uses one of the online translation engines then forwards it to his Spanish speaking friends, or Fulitua who translates key information like what to plant and broadcasts it on her Crossover Kiribati radio show.  Awesome work, thank you for using your skills to help others garden too!

We have applied for some funding to get key written materials translated next year.

Expressions of Interest

Next year K’aute Pasifika Services will be looking for a WIC Coordinator to take WIC to the next stage. This will include developing a sustainable structure and funding base for WIC. Our ideal person will:

  • be passionate about organic food gardening
  • have an interest in health and fitness
  • have experience of working cross-culturally as WIC is pitched at the needs of new migrants, refugees and Pacific Islanders in the Waikato
  • have experience in the not-for-profit sector
  • have strong networking and partnership building skills
  • have strong organisational skills
  • be a funding whizz!

Initially this will be a part time position, 12 hours per week, until further funding is secured, with the potential to build up to full time.

If you are interested in this position please contact Talei at Talei@kautepasifika.org.nz or phone (07) 834-1482 and a job description will be sent to you in the New Year.

Summer Hours

Our offices here at K'aute Pasifika Services will be closed from 21 December, reopening on the 14 January 2013. The free K'aute Family Clinic will be closed from 25 December 2013 - 6 January 2013.  

We hope you have a safe, happy and delicious summer holiday season!


PS If you are going away over summer, have you arranged for someone to water your garden?

Photo: Stephanie demonstrating how to make pea tee-pees for Christmas at the Low Cost Living Expo

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