Old Homestead Community Garden - Point Chevalier

Old Homestead Community Garden

The Transition Town Pt Chevalier Gardening Group started the Old Homestead Garden in June 2009, after being offered use of the land by The Point Chevalier Co-operating Parish. The land was previously a garden, and only turned into lawn in about 2004, so the soil is pretty good. We are thrilled to be gardening there, and welcome anyone who wants to come and be involved.

Our aims with the community garden are to further the aims of the gardening group; for the garden to be a "test case" so we can use the experience to help set up other community gardens in Point Chevalier; to help people learn gardening skills alongside others; to help local people increase their local food intake; to bring the community to the point of needing and implementing community-supported-agriculture.

The Task List Table has been moved here.

If there's not enough room  or you want to discuss anything further, start a topic in the Pt Chevalier Forum.




Oct 2013 - Update

Advocating and advertising for community gardening. Old Homestead garden group participated with a stall at the Unitec Volunteer expo offering students options to participate or volunteer in community gardens around Auckland.

Unitec Volunteer expo

Unitec Volunteer expo

Unitec Volunteer expo


May 2013 - Update

On 26 May 2013, we had a small gathering in beautiful weather to celebrate the revamping of the community garden with the help of the Eden-Albert Local Board Community Garden Grant and the Mt Albert Baptist Church working bee. Guest of honour, Darma from the Mt Albert Baptists, immediately saw potential for a new little project he'd be happy to help to build. Watch the spot, we're going posh!

This was also a really good opportunity to invite our neighbour Jocelyn with whom we had a delicate relationship over the years. Jocelyn enjoyed seeing the progress and the tidy back as well as being part of a group of people just chatting along.

Please contact us if you are interested to join, we are a loose crowd of committed gardeners and welcome new members!


Homestead Community Garden

Homestead Community Garden

Homestead Community Garden

Homestead Community Garden

Homestead Community Garden



April 2013 - Update

Rejuvenating the Old Homestead Community Garden.


On 13 and 14 April the community garden group was joined by the Mt Albert Baptist Church for their Community Working Bee Day "Love where you live" .


The transformation began on Saturday and approximately 30 people worked hard on removing all the weeds and overgrowth, put in solid garden edging, build three large compost heaps, repair the manual bike pump, plant up a berries patch, reposition and reconnect the rainwater harvesting system and remove kikuyu from the car park. The minister himself prepared a square foot garden bed at the front which hopefully is an educational message to visitors that you can grow a lot of food in a little space.

On Sunday several people from the church joined us again and we remulched all paths, weeded the complete area at the back, put weed mat and mulch down, spread 2  cubic meters of compost into the beds and plant lots of brassicas, lettuces, shallots, beetroot etc.


One of the major achievements was to assemble a small shed to store all the tools safely. Here the biggest praise is for Dharma who relentlessly over about 6 hours pushed his brain through the assembly manual. No small task if you have ever tried to assemble a similar item.


A huge thanks to minister Jonathan and all the church members who helped and arranged for this prior to the working bee days.


A huge thanks to the Albert Eden Local Board for the funding the Community Garden received. This funding made many projects possible.


A big thanks to Leah from Bunnings Mt Roskill who supported the Community Garden with a number of brand-new garden tools worth over $100, these came in very handy.


A big thanks to Enviroreel who sold us garden edging for a very affordable price (2 for 1).


A small thanks to Mitre 10 Mega who sponsored us a $15 tool.


A big thank you to all who supported this working bee!





Pt Chev Comm Garden Transform (1)


Pt Chev Comm Garden Transform (2).jpg


Pt Chev Comm Garden Transform (3).jpg


Pt Chev Comm Garden Transform (4).jpg


Pt Chev Comm Garden Transform (5).jpg


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Pt Chev Comm Garden Transform (7).jpg




February 2012 - Update

If you want to follow the actions of our awesome garlic planting crew please see the results here !



