Pop-up gardening in Christchurch

Christchurch, the third-biggest city in New Zealand, has had a terrible time the last years. They got hit with a huge earthquake in 2010, an even more traumatic one in 2011, and then the quakes and uncertainty just kept coming. The city centre has long been razed but the go-ahead for new building hasn’t really come until recently.

Meanwhile, life goes on. A tough call, but it does.

We were in Christchurch recently visiting our colleagues at EMNZ and ZingBokashi, they’re doing a great work and have been for many years. (And when the earthquake damage was at it’s worst they were out there with truckloads of EM, spraying against smell and potential disease).

They tipped us about the great Agropolis community garden right in the heart of town. It’s a true pop-up affair, the signs are up for the current property to be sold, then I assume they’ll move on to a new spot yet again.

It’s a great little garden. Truly inspiring to see the spirit behind it, hanging in even when it’s tough, and creating a little spot of beauty and good health in the midst of what is, honestly, a traumatized city centre with a lot of building ahead of it.

The garden is sponsored in part by our EM colleagues. Bokashi and EM are used in the garden beds. Everything is very pragmatic here, they’ve made a great soil factory out of an old pallet-based water tank. (I’m sure these things have a name, just not sure what it is!)

There’s a productive greenhouse (plastic tunnel style) on site, information about when the next work session is, a practical watering system round the boxes and a great design on the garden beds. Lots of wooden shipping pallets here!

Anyhow, enjoy the pictures! Hope you’ll be inspired to pass them on to a community garden you know of.

You don’t need an earthquake to get this to happen!



Fresh and healthy herbs and veggies. You quickly forget what once was…


…until you look up at the backdrop.


Smart use of shipping pallets.


Yep. It works!


Coffee sacks. Not an idea I’d ever thought of. But then again, there’s a coffee roasters across the street…


Giant size bokashi bin.


Which is mixed with soil in this highly-pragmatic soil factory.


Fresh and healthy all right.


Smart use of stacked plastic crates with bokashi soil.


The for sale sign is up. The nature of the best for pop-up community gardens.


Just a practical detail from the watering system.




5 thoughts on “Pop-up gardening in Christchurch

  1. I love New Zealand. Amazing what a bit of thought and hard work can do (and some Bokashi, of course). Pity something like this could not be worked on in Calais. Good for the soul, too. Thanks guys. Any way I could re-blog this? Or better still get it on to the clevercomposting Fan Page? Love your work.

    1. Thanks Barbara! I’d be honored if you’d repost it or rewrite it or whatever. Feel free to use the pics. The more we can spread these optimistic stories the better, don’t you think?
      All the best! /Jenny

  2. Mike Daly emnz and Neville with his bokashi buckets have done a terrific job in promoting EM, Mike has ben to Australia a number of times over the years promoting EM. Just goes to show what can be achieved making a garden with a bit of ingenuity . The plastic containers are called 1000 litre tokes, or palletcoms.

    1. Aha, so that’s what they’re called! Thanks Fred! It was great meeting both Mike and Neville in NZ, interesting to compare notes about what’s happening in Europe and downunder. Loved seeing what they’re doing! Are you based in Australia or NZ? Any good stories to share?! Cheers! Jenny

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