Autumn newsletter – 2023

by | Mar 16, 2023 | Autumn | 0 comments


President’s Message

Dear Plotters & Friends,

Watering has been on the agenda again as the weather has become warmer with less rain about. I would like to thank all the members who were at our first Working Bee in February for their tremendous efforts getting order back into the garden after our break from November. A number of Committee members were unable to be at the February working bee and I would like to thank Esther, Meagan, Inés, Helen, Bruce, Jessica and Rudi for their involvement on the day.

A warm welcome to some new and not so new members:
Plot 9 Justin Mitchell and family (new last year)
Plot 29 Fiona and Philip Sewell – Taskforce Weeds and Pests
Plot 30 Richard (Ryszard) and Joanna Maleszka pictured below meeting Diane Berner whom they will be joining on the Taskforce for Communal Garden 2B
Plot 39 Annette and Jeffrey Ross – Taskforce Communal Garden 2A
Plot 45 Dinny Decelis – Taskforce Communal Garden 2B
Members without a plot – Vanessa Morgan, Nic Justin and Paul Christie.

How we communicate
The newsletter is how we mostly communicate with our members. We aim for a newsletter each season depending on our volunteer editor’s workload. If you have an item or photo you would like to share in the newsletter, please send it in to email below at least a week before each season (Summer before Jan 1; Autumn before 1 March; Winter before 1 June and Spring before 1 September)
If you don’t receive a newsletter please look in your junk mail and if not there email:
This is the email used to contact Committee members.

Our Working Bees are on the third Sunday of each month from 10am to 12noon.
There is a requirement that members attend at least 5 of the working bees each year. In the warmer months we have a BBQ after some of the working bees to give members a chance to catch up.

Working bees build our garden community and keep the overall garden maintained. That requires members to be on hand to assist Taskforce leaders with planting and maintaining the Communal Plots, weeding and mulching pathways, working on new building projects, managing the compost and conducting pest eradication work. The working bee is a time for you to work with other garden members on whole of garden maintenance. It can also be an opportunity to learn from others.
Please add the dates below to your diary.
Events including working bee reminders will be posted on Instagram –  follow Cooperparkcommunitygarden.

Our taskforce leaders communicate with group members to let them know what needs doing in the communal plots. You will see a list of Taskforce leaders below.

The Cooper Park Organising Committee meets on the first Tuesday of each month to manage garden matters. If you have something you would like on the agenda contact

Here is our Committee.

President Torsten Blackwood
Vice President Virginia Pearce
Treasurer Helen Connell
Secretary: Jeni Black
Non-Executive Members Susie Muller
  Bruce Nockles
  Daniel Bloom
  Greg Vaughan
  Meagan McDonald
  Anna Johns

Recently there have been a couple of incidents in the garden – on one occasion three people jumped the fence and took produce and on numerous occasions the lock on the gate has been vandalised. If you see a stranger in the garden please introduce yourself and ask if the person is a member. If they are not members please accompany them around the garden and encourage them to go onto the website and follow us on Instagram.
Pease report any suspicious activity immediately (preferably while the people are there) to:
Torsten Blackwood (President)
Mob 0418164031 

Co-founder & President CPCG

Photo below: our pergola bearing fruit.

For Member Action

Autumn is a good time to replenish and replant your garden. First add some organic matter and feed your garden, then try seed or seedlings for crops such as beetroot, rocket, spinach, swiss chard, kale, lettuce, rhubarb, broccoli or broccolini. You coud also try artichokes but remember they are quite large plants so there may not be room for other more productive edibles.
Have a look at this website for more information.
Sustainable Gardening Australia
Good luck with cauliflower and other brassicas.  Some CPCG gardeners have given up the battle of with brassica-loving insect pests, namely cabbage moths (Plutella xylostella) and cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae).
Have a look at this website for more information.
The seed collection


Working bee dates for 2023 to add to your diary (note we may have another BBQ in a winter month depending on the weather)
19 March – working bee (10-12) and BBQ (12-2) – Taskforce group working 
16 April – working bee (10-12) and demonstration – soil preparation
21 May – working bee (10-12) and BBQ (12-2)
18 June – working bee (10-12) and demonstration – garden tool maintenance
16 July – working bee (10-12) and demonstration – pest identification and eradication
20 August – working bee (10-12) and demonstration TBA
17 September – working bee (10-12) and BBQ (12-2)
15 October – working bee (10-12) and demonstration – planting from seed
19 November – Festive Season working bee (10-12) and BBQ (12-2)
December 2023 – February 2024 – holiday period – individual maintenance of garden suggested.