September 2011 - Update

A small band of strong dedicated gardeners have been working regularly at the garden over the winter. We have a water tank now, gratefully donated by Tanks A lot. Thanks a lot to Ally and Graham for all their hard work organizing this to be installed and doing the plumbing, the wooden stand and many more things as well. Also thanks goes to Keith for his installing of new guttering along the back end of the shed. The tank has collected all our lovely winter rain and now awaits a dry spell to be distributed to the plants.

We also have a new experimental, ingenious, human powered bike water pump, to distribute our water from the tank, following the ideas put forward by Te Radars father. We had a visit by Te Radar a while ago and he gave us some ideas on the design. Thanks to Crea for donating the bike, Logan for the pump and to Ellen for the seat. Also thanks goes to Bruce at Adventure Cycles in Premier Ave for his kind assistance and discount on some minor bike repairs. Many thanks goes to Michael Chikasha, Unitec Welding Lecturer and his 2 students, Praneel and Arnold. The bike pump became their project , coordinated by Yolanda. They created a clever steel frame for the bike to fit in so that the back wheel can drive the pump. Lastly, thanks to Nelly for helping out with the final plumbing on the bike, fixing leaks, donating hoses, fittings, and getting it going for the trial run.

Thanks to Deryn for keeping the group on their toes with email reminders throughout the winter, Geoff for lending his muscles occasionally, Ally for hosting several planning dinners and Jenny, Ally, Ellen for seedling growing and all the weeding, planting and compost making.

We will be celebrating our achievements with a spring celebration on Saturday 1st October. For further information, contact Deryn on mhresrch@ihug.co.nz

Written by Yolanda, September 2011.


29/5/2010: At one, Ellen, Deryn and Ally planted garlic (yay!) down by the older compost pile, and trimmed the greens off some of the kumara, and harvested some kumara (not very productive for the amount of greens, apparently.) These trimmings were put on the younger compost pile. E,D and A may have done more jobs too.

At three, I cut down all the broadbeans near the top of the garden, planted cabbages in amongst them, and covered the broadbean trimmings with grass clippings. I planted coriander along the main path beside the broccoli patch, and filled in some spaces in the broccoli patch with four more broccolis. Then I spread grass clippings around all those plants (and around the lettuces there), plus across the path in amongst the runner beans.

Finally I transferred some green weeds from the old compost pile to the new one, and covered both the remaining grass clippings. The old compost pile is looking delicious.Oh, and I helped myself to a fantastic cauliflower and a broccoli.



8/5/2010: Saturday's turnout at the garden was the best in a long while, and we achieved heaps. (2 in fact.) Nine adults plus children and a mulcher meant we now have a new compost pile, and the best of the compost from the "old" heap has been turned, covered, and is just maturing to perfection over the next few weeks.

Even better news is that we barely touched the storehouse of brown material, as the mulcher was engaged in chewing through a well-spotted and green-leaved Ficus tree. So we can do it all again! Yay! Our garden is going to be teeming with all this nutrition.

Next major compost-making is scheduled for Saturday 29 May at 3 pm. So if you'd like to join us in creating the largest lasagne you've ever imagined, see you at the Old Homestead then. Or come any Saturday at 3 pm, and see what we're up to, feeding ourselves with really local food.


27/12/2009: Anne, Walter, Heidi, Logan: harvested the last of the broad beans to keep for seeds. They are now spread out, in their pods, in Heidi's place. The bed they were in was tended by watering it, spreading with compost from compost pile number one, planting lots of kumara plants in lines, and then spreading the stalks of the broad beans in between the kumara lines. Walter also chopped in the compost on the half of the bed closest to the main path, while Anne and Heidi left the other half of the bed un-"chopped" so that we could see which worked better. Today Heidi and Logan also bought the hoses for the garden: a cheap one ($15) to be left permanently along the fenceline, and taken across the driveway to connect to the tap, and a "mid-range" one ($50) to be returned (empty) to the shed each time. Heidi and Walter know where the key to the shed is. Grow little kumara! The sunflowers are absolutely amazing. We suspect we got the timing of the cucumbers wrong - they probably won't have a chance in amongst the sunflowers. Hopefully we'll do better with the beans amongst the corn, but we might have actually put the beans in too early, and they might be too heavy on the corn. We'll see!

