Monthly NewsletterSeptember 2010
Warners Bay Community Garden

Welcome to Spring! Here is our groups latest news, including a report on our 2nd Vegeblitz, and an update from Council. We hope you enjoy!

If you would like to contribute to our monthly newsletters (perhaps a seasonal recipe!) please contact Shelley (click here!)

Being Spring, there is bound to be lots happening in the garden! If you would like to visit another community garden, a great place to find one (and a host of wonderful resouces) is: - just click on 'Around Australia' at the top of the page.
Stall at Festival 12th September!

Our September (spring!!) market stall will be hosted at the Lake Macquarie Living Smart Festival in Speers Point Park on Sunday 12th September,  from 9:30 am - 5:00 pm. We'd love to see you there!

We will have lots of organic seedlings ready for spring planting in your garden (herbs and vegies!), a giant tee-pee(!), plus some interesting displays, and an activities zone!

Why not stop by for some home grown organic seedlings for $1 each (or 6 for $5) ready for spring planting, and have a chat with other members and friends of the Warners Bay Community Garden group!

Seedlings are grown in recycled newspaper pots ready to pop straight into the garden, eliminating transplant shock.

All funds raised from the market stall go toward Warners Bay Community Garden activities such as seedling growing, materials and garden building!

Why not join in the fun for an hour or two behind the seedling counter, or help setup or pack down the stall? You'd be made very welcome! If you would like to be involved with the stall or join in the seedling growers group (all materials provided!), please contact Trish (ph 49471821).

For full details on the festival please visit the Festival's website by clicking here.
Next Meeting 5th September 2pm
Our next group meeting is on Sunday 5th September at 2pm at the Lions club hall, Sweet St Warners Bay. All welcome.

As always, afternoon tea is provided free of charge. Come along and meet your neighbours, share your ideas and see how you can get more involved with the group.

The focus of the September meeting will be finalising WBCG's stall at the Lake Macquarie Smart Living Festival at Speers Point Park Sept 12th, progressing the Vegeblitz garden working bees, updating everyone on Council's site assessment progress and the grant allocation(!) and discussing ideas for other gardening and community related activities and opportunities for our group. We will be joined by Chris and Lachie to talk about planning some permaculture workshops with them for WBCG.

A gold coin donation is welcome to assist with hall hire costs.
Supporting our Schools
Early in Term 4 volunteers from the WBCG group will be helping Warners Bay Public School and Eleebana Public School with their vegie gardens, all ready for planting in the warmers months!

We will be holding fun working bees at both schools, to build a new vegie garden for the students at Eleebana, and at Warners Bay PS we will be improving some drainage issues through their garden area, as well as building a new vegie garden for the students.

Many hands make light work and the working bees will be a fun opportunity to work together for our community, meet some new friends and learn some gardening tips along the way!

We will announce the working bee days closer to the date so check your emails! For more information, or if you would like to see how WBCG can help your school, please contact Trish.
Council Progress
As you know, in early August WBCG submitted a formal complaint to Lake Macquarie City Council. The complaint was made for two key reasons:
  1. The group felt that the site re-assessment process was taking much longer than promised by Councillors in May, as it had now been three months and no re-assessment process had been started;
  2. The group asked Council if they could please guarantee a site would be selected prior to December 20th 2010,  so as not to put the groups $52,800 at risk, and Council said they could not provide this guarantee.
In response to the formal complaint, Council have advised us of the following:

Council have now established their new assessment process for determining the site of the Warners Bay Community Garden. They have advised they will now undertake an assessment of the following sites (in no specific order):
  • 24 Macquarie Drive Eleebana (Bunya Park)
  • 1A Charles Street Warners Bay
  • 135 Ambleside Circuit Lakelands (Lakelands Reserve)
  • 465 The Esplanade Warners Bay (southern end of foreshore Warner Reserve)
  • 5A Bareki Road Eleebana (southern end of TH Halton Park)
  • 43 Linden Avenue Eleebana (Eleebana Oval)
  • 19 Harrison Street Warners Bay
  • 1A East Street Warners Bay
  • 1A Morris Street Warners Bay
  • 45 Jonathon Street Warners Bay (Richard Allen Park)
  • 10 James Street Warners Bay (adjoining St Mary's School)
  • 9 Spencer Street Warners Bay
  • 112 Bayview Street Warners Bay (former Pillatis Quarry)
  • 1 John Street Warners Bay (adjoining playground) 
and they expect this assessment process to be completed in 3-4 weeks. Following the assessment, Council have advised they will prepare a report for Councillors to consider, which they expect will be ready in 6-8weeks (equating to late Sept / early Oct).

Council have still not provided any information on what the decision making process or timeframe will be once the site assessment report is presented to Councillors.
Herald Poll!
On Tuesday 17th August, the Newcastle Herald ran an online poll in addition to a news story they wrote regarding the formal complaint the group submitted to Council the afternoon before. While it was disappointing that the Herald didn't contact the group for comment on why the complaint was submitted, it was exciting to see strong community support for the garden in the accompanying online poll!

The Herald's poll asked the question: "Do you support a community garden at Bunya Park, Eleebana?". The result of this independent poll was a resounding "Yes, this is the best spot for it".

