Summer 2021

Article: Andy Hrast (Canberra Organic – Summer 2021)

The last three months, since the last edition of the Canberra Organic, have been a difficult time with the lockdown in the ACT.

As COGS gardeners, we have been fortunate that the COGS gardens have been able to be kept open for the permitted exercise during the lockdown. Initially one hour per day, then increasing to two and then four hours per day. I know most of our gardeners have taken advantage of the opportunity. I think I am safe in saying we are all mentally better off for having had the garden option for outside exercise available to us!

Thank you to everyone for following the conditions that we had to impose to keep the gardens open, including the use of the ‘Check-In CBR’ app.

The inability to have organised working bees during the spring growing season has meant that a backlog of work has developed. An innovative approach of a ‘virtual working bee’ has been used by some gardens to keep on top of the most immediate work to keep or gardens operating as well as keeping the spring growth, during this very wet spring, under control. A big thank you to all the people who put in many hours of their time, this year and in the past.

The lockdown has meant the holding of garden AGMs in their usual format has not been possible during September. The COGS Executive Committee agreed to extend the time for holding of garden AGMs to the end of October, as well as encouraging virtual meetings. Thank you to Peter Weddell from the Cook community garden for developing the techniques for these virtual meetings, which have been taken up by more than half the gardens.

The COGS Executive Committee has continued to operate during the last few months, as it has for most of the last two years — with the use of Zoom conferencing. This has enabled us to keep COGS operating and meet all of our operational and regulatory requirements. We have become quite adept!

The spring edition of Canberra Organic was produced as an electronic-only edition and emailed to all COGS members because the printer we use was closed due to the lockdown. The COGS Executive Committee decided that the printed version of the spring magazine would instead be sent out to those that receive a hard copy, with the summer edition. For some members, that’s why you have received two magazines at once! Earlier this year, a Strategic Planning Workshop was held which identified a number of areas of work for COGS. There is a report elsewhere in the magazine on how that is progressing. There are two pieces of work that I particularly want to highlight: the infrastructure review and the review of the COGS Constitution. There are reports on both areas of work in this edition of the magazine.

The infrastructure review identified gaps in garden resources and identified priorities. Thank you to everyone involved, especially Neil Williams who coordinated that work. As a result for the first time COGS has an overall view of the infrastructure and resources in its garden and this means investment can be accurately targeted. COGS is in the fortunate position of being in a strong financial position and I encourage gardens to come forward with proposals for funding of the areas identified in the review or other needs that may have emerged.

The review and updating of the COGS constitution is also progressing well to bring it into line with current legislation and practices in use in COGS. There will be more on that work in coming editions of the magazine.

Finally, congratulations to the Holder Garden with their successful bid for an ACT Government grant to upgrade their water reticulation system.

With a favourable weather outlook and the end of the lockdown, we can look forward with confidence to a bountiful harvest this season.

Happy gardening!