Now that most of this year’s plants are safely in the ground, you might think the Tossi team can relax. This year we planted almost 19,000 plants. These are a mix of more than 20 native species. The bulk of this was achieved over three public planting days supported by more than 400 volunteers. The biggest turnout was in June when 180 turned up to help us celebrate the planting of the 200,000th plant grown in Tawharanui’s on-site nursery. Extra planting has been undertaken by school and corporate groups. Specialist planting has occurred during Tuesday nursery group sessions. We also planted 2500 grasses to help with dune restoration.
However, there is no time for rest. With the planting done it’s time to grow another 20,000 plants for next year’s planting season. The work started months ago with the collection of seed from the park or other approved locations in the surrounding area. Already seeds are being germinated. When they get to the correct size they will be “pricked out”. This is a fiddly job done by a dedicated team who carry out the work with precision. Plants are placed in trays of 60 in individual tubes. They are then put in the shade house to await the next step in their journey. After three months or so the seedlings will be large enough to transfer into planter bags. This is done by a team gathered around a bagging trailer. They will generally use a cubic metre of potting mix in a morning session, but on a good day this may double. The bags are loaded into trays and placed outside to enjoy the sunshine and rain.
How long does the journey take? Seed collected in 2015 may be sown in June 2016 and raised to plantable stage by May 2017. The slower maturing species will take another year or so.
When is the work done? A team of volunteers turn up at the nursery each Tuesday at 9am and work through to midday. They have a break for a great morning tea supplied by the bakers amongst the team. Over the summer, many of the campers staying in the park campground will join to help with the bagging. As well as growing plants, there are many other jobs to keep the nursery team busy. Currently, we are cleaning up the nursery and improving the facilities where needed. This year we are building a new shade area for the more sensitive plants. Weeding and trimming of the plants is required, plus maintenance and operation of the watering system.
If you want to help you are welcome to join us on a Tuesday. Just make sure you wear shoes and a sun hat, and bring some gardening gloves.
Roger Grove, TOSSI