WIC Gardening Update 3 Oct 2012

Posted 11 years, 8 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello & kam na mauri 

Are you busy trying to keep children busy over the school holidays? Why not get them involved in making plant markers for your pots and garden?

Kings Seeds had a blog on plant markers from made from recycled silver spoons.  People who read the blog gave lots of other creative ideas for making plant labels, some suitable for children to make.

Another label option is to write on wooden pegs, clipping them to punnets and pots.   Write the plant name and the date it was planted - it is easy to forget.  Use this information with seed packets, plant catalogues etc, that tell you how long it is likely to take for the seed to germinate (sprout) and how long it will take to mature (be ready to eat). 

Labelling your plants helps to stop your plants being accidentally pulled out as weeds - especially if you are sharing your garden with other people!

Writing done in soft pencil will last much longer under our strong NZ sun than writing done in pen.

Reminder: Insects in your garden

Which insects are good and which are bad? How do you control garden pests the organic way? Come and see at one of these hands-on WIC sessions on spring garden pest control at the Grandview Community Garden:

  • Friday 5 October 6-7 pm
  • Wednesday 10 October 10-11 am.

Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd (look for the WIC banner). Bus route number 8 (Frankton), cycle parking by the shed or park cars on Grandview Road.

Get in touch if you have any questions Clare ph 021 0387623 and Tim ph 021 2243109, the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

All welcome!

As always, if you need a translator, we are happy to try and arrange one  but please let us know at least two days before the event.

Bees are important for growing many fruits and vegetables.  John was telling me he has hardly any bees in his garden.   Like many of us, bees do not like going out in wet, cold or very windy weather.  

Try to have something flowering in your garden all year round so that bees have food.  I have a native hebe in my garden which is flowering at the moment - you can hear it humming due to all the bees visiting it! 

FREE Healthy Cooking Classes 

Experienced cooking tutors and WIC members Stephanie (Taiwan) and Soti (Iran/Cyprus) will be taking turns teaching healthy cooking every Saturday, 10 am - 12 noon at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre kitchen in Boundary Road, Hamilton.   These are hands-on classes, you get to help make the food and taste the results!

This Saturday, Stephanie will be showing you how to make a vegetable curry and an easy banana cake - yum!

Everyone is welcome!  Just turn up, no bookings required.

If you need more information contact Waikato Ethnic Family Services, ph 839 4688.

Making Garden Structures

Get ready for beans, tomatoes and other climbing summer veges by making stakes, ties and frames. Join us in the Grandview Community Garden.

All Welcome!

When: Monday 15 Oct, 10 am - 12.00 noon.

Where: Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd (look for the WIC banner). Bus route number 8 (Frankton), cycle parking by the shed or park cars on Grandview Road.

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623) or Tim (ph 021 2243109), the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

USO Bike Tour - cancer awareness

Staying fit, eating healthy food including plenty of vegetables, avoiding getting sunburnt and not smoking can help to prevent many cancers, but it is still important to get checked.  Having cancer is not an automatic death sentence: most cancers can be treated, especially if they are caught early.

Whatever the type of cancer, including testicular, prostate or bowel cancer, Pacific Island and Maori men feature poorly in NZ health statistics.  

Sometimes our cultural traditions make it hard for us to seek medical help about the parts of our body we think of as private: in the case of cancer, this can mean death.  

Health professionals such as doctors are required to keep what you tell them confidential (private).  Translation can be done for free using the telephone, just ask: the translator is also required to forget (keep private) what you say once the conversation is over. 

After losing his father to cancer, Chris Te'o was inspired to cycle the length of NZ to encourage men to get checked for cancer - see the web site for a video about the journey.  This year he is travelling with ten Pacific and Maori men and the support of the Cancer Society of NZ.  The aim is not to raise money, but to encourage people, particularly Pacific Island and Maori men, to get themselves checked for cancer. 

"Uso" is a Samoan word meaning "brother".  You can hear Chris speak when they visit Hamilton on Thursday 16 October, 6:30 pm at the Waikato Migrant Centre, Boundary Road, Claudelands, Hamilton.  All welcome! 

The Cancer Society has a list of important warning signs you should get checked with a health professionalLast week I mentioned skin cancer (melanoma). Maoi, one of the nurses here, has said that many people don't realise that you can still get skin cancer on parts of the body you don't show to the sun. 

K'aute Pasifika Services will have some nurses at the USO Bike Tour visit, so you can  get any moles checked (some turn into skin cancer) or ask about other cancer checks - this service is free.

Grow your own vegetables 

This free hands on practical session covers the basics of:

  • Vege growing - what can I plant now?
  • Getting the ground ready
  • Making compost
  • Sowing seeds – how and when to sow
  • How to feed your plants
  • Dealing with weeds
  • Pest control the organic way

If you struggle to make it to our workshops, this workshop will give you a good overview of how to garden!

When: Thursday 18 October, 10am - 12pm, repeated 6.00pm - 8pm

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.

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623) or Tim (ph 021 2243109), the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

This workshop is being run in conjunction with the Western Community Centre.

Thriving on a Shoe String - Cooking classes

  • Do more than just “get by”
  • Grow a healthy family
  • Learn new practical skills in the kitchen

These classes will be led by Jenny Hobson who has cooked and taught professional cookery for 26 years.  She is also keen organic gardener and includes this knowledge in her teaching.