Knit and Nat
Each second Wednesday of the month “Knit & Nat” group meets in the garden shed. Please bring your handicraft (it doesn’t have to be knitting) and join Heido for a yarn. BYO cuppa.
12 April from 7:30 pm
10 May from 7:30 pm and so on. (see Shed Door for future dates)

Committee meetings are held each first Tuesday of the month (4 April, 9 May, 6 June, 4 July, 1August, 5 September, 3 October, 7 November, 5 December 2023).To add to the agenda please email

Sharing and Caring

Red Stick Sharing – We like to make sure that garden produce is used and not wasted. If you have produce to share you may like to let others know by placing a red stick in your garden near the produce that is available to share. Other members then know that they are able to harvest from the red stick plants.
Blue Stick Caring – The Committee does a monthly audit of plots to make sure they are being maintained and that there are no pests that will be problematic for the garden. If your garden needs attention you will receive a maintenance required reminder from the Committee.
At times when the Committee has sent a reminder the response has been – we are away for 2 months and will do something when we get back.
This is not a fair use of community garden resources when we have a waiting list of members. Unmaintained gardens can cause weed and pest issues for the whole garden.
If you are going to be away for any length of time or are sick/incapacitated and can’t make it to the garden, you must let the Committee know the time you will be away and what arrangements you have made for garden maintenance and harvesting during your absence. The Committee also asks that prior to your absence you add organic matter to your garden such as compost and mulch to improve water retention and reduce weeds while you are away.
If you intend to be away for an extended time and will not be able to adequately manage an individual plot, please consider passing your plot on to other gardeners who are on the waiting list. You can then join in the Communal Gardening and go on the waiting list for another plot when one becomes available and you are free to spend more time in the garden.
Once you have let the Committee know that your garden is being cared for by other members please put a blue stick in your garden so that any member passing by knows to give the garden a water if they see it is struggling. 

Taskforce Groups and your responsibilities to assist the Taskforce you have joined

Communal Garden 2A Inés Tejero and Jeni Black
Communal Garden 2B Diane Berner and Susan McCalmont
Communal Garden 2C Rudi Adlmayer
Composting Lucille Segal
Design/Build Torsten Blackwood
Weeds and Pests Virginia Pearce

Your responsibilities as a taskforce member
Join a Taskforce
Participate in at least 5 working bees during each year
Stay in touch with your Taskforce Leader and follow their instructions on what needs to be done in the Communal Garden
Water the Commmunal gardens when you are watering your own plot
Weed the Communal garden plots and pathways as necessary when you are in the garden
Keep your taskforce leader informed of the work you have done or anything you see that needs attention in the Communal Gardens.

Weeds and Pests Taskforce Request

Please make it a habit to check for and remove weeds IN AND AROUND your plot each time you visit the garden. If these areas are regularly controlled outside the monthly working bee dates we can spend more time at the working bees on demonstrations and information sharing.
At present there is a lot of creeping oxalis (in plots) which quickly spreads.
Vegetation spilling over your plot boundary is a trip hazard, so please ensure that you control your crop. This is a safety rule of the CPCG.
See photos below for examples:

Meet Jeni who shares plot 33 with Virginia. 

Controlling pests in the garden

Torsten has placed rodent baits in a range of plots. These are red wax cubes that are safe for humans but take out rodents. Please leave them undisturbed in your plot and be assured they are safe for produce gardens.

Fruit fly traps of a commercial size have also been placed around the garden. Please leave these where they are and the Weeds and Pests Taskforce will manage top ups. We have chosen an attractant which we understand is bee friendly.

We aren’t sure if we can call cockatoos pests but these two below are making a meal out of someone’s garden.

Research in the garden

Rachel Taylor-Huckins of the Department of Primary Industries has been given permission to use Cooper Park Community Garden as a test site for an exotic pest survey. Please leave the sticky bug catcher in Ruth’s Garden untouched. To meet their survey requirements the trap has to remain untouched in the garden for one week once installed.

Joseph McComack is a PhD student who will be studying pollinators in Cooper Park Community Garden during the year.

Communal Herb Garden

This garden is for everyone to share. As you walk out of the garden grab some herbs for your next meal and please feel free to water the pots and the garden whenever you see they look a bit dry.


Grow it local 
There are some great free online events coming up on this site. You can subscribe to their monthly newsletter for gardening tips from Grow It Local co-founder, Paul West (of River Cottage fame) and they have a local seed subscription service.