Thanks to all who voted and who are continuing to support this project - it will be such a wonderful asset for the community when it happens!
Tee-pee fun!
At the August meeting, some WBCG members broached the idea of creating a giant tee-pee for the September Living Festival Stall - and then they got together on a Saturday afternoon to give it a go!

Together, John, Barrie, Tony, Maree and Ben transported, trimmed and measured some enormous bamboo, came up with a design idea and creatively got their tee-pee to stand up in no time at all!

The tee-pee will be on display at the September Living Festival Stall, pop by and check it out!

Smaller versions are great for the garden, as climbing vegetables like peas, beans, cucumbers etc just love them. Tee-pees are perfect for pots or smaller gardens where you may not have a fence for your climbers to enjoy!

Vegeblitz fun!
Report by Steve
The veggie blitz started out when Maree McCarthy suggested I plant native grasses to help stabilise a fence line that my chooks were burrowing under. We decided to make a day of it and invite the community garden crew to join in the fun of digging in the ground.

People started to arrive pretty much on the dot of 11am and eagerly went to work in the veggie beds. They were in dire need of weeding as the winter grass, chick weed and couch grass had really started to take a foothold over the cooler months.

Maree sourced the native grasses for me which are:
  • seed-grown (Hunter Valley sourced) Lomandra confertifolia subsp. rubiginosa - 'blueish' ones selected for their for drought hardiness.
  • Dianella caerulea 'King Alfred' - according to studies, was found to be about the best to hold soil and prevent erosion.  Attracts native Blue-banded bee, Teddy Bear Bee and other insects for biological control in the home veggie garden.
We laid down a strip of home-brewed compost (made from lawn clippings, vegie scraps and chook manure) and dug holes for each of the grasses. Their roots were tightly packed in the pots and we could see why they hold the record for erosion prevention. Once the plants were in place, thick layers of newspaper were placed over the top, covered in sugar cane mulch and then watered in well.

The result is stunning and I can't wait till the flowers are in bloom. (The chooks are still squawking in protest at having their escape thwarted)

Meanwhile the weeding crew had blitzed through the main veggie beds and were making a start on my sweet potato patch. Everyone had done such a fantastic job, it was like having a whole new garden!

After grabbing a quick cuppa and a cake, everyone took the time to catch their breath and chat about "all things gardening". It was great to see the enthusiasm of our community coming together and I can only imagine the things we will achieve together when we finally getting a site for our community garden.

A big thankyou to everyone who helped out and Maree for organising it. I look forward to seeing you at the next veggie blitz.

So - when's the next VEGEBLITZ, and where?  Maybe next weekend at your place! 
For info on the Vegeblitz's just email or call Maree (details below).  The idea is just that we all help each other to get more food growing.  It's a lot more fun to work in a garden with friends!  It doesn't matter how much space you have or don't have, or even if you aren't sure where to start. It's amazing what you can do in pots.
Maree: Ph:  4943 0305      M: 0410 405 815
Grant Update
John, Ben and Steve met with the Department of Community Services (DOCS) on Wednesday 25th August to discuss the situation with the grant. Much to the relief of everyone, the department is sympathetic to our situation (waiting for council to decide on a site) and have indicated that some flexibility is appropriate.
There are 2 disadvantaged groups we'll be targeting with this project - young people aged 15-24 and elderly people over 65. The terms of the funding are that we are to demonstrate community engagement of these groups. Over the next year we will be encouraging participation in our workshops and working bees by these 2 groups and then measure the success by conducting surveys. DOCS explained to us the overall report on our project will be compiled at the end of the 12 month funding.
When it comes time to employ a caretaker for the garden, we need to advertise for the job in the local papers. The garden group will draw up the selection criteria for the position and draft an advertisement. To be impartial, the selection panel will probably consist of a DOCS employee and an appropriate 3rd party with sufficient background to make a determination on the candidates.
Once formal council approval is granted for the site, we can inform DOCS and the funding for capital works will be released to us.

If you would like more details please don't hesitate to contact us.
WBCG Documentary
This month WBCG member Gavin has started filming an interesting documentary on the garden. The film is fully self funded by Gavin's business, with other WBCG members lending their time to assist where possible during the filming. The film aims to explore all of the viewpoints with regards to the community garden, including members, Councillors, local businesses, opposing parties and members of other local commuity gardens. It will hopefully result in a better understanding from all involved than what can be gained through the media. For more information on the film please contact Steve.
Bay's Food Growing History
As you may be aware, Lake Macquarie resident Shirley Myles Gleghorn has researched, written and self-published an interesting book on the people of Warner's Bay and the surrounding area's. The book is a social history spanning from the 1800's to the new millennium and includes many wonderful photographs. It's interesting to note the Warners Bay area has a rich food growing history, with productive orchards, chinese market gardens and farms of which residents were very proud.

Shirley's book will be available for purchase at our market stalls, and Shirley has generously offered to donate a percentage of her sale price toward WBCG which we sincerely appreciate. For a great read and a new way to support the garden, why not treat yourself to a copy of this wonderful book! Copies of Shirley's book can also be ordered by contacting Trish ph: 4947 1821.
If you'd like any more information on the activities of the Warners Bay Community Garden please call or email Trish.
Click here for contact details.  
The Operating Committee
Warners Bay Community Garden Inc.
In This Issue
September Diary Dates
Quick Links
Yates Spring Vegie Growing Challenge!
Quick Facts!
Did you know..