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Wairau Valley Special School students sow cover crops

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Students from Wairau Valley Special School have been leading the work to sow cover crops at the Te Hōnonga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park project.

The students have been mixing cover crop seeds with Untangled’s live compost inoculant and spreading it across the site.

Matt Cummings from Untangled says there are several species of cover plants, which fill the same the ecological niche previously filled by the blackberry and kikuyu on the site but in a way that’s less aggressive and more conducive to nursing the young native trees that will be planted amongst them.

The cover crop has a variety of jobs – it will cover and stabilise the soil, form a low canopy for moisture retention over summer, hinder kikuyu and weed regrowth, provide organic matter (photosynthates) and break up compaction.

“Most importantly they provide energy for our microorganisms that were introduced via the compost. They're the engine which allows transformation of the soil,” Matt says.

The seeds are already starting to sprout.

Project co-ordinator Nicky Shave says the students from Wairau Valley Special School have done an amazing job at the site.

As well as sowing the cover plants, the students were among the first to plant trees as part of the Spring planting programme.

“It’s been fabulous to have students from local schools support our project and learn more about what we’re doing at the site.”

Eric Crumley, from Wairau Valley Special School, says the students are benefiting from having a wider impact in their local community and are enjoying working as a group.

"We're excited to see how the site continues to change and develop over time."

This cover crop work was also supported by volunteers at our planting days across September.

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