Time has gone so fast since our Urban Garden Crowd Funder, we’ve had a lot going on here!
I’ve been so grateful for the ongoing support of both Michael and Leòn who have helped feed the animals and kept the garden going. Kane our last years apprentice has returned to Christchurch with his new found skills and inspiration. We wish Kane lots of luck and fun…
Michael and Leòn both had many other things to do and it became more and more clear for me that this is a project that requires dedication and commitment. What we get out is totally dependent on what we put in. A small urban garden could potentially be a full time job with lots of food and a small income from what we can see right now.
It becomes more and more obvious that it is a highly skilled job, urban farming really, and we have not inherited the skills and connection so we must learn it again. Animal management is not for the faint hearted, but the fulfillment gained and the connections to life for those who commit to the work make is something that make it all worth while.
We have now brought the caravan we needed so we could have a permanent Urban Garden Apprentice.
We had a Canadian called Greg here for a month or so who helped out heaps in the urban garden and now have Cushla here for the winter until the end of our PDC in September when we will take on an apprentice for the 12 following months. Applications for that position can be made via our website under opportunities. Applicants will need to have done a PDC , and we will take the successful person through all the workshop in our Spring Internship, as required back ground training to base all other Urban Garden learning and management on.
Our current focus has been to get the Soldier Fly farm functioning effectively. We have been producing huge amounts of soldier fly larvae for months now, but they are not getting to the collection bucket. We discovered they were being eaten by rats and mice at night when they were traveling to find a way out. We can also see now that if we combined the passive solar cloche with the soldier fly farm, we could use the warmth of the warm water to potentially keep the solider fly farm warmer for longer so we could extend the larvae season. We will definitely combine them.
The success of an urban garden in the end is no different to any farm or garden.. simple design that works is critical but management is also critical.
We not only need clever design but also training systems for management.
Another focus has to be on the sparrows who eat the chickens food whenever they can as well. At times huge numbers of sparrows come in through the netting which was no cost recycled netting. If I had a choice again, and maybe we still will, I would buy netting the sparrows can’t get through. However Shaked who lives here in Kotare Village has built himself a couple of sparrow traps off the internet with netting, and he catches enough sparrows every day to feed his chickens their protein so maybe the sparrows are not such a bad thing…..
We’re building a platform here to ensure we have a 2015-16 apprentice who has all the skills needed to learn to manage this garden and the development of it in such a way that we can collect the data around inputs, outputs, management and design to the best advantage for every bodies learning.
I walked around the 200 sq m garden with Cushla our new Urban Garden apprentice until September and we collected a salad for her.. this is what we picked
French Sorrell, Welsh Bunching onions, comfrey, Siberian purslane, lettuce, daikon, carrots, Endive, Upland cress, nasturtium leaves, rocket… and red sweet peppers from the wicking beds… not a bad meal!