A new community garden is taking shape on a piece of unused land in Matai St, Castlecliff.

Yesterday the green space was buzzing with about 20 locals and other helpers enjoying a shared lunch and digging in a vegetable garden.

The project was started by Matai St resident Phil Holden.

"It's an unused space and a few of us neighbours thought it would be cool to have gardens and fruit trees," he said.

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Mr Holden got permission from Whanganui District Council to use the land and began composting on the site.

He said eventually he would like to hold workshops at the gardens, teaching people how to grow their own produce.

"I like the idea of growth, simplicity, healthy food and how to produce it - and I'd like to get the local kids involved."

The gardens were planted yesterday with a wide variety of donated plants including beetroot, perpetual spinach, lemon balm and broccoli. Fruit trees will be put in at a later date. Mr Holden hoped the gardens would help bring the community together so people could know each other better.

Celeste Arbuckle heard about the idea from Facebook and came along because she wanted to learn how to garden.

"I brought some broccoli and some cauliflower plants and hopefully I can learn how to plant them and look after them."

-To find out more about the Matai St community garden, search for "Matai Street community garden" on Facebook.