Riversdale community garden starting to produce

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Fruit of their labours...Riversdale Community Garden group members Fiona Turnbull, Zeb Horrell and Clare Ryan weed the lettuce patch at the New castle St site on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The Riversdale Community Garden has started producing vegetables.

A meeting was held in Riversdale in August last year to canvass interest in the project and the Riversdale Community group was formed.

The site chosen for the garden was a piece of land owned by the Ballance fertiliser company in Newcastle St, the road running through the town

Lettuces are the first crop ready for eating. Garden co-coordinator Zeb Horrell said the volunteers helping with the garden were planting out four raised beds.

Frost cloth covering the beds would not only keep soil warmer and reduce damage caused by frost, but also damage caused by hot winds in summer.

“We’ve got the frost cloth to try and protect it from the elements which we observed last summer when the hot winds  came, ” Mr Horrell said.

The raised beds are in the middle of the area with bark paths connecting them.

In the rest of the space, seeds from about 50 plants, including oats, herbs, brassicas, flowers and lettuce, were sown before winter.

“It’s going to get mulched.”

The mulch will rot down and then more seeds would be direct drilled in the area.

The topsoil was shallow in this part of the garden.

” We couldn’t till it, nor did we want to.”

It might look untidy from the road but it was a technique of growing different plants together, he said.

‘ Polyculture paddock, is the method….

“To me it looks beautiful.”

Now the plants were flowering and were attracting beneficial insects, including bees, to the garden.

Many of the plants were edible, and before they went to seed could be harvested.

The garden would continue to develop and the group would welcome more helpers, he said.

The project had received good support from businesses.

The group was planning to have an open day in November.

If anyone had spare vegetable seedlings, they could either plant them in a spare piece of garden or drop them off to Fiona Turnbull, 99 Rutland St, Riversdale.