Topics include:

  • Shopping on a budget
  • Preserving fruits and vegetables
  • Menu planning
  • Time Savers – quick healthy snacks
  • One pot wonders

When: Thursdays, 18th October to 22nd November 2012, 9.30am – 12.00 noon

Where: Methodist Centre, 62 London St, Hamilton

Cost: $2 per session

Limited spaces: book a place - contact Wendy,  Methodist City Action, ph  8393917.  All welcome!

Water Wise Workshop 

This workshop has been postponed to the 20 October.

All plants need some water to grow.  Summer is our driest season in NZ, with many gardeners spending time watering their gardens.

Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentor, will be using the Grandview Community Garden to show you how to save time and water! Join him to learn how to:

  • Collect and store rainwater for your garden
  • Minimise the amount of water you need to use
  • Water less often
  • Choose plants that don't need lots of water
  • Shape the landscape to make the most of your water.

You will see the solar water pump being used.

When: Saturday 20 October 2012, 2:30- 4pm.  (This workshop will also be repeated in November.)

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.   

Global warming means we need to be prepared for more extreme weather, such as droughts.  The USA is going through one of its worst droughts in history.  Having a lawn there is seen as a big water-sucking expense.

Some see simple gardens that make the most of rainwater as a much better alternative to lawn. These gardens can be made with very little money. Some of these gardens are on road sides (berms), providing food for their communities in financially tough times. See examples here and here

In Auckland, the suburb of Grey Lynn is also actively planting their berms - learn more here and see photos of a 'berm bombing' in Grey Lynn on Ooooby.  

Hamilton City is now Smokefree!

Hamilton City Council has set up a Smoke-Free Environment Policy for the city, including some parks, starting last week.  This is because smoking can make you sick and even kill you, as well as the people around you who breathe in the smoke.  Smoking is prohibited in the following places:

  • Garden Place, Civic Square, Hamilton Transport Centre and Hamilton Gardens
  • Within 10 metres of all City Council playgrounds and all Council owned or operated buildings and facilities
  • Around Waikato Hospital on Pembroke St (from the corner of Selwyn St to Ohaupo Rd) and Selwyn St

It was also agreed that all events run or sponsored by Council will be required to be smoke-free. 

Grandview Community Garden, K'aute Pasifika Services and the Waikato Migrant Centre are already smoke-free.

If you or someone you know is struggling to quit smoking, contact K’aute Pasifika’s FREE Smoke Free services, including consultation, free nicotine patches, gum and lozenges to people of any ethnicity. For more information call Peni or Luisa - 07 834 1482 or Txt your name to 021 2880 503. 

Jars Please! 

Do you have any small plastic screw top jars with their lids (the kind nails, marmite, herbs or breadmaking yeast come in) that you would be willing to donate?  They are looking for some to use for seed storage at Grandview Community Garden, so that rats and mice don't eat the seeds.

Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623) or Tim (ph 021 2243109), the WIC Community Garden Mentors, if you can help, or drop the plastic jars into me at  K'aute Pasifika Services, 960 Victoria St (entry off Liverpool St), Level 1.

Want to organise your own seed/plant/produce swap?

Room 3 at Richmond Park School, Bader Street, Melville is available free to any community groups that have no political affiliation (MOE rules). It can be booked through Mareta Ford or Trish Cree, South Hamilton Community Advisor with HCC, ph 838 6699.   

While you're there, visit the Te Whare Kokonga/Melville Community House's community garden to see what they have growing.  They have a range of fruit trees and vegetables.  They are on the corner of Bader and Pine Avenues.

Maize and Corn 

The staff at Kings Seeds over towards Tauranga have been growing their sweet corn in a tunnel house, and have started planting the seedlings outside.  They will need to cover it if we get a frost.  They have some tips on growing corn on their blog

Maize is a type of corn that is not sweet and is often white rather than yellow.  It is eaten in many cultures including its home in America, around Africa and in the Pacific in Tonga.  It is not just eaten on the cob (whole kernels or seeds) but ground coarsely or into flour. Many cultures eat a maize/corn porridge as their main form of carbohydrate.

You can buy maize seed from farming supply shops like RD1 or Farmlands (in NZ maize is mostly fed to stock).  This is likely to be hybrid seed: if you save seed from the maize you grow, you are only likely to get between 35% - 85% of the seeds germinating (growing).  You can buy 'proper' seed maize, eg from Newton's Seed in Onehunga, Auckland but it is fairly expensive - around $32.00/kg minimum.

Some of you will have received a rare NZ variety of corn called Kaanga Ma (or horse teeth corn, as Rangi from the East Coast of NZ sometimes calls it, because of it's shape!), it is similar to maize.   I still have a couple of packets left: contact me if you would like some free seeds.

I also have some other varieties of corn seed available: Rainbow Inca, Sweet/Flour Black Navajo and Strawberry (shape not flavour!) popping corn.

In Season - strawberries

Speaking of strawberries, many of you got free strawberry plants from WIC.  I wonder how they are doing?  I noticed my first ripe strawberry this week, complete with holes pecked by the birds! It is time to cover your strawberries.   It is also good to mulch them (if you haven't already!), to keep the berries off the soil: this reduces the chance of fungal diseases on the fruit.  The traditional mulch was straw - some people think this is how the plant got its name.

Strawberries are a fruit, there are very few savoury dishes that use them, they are mostly used in sweet dishes. My favourite ways of eating strawberries is raw by themselves, or with my breakfast cereal or in a fruit salad.  The Healthy Food Guide has lots of strawberry recipes and even some strawberry gardening tips.

Have a great week in your garden! 



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