Propagation workshops help farming communities

Around 40 people attended two propagation workshops held in June and July in Hinds and Hawarden to learn how to grow and plant the most suitable plants for their properties.  

Planting has many environmental and conservation benefits – including providing habitat for birds, improving water quality, and protecting soil and land from erosion.

Farmers were shown how to propagate eco-sourced native seeds to protect and enhance biodiversity values by using appropriate plants for an ecological area and the environmental conditions.

The workshops were organised by the NZ Landcare Trust and Mid Canterbury Catchment Collective, and led by plant experts from Wai-ora Nursery, with support from Environment Canterbury.

The Wai-ora Nursery team advised farmers the best time to collect most types of seeds for propagation is between January and April, with the optimal planting periods being in autumn for dry sites and spring for wet sites.

Farmers keen to learn

Tony Watson from NZ Landcare Trust, who coordinates the Managing Wetlands as Farm Assets project, said they were impressed by the enthusiasm shown by local farmers who wanted to understand more about how to grow the right plants for their area.

“The Hawarden event was fully subscribed and builds on some great work going on in this community, led by organisations like Hurunui District Landcare Group, Hurunui Biodiversity Trust and Hurunui District Council,” he said.

“There was a really positive vibe in the room which only increased as people got their hands dirty, sowed their choice of eco-sourced mānuka or carex seeds, and had a go at pricking out some seedlings,” he added.

Participants at the workshop

Keen farmers taking tips from the Hawarden workshop.

Participants at the workshop.

Propagating lessons at the Hinds workshop.

Expert advice

Tony said he was grateful to have the team from Wai-ora Nursery give a practical demonstration, answer questions, and share planting tips.

“This really added to the local knowledge willingly shared by farmers and landowners who have been growing plants on farm too,” he said.

“It’s pretty clear that demand for native plants is exceeding the ability of local nurseries to supply. Rather than bring in plants from other parts of the country, we’re working hard to encourage landowners to plant locally sourced plants, and propagation days like this give people confidence to have a go at growing some of their own,” he added.

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