While we had a brief moment of spring contemplating coming early, with warm sun on my back I actually spied some very optimistic pūrerehua monarchs taking flight in the maara, and a flock of finches nibbling seeding bok choy. Too beautiful!

While Tama nui te Rā shone I loaded my first lot of compost into a maara bed and transplanted a load of salad plants into it, returning the next day I found manu had picnicked hard, digging well into my compost and burying almost all the salad greens as they devoured my fat healthy noke (worms). The finches are cute, but the black birds can take a hike!

I am hopeful the peas I have planted will creep up the wire support structures and we will all feast merrily (when my tamariki were small I called peas ‘garden lollies’ and they totally bought it), my red cabbages are developing a decent heart, the kale, mesclun, lettuce, spinach, silverbeet and celery is all being picked as they grow… Our carrots showed the telltale signs of unrecommended transplant sporting curly spring-like shapes… What I like to think of as a creative edge! Any self respecting gardener would be driven to hide them grated in soup… Which is exactly what I did. Delicious though malformed!

We are working toward more widespread backyard gardening, and encouraging the development of food-forests and kai production in community spaces. If you are interested in this kaupapa do come along to a Taiao Tuesday, on the second Tuesday evening of the month at Māoriland Hub. We aim to share with seed and crop share and swaps, to collaborate across the community to support kai production and connect gardeners and gardening projects. Food sovereignty and justice are on our minds. Therefore, I am putting in some parent hours at Ōtaki College maara, which is looking great! My hope is to soon have OC students out in this now relatively tidy but still nicely wild space. There is a beautiful rich history of volunteers in this place, we hope to reinvigorate the OC maara after a recent quiet spell. Come to a Taiao Tuesday to connect up with local gardening! We hope to find some films to show on environmental, food sovereignty and gardening themes too.

It’s time to plant, so do pop some seeds on a windowsill …or direct sow peas, snow peas, broad beans, rocket (yum! Ours is going gangbusters), spinach, spring onions and parsnip. So much to look forward to!

Ngā mihi mahana

Elishka

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