27 December 2009

27 December 2009

27 December 2009

Lots has happened since the last post, including building a runner bean frame and planting runner beans there (some plants, some seeds), planting cucumbers amongst the sunflowers, two big beds of corn with Gila Indian beans amongst those in the South bed, a few more tomatoes, lettuce and basil, weeding, watering and mulching with grass clippings. Plus a new compost heap is started which has been surprisingly well supplemented with weeds each time we go.

5 December 2009

5 December 2009

5 December 2009

5 December 2009

5 December 2009


28/11/2009: Crea and Heidi: watered the whole garden, cut down the broad beans in the lower half of the South bed, harvesting the beans and strewing the plants onto the soil, and spread grass clippings in the lower half of the North and South beds. Heidi also trimmed the splindliest jerusalem artichokes in the hope they'll grow back in a more busy form.


14/11/2009: Heidi, Walter, Stu and (briefly) Logan: planted onions in the lower thin bed in the East bed; mounded up the potatoes with more Mt Albert soil and then covered them with grass clippings and planted 4 capsicums in amongst them; cut out the broad beans from amongst the jerusalem artichokes (to enable the j.a.'s to toughen up to the wind as they are supposed to be a windbreak); cut out broadbeans from another strip in the South bed to prepare for planting; spread the plants on the upper half of the West bed and then covered with grass clippings, mulched the peach and fig trees with grass clippings, and gave as many things as possible a water.


8/11/2009: Treasure Hunt Day! Heidi added a few sunflowers to replace the ones the slugs had eaten.

1/11/09 Walter, Anne and Heidi watered the sunflowers, mounded up the potatoes, adding some of the Mt Albert soil, hoed down a few of the weeds in the North bed where the mustard was, and then covered these three areas with grass clipppings. The potatoes are looking great. The sunflowers are too, but need a few replacements from where the slugs have been at work. Luckily I have a few more at home - Heidi.


potatos coming up

Sunflowers just planted

Broad beans


18/10/2009: Deryns sign is up! Thanks Walter.

garden sign


17/10/09: Crea, Logan, Walter and Anne felled the first of the broadbeans making a planting bed for sunflowers. Four days on and the freshly planted sunflowers are looking very healthy. (Spot them in the photo below. Thanks Heidi for such lovely seedlings. There were plenty of grass clippings so everything got a remulch. Another path has been established next to the sunflowers. The potatoes are looking very healthy.


16/10/2009: A very cool bbq! photos comming.


3/10/2009: Keith, Michelle, Stu, Logan, Heidi: Picked up bundles of bamboo from Seacombe's Rd and put around back of shed. Picked up some concrete edging from Huia Rd and put around North and West beds. Weeded some of the grass at the side of beds and mulch pile. Spread grass clippings into all the beds, notably onto the small East beds, where the mustard hasn't done well. This time we spread it thickly, forfeiting the mustard. Planted a parsley plant. Put some bricks as path in the South bed, between where sunflowers and tomatoes will go.


2/10/2009: First potatoes are well and truly up. Walter and I unloaded a pile of cardboard ready to retame the area behind the sheds. Walter has finished drawing the garden plan and it's currently under the shed.


26/9/2009: Heidi planted a fig tree in the planter box by the fence and spread grass clippings in the North bed.


19/9/2009: Anne, Walter, Heidi: We paced out and marked the boundaries of different crops for the garden plan; planted potatoes; planted bananas from Megan down by the bottom fence; planted snapdragons in amongst the jerusalem artichokes; planted a peach seedling and a rooted grape cutting by the side fence in the planter boxes; spread the grass clippings in the North bed and around the new plantings; cut off about a foot from one side of the compost heap to see whether the kikuyu was still green in the middle (a very few bits were); piled these cuttings on top of the compost heap, spread grass clippings and dribbled more cow manure on the top.


15/9/2009: Heidi and Arthur planted jerusalem artichokes from Ellen amongst the broadbeans in the top half a metre of the South bed.


