Thursday, 8 December 2011

the dirt-Issue 2: Dec 2011

If you would like us to email a copy of this newsletter please contact

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

the dirt-Issue 1: Sept 2011

Welcome to Crewe Community Garden – a place for you, no matter what your age or ethnicity. The garden is open as of today and committee members will be here every Saturday from 10am from now on.

Today we hope you and your family enjoy our very first Plant Day. The garden will be opened by a member of our committee, Graham Black, and then the Palmerston North mayor will plant a beautiful Prunus campanulata Felix Jury for all of us to enjoy as it grows. We have also organised a number of activities for children to participate in and of course there are plenty of seedlings to plant in our two community garden plots and four individual garden plots.

If you live in this area and are interested in signing your family up for an individual garden plot then talk to one of our committee members in green printed t-shirts. There are four individual plots available and will build more as demand increases. The plots will be allocated on a first-in-first-served basis.

At 11:30am today a free healthy lunch will be served – check out your welcome pack for the easy recipes so you can try them at home. "the dirt" is our bi-monthly newsletter to residents in the Crewe Crescent area. It is a bulletin where we, as neighbours, can share gardening tips and healthy recipes. Many different cultures and ethnicities are represented in these streets and we are looking forward to trying some new dishes with our families.

The committee will also use these pages to update residents on developments in the garden, upcoming events and the classes we hope to run from the garden in the future. In these pages I have included notes on how the garden will operate, both the community plots and individual plots. If you wish to be involved in the garden feel free to work on the Community plots or your individual plot at any time, any day of the week but remember the garden is open to all residents of our community and all garden visitors must follow the rules of the garden - printed in this newsletter.

We are excited to meet you all this morning and about getting to know our neighbours and community in this garden in the coming months. If you wish to contact the Garden Committee or share recipes and tips for the next edition of The Dirt, please email us at: or you can contact us through Facebook: Crewe Community Garden.

Meet the Team!
The Crewe Community Garden committee:
Matt Mackay
Phoebe Mackay
Mel Bourke
Piet Bourke
Helen Black
Graham Black
Elaine Carson
Andrew Carson
Julz Arnold
Jeff Odhiambo
Alicia Odhiambo
Allen Sope


We are a group of people who have a vision for a vibrant community hub where neighbours are collectively involved in various sustainable living initiatives that provide healthy food, encourage social connections, and reduce family food budgets. We believe a community garden will help achieve these goals. Below is a map that gives a rough idea of what Crewe Community Garden could look like in the future. It includes more community and individual plots alongside citrus trees, a compost management area and a children’s park.If you have any suggestions for future growth please email us at: or contact us through the suggestion box that will be introduced in the near future.

Garden Rules of Use:
1. Crewe Community garden is for everyone, regardless of age, ethnicity or culture.

2. The garden is to be alcohol and drug free.

3. The main gate must always be kept closed.

4. All Individual plot holders must abide by the Individual Plot Agreement and maintain their garden.

6. All tools must be returned to the shed at the end of Saturday opening hours and may not be removed from the property.

7. Vegetables grown in the Community Plot may only be harvested on Saturdays and will be shared out by a Committee member.

8. The water must be turned off when not in use and sprinklers/hoses may not be used at any time. Gardeners may use buckets and watering cans only.

9. The Crewe Community garden Committee maintains the right to remove anyone from the land not abiding by the above rules.

Handy Gardening tip:

Tip #1
Water your garden in the early morning or in the evening. Watering in the heat of the day results in a lot of water loss through evaporation. Also, water droplets on leaves in bright sunlight can act as lenses, concentrating the sunlight and burning leaves.

Chicken Cobbler Pie

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Cooperation with gardens

An article about our garden from the Manawatu Standard, 16/09/11:

They’re growing community in Hokowhitu as well as plants in a community garden. Feature writer Lee Matthews goes gardening.

Broccoli will bring people together in Hokowhitu tomorrow. A community garden – the Crewe Community Garden – will be officially opened and plants and trees put in. However, what organisers really hope to grow is a strong, friendly community, just as much as fruit and vegetables.
Residents Helen and Graham Black and Mel and Piet Bourke have talked about having a community garden for years, to strengthen community relationships and reduce suburban isolation.
They had a site in mind; 2.2 hectares of unused land, bounded by Albert St, Ashford Ave, Stirling Cres and Buxton Pl. Fairly flat, lying to the sun, the soil is beautiful freedraining river silt that had been grazed by ponies for decades.
‘‘Good fertiliser. I think it’s [Maori] landbank land . . . we got in touch with the people who administer it, and we have got it leased on a peppercorn rental for $1 a year,’’ Mrs Black says. ‘‘On Saturday, we’ll be planting citrus trees. The mayor [Jono Naylor] will be planting a tree for us.’’
With land in hand, the work could really get started. A letterbox pamphlet drop had assured the group of community interest. Palmerston North City Council gave compost for garden beds; Mitre 10 provided a garden shed and plants, and Downer Construction gave railway sleepers for bed edgings and gravel for paths. Families also gave money and time to help.
Working bees this winter got the first garden beds set up, ready to plant. At present, there are two long raised beds, 2m by 12m, to be gardened communally, and with gardeners sharing the produce across the season. They have also set up four individual beds; about 2m by 5m, for individual households to use. More communal and individual gardens will be prepared as people want them.
It is planned that on Saturdays people will get together to tend their gardens.
Not knowing how to garden will be no barrier for anyone interested. They group has got expertise and help from Super Grans, whose membership knows how to do just about everything.
The neighbourhood around the community garden site is culturally and economically mixed.
There are sole-parent households, struggling to make ends meet. People from those homes would benefit from home-grown vegetables, to lower the grocery bill, and a community garden is an ideal way to learn gardening skills.
The area is also home for refugees and migrants who have been settled in the city. Bhutanese, Cantonese, Congolese, Nepalese and Burmese people are there, with a strong Tongan community, and Maori and Pakeha.
‘‘Getting together to garden will help create a stronger community,’’ says Mrs Bourke.
Palmerston North Internal Affairs funding and community development adviser Heather Tanguay wholeheartedly agrees.
‘‘What a fantastic, courageous project. Community gardens in other areas have shown they work well as projects to foster good, strong neighbourhoods,’’ she says.
Mixed communities could have difficulties integrating, especially when a lack of knowledge and understanding of other cultures feeds suspicion. Mrs Tanguay recently led a community project in nearby Crewe Cres, to improve neighbourhood relations. Internal Affairs worked with Plunket and the Manawatu Multicultural Centre to get neighbours to mix more, through social events and school holiday programmes.
‘‘And a community garden, growing food, that is such a strong cultural link, especially if later on they decide to have some community meals,’’ Mrs Tanguay says.
The Crewe Community Garden plans to do exactly that in future. Mrs Black says the possibilities are huge – budget cooking, preserving, home-grown school lunches.
‘‘Our vision is to create a vibrant community hub where neighbours are collectively involved in various sustainable living initiatives that provide healthy food, encourage social connections, and reduce family food budgets.’’ The official opening of the Crewe Community Garden in Hokowhitu will be at 10am tomorrow. More information is available at