Te Puke Community Garden chairwoman Julie Gray with the moon calendar.
By Stuart Whitaker
They aren't sneaking out at night and planting seedlings, but Te Puke Community Garden volunteers are working by the moon.
The organisation recently got its hands on a moon calendar that was previously part of the community garden in Welcome Bay that has closed down.
Te Puke Community Garden chairwoman Julie Gray says the calendar has been attached to the inside of the door on the community garden shipping container.
The large circular calendar with a slightly smaller diameter dial gives guidance on what to plant when, and when not to plant, related to the phases of the moon.
Julie saw the moon calendar at a meeting at the Welcome Bay Community Garden and decided to apply to Western Bay of Plenty District Council's matching fund for a grant to help the Te Puke garden get its own.
She emailed Ena Velseboer at Welcome Bay to get an idea of the cost.
''I asked here where she had got it made and the cost because I was going to apply,'' says Julie.
''She replied and said 'would you like ours' and I said 'hell, yeah! That would save me having to do all that paperwork for matching funding' - so that's how we ended up with it.''
The community garden already operates on moon calendar principles as much as possible, but the new guide is bigger and more colourful than they one normally used.
''I'm not too sure if it's scientifically proven, but there must be something in it. Everybody seems to do it and I thought okay, as a community garden, let's show that we are doing something. We are totally organic anyway and we are not adding sprays and that sort of stuff.''
The calendar works by aligning the date with the phases of the moon, with the dial then suggesting which crops to plant or that certain days aren't suitable for planting but can be used for soil preparation.
Julie says it is a good resource for explaining things to youngsters.
''I reckon it's quite cool.''
There was a community garden open day last month when the moon calendar was unveiled and when work preparing the beds was done.
Julie says she is particularly grateful to Ena for passing on the moon calendar, to Te Puke Landscapes for compost for topping up the plots and all the volunteers who turned up on the day.
Anyone wanting to volunteer or find out more about the garden can call Julie on 027 630 5935.