Summer newsletter – 2021

by | Dec 1, 2021 | Summer

President’s Message


Dear Community Gardeners,

Recent rain has made summer maintenance much easier. We missed our end of year get together because of the rain.

Keep the date – Sunday 16 January 2022
We will be having a working bee (10am-12 noon) and BBQ (12 noon to 2pm). This will be socially distanced as much as possible and open to fully vaccinated members. See you there.

If you can’t make this one, our next Working Bee and BBQ will be on Sunday 21 Feb 2022.

Thank you
I would like to acknowledge the work of our retiring Secretary, Nick Brennan, who has joined Marie-Paule and the rest of his family in Melbourne. Nick worked hard to set up great administrative processes for the garden and was a valued member of our garden community.

Thanks also to Helen Connell who has agreed to stay on as Treasurer for 2022. We have welcomed Bruce Nockles (Plot 23) and Greg Vaughan (Plot 7) and Jeni Black (Plot 45) as new Committee members joining Virginia Pearce (Plot 33) and Susie Muller (Plot 47) who are continuing Committee members.

We have had help from Alex Simpson (member) who has designed our website (now live) with input from Vanessa Steele (Plot 26), Jeni Black (Plot 45) and the Committee.

Covid vaccination requirement for members over 12 years

While the garden is outdoors, equipment and hoses are shared and at times social distancing can be difficult in communal garden settings. So new rules have been formulated around Covid requirements to keep our garden community as safe as possible.

Following consultation with Woollahra Council, the Committee determined at the 7 December 2021 meeting, that it will be a condition of membership that all members over 12 years of age who use the garden must be fully vaccinated.

For this reason, the membership renewal form must include all family members who will be entering the garden and confirm their full vaccination status.

Only members listed on the Membership Renewal form and their nominated family members (family membership) may visit the garden.

Annual Membership renewal and plot fees are due by 16th January 2022

Please go to the membership renewal page on the website (password cpcgrenewal) to renew your membership before the 16th January 2022. 

Part of the renewal process involves agreeing to the Cooper Park Community Garden Members’ User Agreement (Rules). These are the garden rules that you agree to follow as a member of the garden. These have been updated so please read them carefully before you renew your membership.

Please complete your membership renewal form, pay your fees noting your plot number and surname on the bank payment reference.

We have 8 members on the waiting list for a garden plot and a substantial waiting list for membership, so if you are not renewing your rental on a plot please advise the committee by email to as soon as possible.

Members who don’t want to commit to an individual plot are welcome to pay only the membership fee and join in the Community Garden Taskforce groups, working bees and events.

CPCG Organising Committee Meetings

The Organising Committee meets on the first Tuesday of the month. Our next meeting is on 1 Feb. Feel free to email the committee with any Agenda items you would like discussed –

Enjoy life in the Garden – Torsten Blackwood, President

Garden Entry

A new combination lock will be installed on the gate in February 2022. You will find out the entry combination after you have completed your membership renewal. Members only may enter the garden. If you need assistance in getting into the garden over February you can call Torsten Blackwood (0418 164 031) or Bruce Nockles (0419 634 494).

Weeds & pest control

To protect the garden, please clear all fruit from the ground and take out tomato plants that are badly blown. Dispose of these carefully. Put a fruit fly trap in your garden if you are growing fruiting plants – e.g chilli, eggplant, tomatoes, capsicum. Make sure to keep weeds out of pathways and areas around your garden bed.

Time for soil improvement

Now is a perfect time to add organic matter to build soil condition and improve water retention. Add cow manure, some dynamic lifter and loads of compost. If you follow the mulch school add some sugar cane mulch. Then dig everything in very well and your garden will say thank you.

Research in the Garden

We are always battling pests in the garden. Now we have some help.

Based at the Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute in Menangle, Dr Anil Raghavendra, a plant pathologist with the Department of Primary Industries, NSW, is currently working on a project to improve plant biosecurity in community gardens. Dr Raghavendra aims to explore and improve the role community gardens play in mitigating risks posed by exotic pests and support the Australian plant biosecurity system.

Dr Raghavendra is collecting baseline information — through surveys — on the understanding of biosecurity and plant health surveillance in general among the members of community gardens. The goal is to use the information collected to develop activities and workshops to encourage greater engagement by members in terms of plant health surveillance and reporting exotic pests.

Dr Raghavendra is also trying to detect the prevalence of an exotic pest, the spotted winged drosophila, by putting traps in community gardens in the greater Sydney area.

We will have a trap in the garden for around for two weeks and the contents will be sent to a diagnostics team for identification. We will keep you informed of the project as it progresses. We hope he catches something before this blue tongue lizard does.

Ruth’s communal plot (38)

Plot 38 is a memorial garden dedicated to Ruth Osen, a founding member of our garden (pictured here in one of her many volunteer roles). I thought I would introduce her to those members who did not meet her. Full of positive energy for community projects and always ready to lend a hand to others, Ruth would be thrilled to find her finger lime (also pictured) is bearing fruit for the first time as the centrepiece of the garden she created. We miss her.

Meet Lulu (family member plot 4)

My name is Lulu and my family and I were recently granted a plot at the Cooper Park Community Garden. We got so excited and bought all the seeds and seedlings and soil, but then we realised we had no idea where to start! That’s where everyone at The Community Garden pitched in. They instructed us on how to lay the dirt, how often to water it in preparation before we planted, gave us tips on the best way to plant and separate our seeds and seedlings, and pointed us in the right direction when we were confused. They answered our million questions and helped us a lot! And now, two or so months later, our plot is thriving, we are having monster green salads every week, and overall we are having the best of fun! 

To top it off we witnessed an expert split our Australian native beehive so that a local preschool could also share in keeping bees. It was an amazing experience to see inside the hive, the shapes the bees made were like an incredible sculpture.

Thanks to all that have helped us settle into the extraordinary life at Cooper Park Community Garden!


Growing garlic is mostly about experience growing/trialling in your own patch and microclimate, but if you want a bit of information to get ready for next year’s crop try reading Growing Great Garlic by Ron Engeland (USA) and Garlic by Penny Woodward (Australia).


Fruit fly trap – you must buy and install one of these if you have tomatoes or fruiting plants (e.g. eggplant, capsicum chilli) in your garden bed.

Tip – You need some basic craft skills to assemble. The wick needs to be held in place just under the lid by a wooden skewer or string/elastic band – not supplied with the wick.

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