Planning the Community Gardens

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This page is to simply document the planning processes and decisions that have been made over time about how the gardens may have been designed or developed and to outline our longer term plans and goals.

Aims & Objectives & Principles

Our aim is to develop Community Gardens in the Mid Mountains where everyone’s worth and contribution is equal and valued whilst working towards the shared, sustainable and responsible production of food.

Our Objectives are to provide opportunities to:

  • Grow and share food together as a community
  • Build and strengthen our community
  • Make new friends
  • Learn new skills
  • Live more sustainably.

The principles that guide us include:

  • Establishing gardens that have a minimal impact on the natural environment.
  • Treating our fellow-gardeners as we want to be treated, developing social connections/ kinship around the concept of food, and respecting different points of view and specific areas of interest.
  • Ensuring the gardens are accessible for the whole community, eg people of all incomes, ages, philosophical or religious beliefs, particularly including people who are often marginalised because of Aboriginal descent, unemployment, homelessness or disability.
  • Treating the garden with love and care, as an extension of our home garden, using sustainable practices, eg recycling, minimal tillage, no synthetic chemicals, and small, slow steps.
  • Sharing and learning from ecological approaches to gardening – eg. Permaculture and ecological approaches found in many wisdom traditions. These involve caring for the earth, caring for people and sharing fairly.
  • Supporting local food sharing and food production practices, while utilizing local infrastructures and promoting food security for our region.
  • Incorporating flexible group processes which promote fun, harmony, safety, consensual decision-making and open participation. These group processes will adapt and develop as the group evolves.
  • Providing opportunities for community learning, with informal on-site sharing and learning from each other encouraged, as well as formal training opportunities offered.

Crop Rotation

If a crop rotation plan wasn’t employed in the garden, we could face the risk of depleting our soil and building up pests and diseases that would require special attention. Thus Crop Rotation is a preventative strategy which is an important part of our organic garden plan.

The basis of crop rotation is the understanding that our many diverse crops come from a much smaller number of plant families which share many properties.

For example – cabbages, kales and brocolli all belong to the Brassica family.  They require similar growing conditions, soil nutrition, and share the same pests and diseases.  By growing them together, we can prepare ths soil specially for them, and by not growing them again in the same place for several seasons, we can reduce the opportunity for soil pathogens to develop.

Thus the first stage of creating a rotation plan is to identify the plants we want to grow, then to group them into their families.  Then we plant each group in rotation – first in one bed, then in the next bed in the following season.

The MMCG currently has four main garden beds and we have produced a rotation plan based on that. This was originally decided at our Design Team Meeting on January 8 2011.

The current plan is loosely based on the one proposed by The Vegetable Patch

This current plan and overall garden design and space allocation was decided on specifically to try and imitate one that would be suitable for the average backyard gardener in the Blue Mountains with an average sized backyard.

Water

Currently there is a large water tank located at the top of the garden collecting water from an existing zinc alum roofed shed. This has a pipe that runs down to the garden area by gravity feed to a tap. Work is currently being done on setting up an automated drip system attached to that.

Fencing

Currently fencing is a significant part of the ongoing planning process. The local area has a Wallaby population that moves through this location so fences need to be strong and high enough to discourage them from eating garden produce!

Getting started

Here are some images from the initial stages of garden development.

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