July Gardens Update

Another month, another update, though this one is a little late! Just click on each titled section below to read about some of the work we’ve been doing in the Gardens!

NAIDOC Week Celebrations

For the last five years, the Gardens has been proud to partner with Mamu Health Services to host the opening ceremony of the region’s NAIDOC Week celebrations.

In a new and exciting chapter, this year we collaborated with the Mamu Health Services AND the Mamu Aboriginal Corporation, who organised the week’s fabulous events.

As usual, the Gardens were honoured to continue supporting and celebrating NAIDOC Week anyway we could.

To coincide with 2019 being the UN’s ‘International Year of Indigenous Languages’, the Gardens re-launched and unveiled its ‘Indigenous Dyes, Fibres, and Foods Garden’.

The Indigenous Gardens is planted with an abundance of local native plant species, which are used in Aboriginal weaving and textiles-making, as well as for food-sources.

This information – along with the local Mamu, English, and scientific names of each plant – is now displayed on new signs throughout the Indigenous Gardens, designed to lead you through a self-guided tour and exploration.

Unveiling the re-vamped Indigenous Gardens
As part of the celebrations, a showcase of Aboriginal culture and talent by the ‘Brahm Dance Group’

To continue the week’s events, the President and Secretary of the Gardens attended the NAIDOC Luncheon, which celebrated the contributions and accomplishments of local Elders, Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things, and local businesses.

As non-Indigenous Australians, it was incredible to learn about all of the dedication and hard work that local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do to support and uplift each other and their communities.

Lastly, following the NAIDOC Street Procession later in the week, the Gardens hosted a stall at the Picnic-in-the-Park celebrations!

Our Shiny New BBQ - Courtesy Bunnings

Every month as part of our Community Picnics, the Gardens put-on a BBQ and lunch-spread. Unfortunately, after 9 years of honourable service, our second-hand and much-loved BBQ finally gave-out! Thankfully, we approached the local Bunnings who were able to donate a magnificent 6-burner BBQ as part of their Community Engagement program.

The BBQ came just in time, and we were able to use it for our NAIDOC Opening Ceremony Picnic, as well as lending it out for the NAIDOC Street Procession’s Picnic-in-the-Park.

Permaculture in the Market-Gardens

During the Cairns Eco-Fiesta in June, one of our Garden-Members happened to win a ticket to attend a two-day Permaculture Workshop in Cairns! As a community garden, every member has different knowledge, skills, and perspectives on gardening, so this was an amazing opportunity for the Garden-Member to learn something new, bring this back to share with other members, and to implement the following permaculture principles:

  • Preparing the soil before planting: This involved thoroughly turning the soil beforehand to aerate it and promote microbial action, and then digging-in a special blend of store-bought, but organic fertiliser – while the Gardens one-day hope to be self-sufficient in creating our own fertiliser, this simply isn’t possible at the moment, so using a well-rounded permaculture-endorsed fertiliser is a close second. This then ensures that the soil is more able to nourish strong, healthy plant growth. 

  • Mulching every bed after preparing the soil: Now, this might seem pretty obvious to other seasoned gardeners, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I previously thought mulching was only good for improving the water-retention of soil; and so living in one of the wettest places in Queensland, I figured I could do without this step, and I never bothered to mulch since moving to Innisfail from Brisbane. Thankfully, our new permaculture expert was able to teach me that not only mulching is also good for suppressing weed-growth (thus reducing reliance on weed-killing chemicals), but it also promotes the germination of seeds by preventing them from getting sunburnt!

  • Planting close together: Another rookie mistake, but we’ve now learnt that we weren’t using our garden-bed space very efficiently, and we’ve since embraced planting our seeds and seedlings much closer together. Not only do different plants take up different spaces (i.e. you can plant low-lying plants like kale and cabbages around something that grows vertically, like beans), but an experienced gardener will plant more seeds and seedlings than they want to end-up with, to account for nature’s in-built failure-rate. 

All of these tips and tricks seem to be having an effect, and the Market-Gardens are looking incredible, and producing food!

Private-Plots & Garden-Member Contributions

Since the last update, the Gardens have had THREE new families and community-groups sign-up for private-plots in the Gardens. It’s amazing to see people working together and embracing growing their own food! This also means that people have been sharing their excess seeds and seedlings with the Gardens and vice versa! If you’re interested in leasing a private-plot in the Gardens, click here.

Creating new raised garden-beds for new Garden-Members, using re-purposed water-metre boxes!

Until next month, happy gardening!