13/9/2009: Ally has planted some potatoes in the bed next to the compost. (this is now called the Rangi bed) Sara has supplied us with several more bags of beautifully sprouting heritage potatoes to fill the rest of the bed. Jenny Yolanda and Anne mulched our beans with straw as things were looking a little dry. Our compost is beginning to cool, the middle is well rotten but the edges are showing alarming signs of growth. Something will need to be done! Overall the garden looks really happy. cheers Anne


5/9/2009: Ally and Heidi trimmed the delicious compost heap as the shaggy sides were looking a bit dry. We layered the top with the trimmings and with grass clippings and small woodchips. Ally also planted Ellen's taro along the bottom of the bed by the shed.


30/Aug/2009: 9.00am Ellen dropped off some Taro for us to plant! The compost crew didn't show in numbers and so with some reluctance we, Walter, Guido and Anne set off in mid morning to gather more compost ingredients. We are getting pretty good at cutting kikuya and soon had the trailer full. Then it started to rain. Heidi organised a stacking crew, Logan, Stuart Galina and Walter. Keith called by to admire the heap and contribute some horse manure. (very nice looking stuff) Watching from the dry, the builders were incredibly efficent and the heap is bigger, hotter and steamier than ever before! Forgot to mention that the cow pooh was collected the day before by Anne and Jenny - stired by Jo!

building the heap in the wet

more rain around the heap


23/8/2009: Compost-making Day! Fantastic! It felt so much like making lasagne that the pile somehow seemed edible when finished. It's been suggested that a round of applause would be timely, maybe at the next Transition meeting, he he... Anne, Walter, Jo, Guido and Heidi with assorted willing children spent most of the day today, apart from a relaxed lunch and the more child-focused moments. This time the kikuyu was collected from Unitec, and most of the time was spent in layering: kikuyu and cleavers, grass clippings (thanks to Ally's neighbour and to Barb for this), food scraps (thanks to Organic World and to Jo and Guido), cow pooh sludge (thanks to Daisy and friends), weeds (thanks to Jane), wood ash (thanks to Jenny), straw (thanks to Anne and Walter), fine wood chips (thanks to Barb), soil (thanks to Walter and Anne for saving this Mt Albert soil from the dump); stump grindings (thanks to Tree Fellas) and we even trimmed some of the lovely "understorey" weeds at the garden.

Our tips for future piles are: sickles are the best kikuyu-gathering tools, but they need to be sharp! You need to have enough for the people going (didn't have the opportunity to try a scythe, though); gather the cow pooh first so it can soak in water at least overnight; keep the edges of the pile really straight - we stuck some bamboo stakes in to help and kept focussing on the edges, then at the end the edges were trimmed with shears. You only need the kikuyu, cow manure and water, with grass clippings and soil being next most important. Other things are luxuries. Equipment we used: a trailer for the kikuyu but, hey, this could really have been moved by bicycle if enough people had cargo trailers for their bicycles; a barrel for sludge; buckets for manure and for pouring sludge; wheelbarrow; stick for stirring; rake for clearing up, shears for trimming.


22/8/2009: While Walter and Jenny headed off to Mt Albert to collect cow manure, the "other team" headed down to Meola Reef Reserve. There, Anne, Stella, Maria, Barb, Jo, Heidi, Bickio and Arthur collected kikuyu and cleavers using shears and sickles. Sorry no photos taken - H packed the camera into the wrong bag. Heidi also brought some food scraps from Organic World (thanks OW) and Jenny brought untreated wood ash from her own fireplace.


15 & 16/8/2009: Jenny and Megan turned up ...


2/8/2009: Megan, Crea, Jo and Yolanda moved the rest of the rubish today including the hugest, ugliest and more unuseable pieces of concrete. We were impressed with our girl power - they were heavy!! Will still need a plan to get rid  the wheelie bin of broken glass.


1/8/2009: Anne and ?? moved half the rubbish before the rain set in on Saturday.


