The Uniting Church in O’Connor had been looking for some time for a socially and environmentally friendly use of their two disused tennis courts at the rear of the church property in Jarrah Street, O’Connor. A church member suggested that COGS could be invited to develop the land as a community garden. Following a number of meetings, an agreement was reached in December 2005 for work to begin on establishing a garden.
Despite the heat and busy time of year, work commenced soon on trimming overhanging trees, stripping out unwanted vegetation, mowing weeds, marking plot boundaries, and installing a water meter, water lines and garden taps. By Christmas Eve the garden was ready to accept members and ten were enrolled before the end of January 2006. By Australia Day we had our first vegetables in the ground. A good effort in only a month from commencement ! All the available plots were allocated soon after and a waiting list has been maintained thereafter.
The garden covers an area of approx 1,000 square metres and is fenced with a high chain wire fence. It has been divided into fifteen plots of 45 square metres each. In addition to the fifteen individual plots there is a strip around the perimeter totalling 120 square metres that is being used for the communal planting of fruit trees, berry canes, herbs and so forth, for the growing of climbing annuals such as peas and beans on the fence, and for small individual plots for perennials such as asparagus and rhubarb.
The soil consists of imported reddish clay fill covered with a thin sandy layer for the tennis court surface. The clay has proved to be quite free draining and has provided an excellent surface upon which to build up garden beds and for deeper rooting plants such as fruit trees. Most gardeners have used some form of no-dig garden, utilising hay, straw, manures, compost and imported soils.
Work is proceeding steadily to have the garden fully operational with all plots now productive and we are well on the way to achieving the goal of a weed-free, family friendly, community garden.
The O’Connor community garden has been an exciting new development for COGS and it is expected to result in a showcase organic garden that can be used to further COGS’ aims in the wider community.
The garden is located in the park at the back of the Aldi Shopping Centre, the Seniors Units and the AFL club at Alexandra Hills. The garden is fenced and is open Wed and Fri from 9 – 12noon and Sundays from 2 – 4.30/5pm.