Autumn 2023

Article: Andy Hrast (Canberra Organic – Autumn 2023).

Dear fellow COGS member

What a mild summer we are having. Its mid-January and there have been only a few days where the temperature has exceeded 30 degrees. There is, of course, still plenty of summer to come for hot weather.

The cooler and wetter conditions have meant that our gardens are thriving and are looking great — even if some of the crops have been somewhat slower than usual to develop. I have not heard of anybody having tomatoes, grown in the open, ready to harvest by Christmas this year.

The heavy rain, as a result of three La Niñas over the past few years, has meant that there is a lot of sub-soil moisture. So, with judicious use of mulch, the need for watering has been kept to a minimum saving gardeners time and COGS the cost of the water.

The Weather Bureau is forecasting the end of La Niña and so we are likely to return in the coming year to more normal and drier conditions. Those gardens that have been flooded and water-logged will appreciate the drier conditions.

COGS finished 2022 in a strong financial position because of the low water usage over the past 3 years. It’s in a position to meet future higher costs of water when there is the inevitable return to drought conditions.

Its pleasing to see that several gardens are, after the restricted COVID years, bringing forward projects for funding and taking advantage of COGS’s financial strength. Over the past twelve months COGS has, or is currently funding, projects at Charnwood (partly grant-funded), Betty Cornhill, Erindale, Cook, O’Connor, Kambah and Oaks Estate community gardens. If you have an idea for your garden, now is the time to bring it forward for funding.

The strong demand for plots in COGS gardens continues. Discussions with the ACT Government about additional gardens have so far been unsuccessful. On a more positive note, negotiations with the developers of Ginninderry, in west Belconnen, to include a community garden at Strathnairn are progressing well.

With the lifting of the COVID restrictions it was great to see gardens organising Christmas functions. Oaks Estate and Kambah community gardens also held successful open days in November. Well done to the garden committees in both gardens. I hope we will see more garden events in 2023.

The Kambah community garden open day was the celebration of their 21st birthday and part of the larger Tuggeranong Southfest festival. An estimated 500 people visited the garden including MLA’s and Minister Vassaroti to cut the garden’s birthday cake.

The social dimension and involvement with the wider community are a very important parts of COGS gardens.

Below is the notice of the COGS AGM to be held at 2.00pm on Sunday, 19 March 2023 at the Kambah community garden. All positions on the Executive Committee will become vacant.

COGS is a relatively large community organisation run entirely by volunteers. If we had pay for the work done by the volunteers our fees would have to be much higher. Please consider putting yourself forward for a position on the Executive.

The work on the COGS Executive is varied and interesting and includes financial management, editing the magazine, taking part in radio programs, website and other social media development and management, negotiating with developers and making representations to Ministers. It is very rewarding volunteer work. The COGS Constitution limits the President to three consecutive terms and therefore my three terms will be up in March.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all the people who have been on the Executive Committee and the garden Convenors over those three terms. Thank you. I am very grateful for all the work you do. You are the guys that keep COGS going. Finally, a very special thank you to Rebecca, the editor of this magazine, who will be stepping down after four years in the position. You have done a fantastic job producing a very professional high-quality magazine. We wish you well as you move into your next stage in life, of motherhood.

Happy gardening everyone

—Andy Hrast