29/7/2009: Minutes of Old Homestead Community Garden Meeting. What have I forgotten? Anything you want to change? - Heidi

  • Old Homestead Community Garden group to be a subgroup of the gardening group.
  • We'd likd to put a noticeboard in the Old Homestead so all the other groups can see what we're doing and see that they're welcome to join us.
  • Our aims with the Old Homestead Community Garden are to further the aims of the gardening group; for the garden to be a "test case" so we can use the experience to help set up other community gardens in Point Chevalier; to help people learn gardening skills alongside others; to help local people increase their local food intake; to bring the community to the point of needing and implementing community-supported-agriculture.
  • Decision-making: We liked the ideas of trusting each other to make decisions that the TT Lewes group put together (see Point Chev forum). In addition to this, we'd like to plan as much as we can do reasonably, go with the flow as is required when the plan doesn't give the answers, and be as open, friendly and forgiving with each other as possible so that everyone feels safe to join in. Generally, we'd like to make decisions at the working bees if enough people are present.
  • The log book will be used to record everything that is done at the garden.
  • The diary on the website will be used to record what we have done also, in order to show the rest of the TT community and others what we are up to. This is where we will put photos.
  • The task list on the website will be used to discuss options for jobs. Each cell can expand with comments until the task is completed, and then it can be reduced down to "Done" or similar. It is also a good place for people to show how much of a task they've done so other people know whether they should head down for a working bee.
  • We don't intend at this point to run structured courses (although the need for them was expressed by Jo) but can advertise learning a specific skill set by saying "learn how to xyz at the Old Homestead Community Gardens this Saturday with an experienced gardener." Also, to ease the inclusion of new, inexperienced gardeners, we can offer "buddying up" with a more experienced gardener.
  • We can put ads in the local paper, at the Old Homestead, in the library for people to join us. There is a case for trying not to expand too fast so we can really learn about the process while it stays small, in order to use our knowledge with setting up further community gardens. However, there is also a case for trying to grow as a group (organically, without pushing too hard), so we are also learning about that process. (Note from Heidi: Funding is generally more available to groups that are inclusive, so I recommend we do try to increase our membership.)
  • Working bees are set for Saturdays at 3 pm and Sundays at 9:30.
  • People can work at the garden whenever they want.
  • We gave numbers for a phone list so people can ring up others and say "I'm heading down, do you want to come?"
  • Ellen has organised someone from Council to pick up the rubbish. We will need to move it up to the carpark. We decided to do it this weekend at the working bees.
  • Ellen suggested we find a source of bamboo now, cut it as a weed-management help, and let it dry out over the next couple of months before we use it in the summer.
  • Ellen mentioned a man at Awhitu who sells grafted fruit trees for $7, so we'll pursue that - take it to the gardening group.
  • We need to make it clear what plants are planted in the beds with signs. Jenny suggested a post with wooden signs off it that point to the particular crops. This was suggested as too fragile and open to vandalism. Lower labels, possibly made from cut up aluminium venetian blinds was suggested.

25/07/2009: Sara, Anne and Walter laid down cardboard on the paths and covered them with mulch. Heidi, Jenny, Catherine, Megan and Anne moved mulch and stump grindings down to a pile in the messy area. Logan dug up the bit of grass path on the left hand side of the garden and filled it with mulch. Heidi threw stump grindings over all the garden beds - one small wheelbarrow load on the North and South beds, half a load on the West bed and a sprinkling over the East beds.

Sat 25th July.2_community garden

Sat 25th July.all mulched_community garden

Sat 25th July_ community garden

Sat 25th July_ community garden

Happy gardener

Heidi planting

Logan and gardener discuss

Men working


24/07/2009: On behalf of the Pt Chevalier TT gardening group,  I want to express our sincere appreciation to Russell from Tree Fellas for donating all this wonderful local mulch for the Community Garden.

Fri 24th July.2_community garden_looking back at hall

Fri 24th July.3_community garden

Fri 24th July_community garden


19/7/2009: In order to make space for mulch and grass clippings to be dropped off, Sara, Ellen and Heidi met for another working bee today. "Designing on the spot", we made two mini-beds within the East bed (the one closest to the driveway's way-in), so that access was easier. Heidi collected cardboard from Countdown because there wasn't enough newspaper. At the end we sowed mustard in these mini-beds. So a pile of soil still remains, but there is space for mulch and grass clippings to be dropped off if necessary.


