Innermost Gardens - Article

An old bowling green on Mt Victoria is to be planted with a food forest by volunteers at Innermost City Gardens.

Food harvested by Innermost City Gardens.

Food harvested by Innermost City Gardens

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Food forest to be planted on Mount Victoria

Produced as part of Branch Out newsletter - Summer 2013

An old bowling green on Mount Victoria is to be planted with a 'food forest' by volunteers at Innermost City Gardens.

The group, which has a large central site in Mount Victoria, has received an $8,500 environmental grant from Wellington City Council to extend their edible garden into the second of two former bowling greens.

Project coordinator Sarah Adams says the group has spent the past 2 years treating or 'remediating' the bowling green by using mushrooms to remove contaminants from the soil.

"We put down a large amount of mulch - wood chips - supplied by the Council. We covered the soil and inoculated it with the mushrooms." She says the role of mushrooms is to start the decomposition process in wood.

About one-third of the 36m² green will be taken up by the food forest, with the remaining land planted in food cropping and wetland area. Sarah says the intention of the wetland is to try and solve a drainage problem that makes the area boggy in winter and very dry in summer. They also plan to plant a hedgerow with fruit trees, natives and other trees. "This will serve as food production and a wind break on our southern boundary," she says.

The group is now in the design stage for the new garden areas and planting will start in winter.

The group's planned food forest is an example of a self-sustaining ecosystem planted to reflect the different layers in a forest - with fruit, vegetables, herbs and other plants forming the canopy, understorey and other layers. "It's an edible ecosystem," Sarah says.

Sarah says the group is keen to get more local organisations active in the gardens. Contact innermostgardens@gmail.com