Hereturi-koka (August) is an eager moment of anticipation in the maara. We have been planning toward a bountiful summer garden full of kai and flowers, we’re seed sowing and bulb planting to this end.

We have created cloches out of Toi Matarau gallery bubble wrap cast-offs and begun celebrating the joyous seedlings bursting into life in their protected sunny areas, unbothered by a couple of hard frosts. Our seeds are filling the stripy shed and overflowing onto sunny windowsills at our homes. 

After level 4 lockdown bok choy, pak choy, kale and spinach seedlings came our way thanks to Paekakariki school who had geared up to feed their community over lockdown and eventually found surplus needing a home. These have sprouted and are deliciously ready to harvest.

Microgreens are growing in a mini glasshouse constructed from old windows alongside tomato seeds beginning their life. We have taken cuttings from wallflowers, rosemary, stevia (we think there may be more hope for the seeds in this case) and sage. Many of these look to be sprouting and growing well, it’s been a lovely reminder for me of the generosity of Paptuuaanuku that I can timidly make a cutting, scrape one end, stick it in sandy soil fingers crossed, and soon be watching it grow. 

Our giant Italian parsley provided perfect vegan pesto earlier this week. 

Fresh parsley pesto from the Māoriland Maara!

Fresh parsley sits alongside a rammekin of fresh green pesto and bread

Herbs have been flourishing despite the cold, and the bergamot has been sprouting baby plants under cover of the mother. We are gathering these up and potting them for distribution. Kawakawa is settling in having been shifted from a little woodland nearby in the short days of Matariki. These herbs and kawakawa make the beginnings of our Rongoa/Healing plant garden. It is our intention to learn more and share our knowledge as we go on this Rongoa adventure! 

Hereturi-koka in the Maara

 

– Elishka Graham, Kaitiaki Parakore

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