18/7/2009: Wow we had our biggest working bee yet: Keith, Carla, Galina, Ruth, Aliah, Jenny, Deryn, Megan, Jo and Heidi! Some of the remaining soil pile was spread on top of the newspaper on the North bed (the one by the shed). Broad beans were sown there and covered with more soil. Concrete posts from down in the messy area were pulled out and put in as edging on the South bed (the one closest to Alberta Ave but further away from Pt Chevalier Rd). Grass was cleared from the new ornamental bed along the Western fence. These turfs were used to form the sides of a compost bin down in the messy area.


15/07/2009: Register of inputs and crops for each bed to ensure soil health is maintained. Examples of inputs are grass clippings, mulch, blood and bone. Let's discuss this at the next garden group meeting.

North Bed 29/6/09: Newspaper 18/7/09: Mt Albert soil, broad beans, 25/7/09: Puriri stump grindings
West Bed 29/6/09: Sheep Pellets. 23/7/09: Mustard seeds. 25/7/09: Puriri stump grindings.
South Bed 5/7/09: Newspaper 11/7/09: Tree mulchings, coffee grinds, broad beans 14/7/09: Barley Straw. 25/7/09: Puriri stump grindings.
East Bed 29/6/09: Newspaper, 19/7/09: Cardboard, Mt Albert soil, mustard seeds. 25/7/09: Puriri stump grindings.

11/7/2009: Yesterday we were gifted a load of topsoil from the sides of Mt Albert Volcano. It is around 5 cubic metres of reddish soil. It needs a bit of organic matter added but is pretty good. This morning Heidi, Deryn, Logan (and Arthur) spread half of it on one of the garden beds, planted some magic beans (broad ones), sprinkled these with soil and lastly covered the top with Ellen's mulch - mulched tree prunings and three huge bags of coffee grinds. Hopefully this mulch will protect the surface from this coming storm.

Bean Bed

Pile of Dirt


6/7/2009: Inspired by the meeting yesterday I wanted to test out how a table might work for listing jobs to do. Please feel free to modify or adapt as you see fit. Cheers Anne


6/7/2009: Yesterday we met at the Old Homestead and covered the remaining garden bed with newspaper in just quarter of an hour! We discussed the rainwater tank, getting rid of the rubbish, approaching stump grinding, tree-pruning, and lawn-mowing businesses for mulch, We were unable to plant the broad beans as the soil was too wet: Keith and Heidi will endeavour to do so during the week; if you can help, please contact Heidi on 8465646. Then we carpooled to Jenny's garden in Te Atatu. Jenny has some seriously amazing greens in her garden. I'm sure that Jenny's laissez-faire approach must be only part of the secret - her soil has something my soil doesn't! We discussed ways to track the work needed and completed at the Old Homestead, and will pursue the idea of putting some table on this web page, or using GoogleDocs.

Point Chevalier Garden Group

Point Chevalier Garden Group

Point Chevalier Garden Group

Point Chevalier Garden Group

Point Chevalier Garden Group

Point Chevalier Garden Group

Point Chevalier Garden Group


3/7/2009: Our group is buzzing. We've been offered the use of some land at The Old Homestead in Point Chevalier Road to grow more vegetables than we can manage in our own gardens. What shall we plant? Potatoes, kumara, corn, pumpkins, carrots, beans to dry, maybe tomatoes for bottling? What an opportunity to welcome the public into growing food in Point Chevalier! It's a square of grass which used to be a vege garden until about 5 years ago, so the soil shouldn't be too bad. Last weekend we had our first working bee there, and managed to lay out some paths, which divided the area into four garden beds. We also dug over one quarter of the garden beds, and covered two beds with carpet, newspaper and cardboard. This weekend we intend to plant broadbeans in the one dug bed, spread some lime, and to maybe clear a little of the rubbish that someone has dumped in a corner. It's so exciting. Plans could include a subtropical area, grapes or passionfruit or kiwifruit on the fences, citrus areas... wee hee. Gardening dreams are so delicious. At the garden group meeting this Sunday we're going to discuss what the group would like to do with the land, so come along and be part of the planning!





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