The Paekākāriki Potato Patch was established in October last year as a no-dig bed, piling balage, seaweed, manure and lupins - atop what was an area of kikuyu. Sunday’s garden party was initially earmarked to be the potato harvest. But as gardening does sometimes take on a life of its own, especially when the climate is unpredictable, the potatoes did not flourish- so kamokamo seeds were planted in between and quickly took over, with a huge harvest distributed amongst the community.
The party began with the gardeners digging up the patch. Sadly there were no potatoes, but what began a few months ago as a layering of straw, seaweed, and manure is now a rich and wormy soil - meaning even though the potatoes did not grow, the soil has. This will now be planted with broad beans to enrich the soil with nitrogen over the winter.
The showers early in the morning cleared in time for a weed walk with Hannah Zwartz, Rachel Benefield and herbalist Daisy Wood - party goers were taken on a guided walk around the wilderness that is the larger allotment of land. Liana Stupples mindfully took notes and later that evening surprised everyone posting a beautiful info-graphic poster on the groups Facebook page.
Next up, Hannah took everyone through the low cost irrigation set-up in the garden - polyester ropes have been used alongside the more expensive rubber seep hose, and proved just as effective at moving water along the rows. This rope wicking system runs from a barrel, installed at the far reach of the hose (there’s no water on site), so watering the garden is just a matter of filling up the barrel once a week and letting gravity do the rest.
At about 6pm, more neighbours began to arrive with picnic baskets, blankets and plates of food for a shared meal and bonfire, and to check out and celebrate the garden and Neighbours Day. Only as it began to get dark around 8pm did people start to pack up – with our long summer coming to an end, people were determined to enjoy every last moment of the evening sun.