workerBe Oasis update

In only five months, we’ve done so much! I’m immensely proud of the Gardeners (and others!) who have helped me pull this crazy idea off: grow food in the city and give it to those who really need it. What an accomplishment. We’re celebrating all this this Sunday with a big Harvest Picnic. Come along!

Over 50 gardener volunteers have helped create the first quarter of the Oasis, and I am grateful for the help you’ve brought – whether just for an hour or over many days, every effort counts and it is wonderful to see your smiling faces in the garden.

Here is a run down of what we’ve achieved in our first five months:

  • double dug 150 squaremeters of really hard clay lawn (with some help from Probational Services)
  • incorporated around 8 cubic meters of compost into the soil (donated by WCC and the zoo)
  • planted roughly 100 tomato plants, 12 cucumber, 12 zucchini, 200 silverbeet, 60 lettuce, 12 basil, 90 parsley, 30 lambs quarters, 200 perennial spring onions… and more – flowers, companions, runner beans…
  • sown 4m of beetroot, 10m carrots and 10m salad mix.
  • produced around 6 crates of food every week since beginning of the year: lettuce, silverbeet & spinach mostly, but also cucumbers, zuccini, tomatos, carrots, beetroot… and herbs of course, like parsley and basil!
  • Kaibosh have picked up more than half of the produce since we started, delivering it to families in need – that’s between 30 and 40 crates, and we’re only just starting
  • held 10 meetings for workerBe Oasis members and 5 introduction sessions for interested members of the public
  • built a shed, a bench and windbreaks
  • prepared 12 squaremeters for a shelterbelt, plants which will withstand and break up the southerly wind

With the abundant harvests, I have a deep sense of gratitude as we move into autumn after our first busy summer. Not that there will be much down time: when the autumn rains come we can finally get into the soil and dig the next 300 squaremeters of beds and also plant trees and bushes.

Other plans for the coming six months are to prepare the paths and build a shelter – all who are working on the land are looking forwards to this, a space for having a cuppa and debrief the work, read a little or just get out of the rain and wind that we know will come.

The organisation itself is also moving along. We are about ten people actually running the society – fundraising, promotion etc – and another 10 working on the Hospital rd Oasis site. At the moment, we’re looking for a photograper and a graphic designer to join us – shout out if that’s you!

And for your own little oasis, there’s still time to plant winter crops: Celery, Kale, Silverbeet, Spinach can all go in now for pick-and-come-again the whole winter. You can also direct sow carrot, radish, beetroot and mesclun. Lettuces are fine here all winter – although they do grow slower after 21/3 (autumn equinox) – as long as you have enough sun hours. And order your perennials and tubers now to plant in winter: garlic, bunching onions, egyptian onions, artichokes, asparagus, spring flower bulbs etc.

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