Lower Hutt is a great place for gardening. A large part of the city used to serve as market gardens and in many places we are blessed with luscious river silt soils. With a bit of planning, even the clay rich soil on our windy hillsides can be fantastic for growing food almost all year round. We can offer you advice on how to get started and tips to help you along your way.
Why gardening is important
- It can take money off your food bill. Food gardening can give you access to fresh, tasty and healthy food and can also reduce your weekly shopping budget. It can increase your personal resilience and ensures a healthy diet regardless of your economic circumstances.
- It keeps you fit. Gardening can provide gentle exercise and is a good activity to do outside without the cost and strain of having to go to a gym.
- It's good for the environment. Maintaining a native or decorative garden enhances biodiversity and helps look after our bird and insect populations by giving them habitats.
- It's clean. Gardening doesn't have to involve chemical sprays. See our brochures below for lots of tips on natural, chemical free gardening.
- It's cheap. You can build a garden from recycled materials, save or swap your own seeds, propagate your own plants and make your own compost and fertiliser.
- It's good for your mental health. Gardening gets your creative juices flowing and provides an opportunity to connect with nature's beauty in a peaceful environment. It gives you the satisfaction of nurturing and caring for something.
- It impresses the neighbours. A well looked after garden and vegetable plot can be the talk of the neighbourhood. Whether you want to take a stand for food self-reliance, liberate your lawn or convert the front yard to potatoes, you are sure to impress!
- It feels good. Becoming steward of a small patch of earth carries the reward of "doing the right thing" and being one of millions who are helping heal a wounded planet, one garden at a time.
It keeps you safer. Having your own source of food independent of supply chains, long distance transport and industrial agriculture increases your resilience in the event of disaster. Supermarket supplies last for three days or less if deliveries are interrupted for any reason. Your garden can last forever!
Learn more about gardening
Download one of our brochures:
Check out these online resources:
Further web resources
American Community Gardening Association
This site contains many articles and tips covering different topics related to community gardening, garden organising, general gardening and horticulture.
Create Your Own Eden
This website covers three elements:
- Composting: traditional composting using a heap or bin
- Vermiculture (or worm farming)
- Bokashi: aka effective micro-organisms
Offers a range of locally adapted, organically grown seeds.
Kath Irvine teaches permaculture design and edible gardening to schools and community groups and promotes a series of workshops run from her home garden in Ohau. Kath blogs on gardening tips, recipes and news. You can subscribe to these on the website.
Edible Garden NZ
This website contains a great catalogue of fruit trees with very helpful information on each. They are stockists of Koanga heritage varieties.
On this website you'll find a handy calendar of what to plant and when. You can select your NZ climate zone and see what can be planted now, in trays or into beds, and when it will be ready for harvest. Or you can look up individual plant species to find the growing directions for your climate zone.
Gardener's guide to Matariki
An NZ Herald article on planting around the moon calendar. For more on Matariki see the Kiwi Families article on Matariki which includes information on Matariki crop harvest and planting.
Garden to table
This programme was set up in New Zealand to educate primary-school-aged children about how fresh seasonal food is grown, harvested prepared and shared.
An American site, similar to NZ's OOOOBY, for "folks who celebrate the "culture" in agriculture and share skills like growing, cooking and food preservation."
Incredible Edible Todmorden
A group of passionate people working together towards a world where we all share responsibility for the future wellbeing of our planet.
An online seed shop with a huge range that includes some organic seed, sprouting seeds, green mulches, etc.
The institute has been collecting and growing old fruit trees, vegetables and flowers for 25 years to conserve the seed. They are particularly focused on New Zealand heirlooms. Download their moon planting calendar from their website - it updates to follow the seasons.
Advice on organic gardening practices.
Love Plant Life
A blog devoted to useful plants (and gentle humour) - "the kinds we love because they sustain our life. Plants provide all the materials we need to live and do so in the cleanest and greenest of ways".
National Beekeepers' Association of New Zealand
A good place to start for advice and finding a local group.
New Zealand Gardener - Hints & Tips for Kiwi Gardeners
Check out this online resource centre for tips and ideas for your garden, including PDF's of features that you can download and print out.
An online guide and marketplace for organics in New Zealand, including a gardening page with a range of articles.
Out of our own backyard (OOOOBY)
An online community for (mostly) New Zealanders who are interested in growing and eating local food.
Permaculture in New Zealand
Various forums and resources relating to permaculture in NZ and overseas. Get information about permaculture courses in New Zealand.
Daniel Sjöberg talks about creating solutions for self-reliance.
Another source of quality NZ heirloom organic seeds.
The Urban Farmer
The website of urban farmer Curtis Stone. Includes links to his free resources, YouTube channel and paid online programme.
You Grow Girl
A great blog focused on growing organic in less than ideal urban spaces - note that it's from Toronto.
Wellington Beekeepers' Association
Groups, forums and information for beekeepers in the Wellington region.