What to Consider When Designing a New Community Garden?

As previously mentioned, I am again enjoying the starting stages of a new community garden.  If you have read my earlier post (click link above) you will already know, that I believe coming up with a combined, united vision statement is very important.

I have yet to again meet with the others who are committed to building our new community garden but I thought I would share my vision statement I have prepared (still a work in process).

“Together building an edible and sustainable garden that everyone in our town can love and belong.  A place to learn, inspire and have fun, while creating  financial support to care for our community hall.”

Apart from the vision statement, those committed to building the community garden, have also agreed to bring along their garden designs and plans.  I encouraged everyone to dream big and plan what the completed garden will look like.

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My grand community garden design is drawn on a very large piece of paper and stuck to our kitchen wall – so I can look and ponder, to ensure I have everything included (in the big dream).

What is included in my community garden design?

* meeting, eating, sitting area
* raised wicking beds with worm tunnels
* herb and sensory garden
* benefical insect attracting plants
* BBQ & cob pizza oven
* chickens? pigs? sheep?
* fruit and nut orchards
* water tanks
* glass house
* shed
* vertical garden
* strawbale gardens
* compost and worm farms
* aquaponics
* no dig gardens
* fun direction sign posts
* green manure plants

If you were in my position, what would you put in your community garden design?  I am looking for suggestions on what I may have overlooked.

Biodynamic Composting – a Very Basic Description

Saturday I spent the day with my friends at MacArthur Seed Savers group.

Not only do the Seed Savers share produce and saved seeds with each other but they also run workshops about growing edible food.

Yesterday’s workshop was on ‘biodynamic composting’.

Honestly I have never heard of biodynamic composting but as always keen to learn.

One of the benefits of this particular composting technique is you don’t need to ‘turn’ the compost mixture once competed.

From listening, it apperas biodynamic composting is based somewhere between science and spirituality (a little like moon planting). However like most things in life, some people will stick to the pure techniques and philosophies while other people will only be interested in applying the basics to their gardening skill repertoire.

One workshop doesn’t give me the best understanding to share an expert, detailed description of the biodynamic composting process (especially when I was taking photos).  So if you are interested to know more, this website would be my recommendation.

Otherwise sit back and enjoy the photos and be slightly amused at my lack of descriptive information – hover over the photos (if viewing on a computer but not sure how to ‘hover’ over the photos on a mobile device so you can view the description – any ideas?).

Have you ever heard or tried biodynamic composting? Very interested to learn from your experiences with it!!

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Photograph Sunday – Dailie Flower Happiness

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Dailie flowers are synonymous with country gardens – and they make me happy.  Ever since I can remember, I have called them ‘Day Lillies’, much to the amusement of gardening purists.

Where ever you are around the world today, I hope my dailies put a little sunshine into your day!

Have a great weekend everyone.

What Happened When I Cooked Gluten Free & Vegan Food for the CWA?

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The Country Women’s Association of Australia is an institution.

Since 1922 the CWA have been serving the community – with the aim to improve the conditions for women and children and make life better for families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia.

Over a year ago, I was invited to join my local CWA branch.  Yesterday we all met for our monthly gathering for an ‘Italian’ themed event.

I nominated myself to bring along a gluten free and vegan, Italian dish for everyone to try. I was a little concerned as CWA ladies are well renowned in Australia for their cooking and baking excellence.

So what happened when all the CWA ladies tried my gluten free and vegan roasted tomato pasta sauce? They asked for the recipe!!  Everyone said they couldn’t tell it was gluten free or vegan (a compliment in my books). I received many ‘yummy’ type comments.

Eventhough I have previously posted my roasted tomato pasta sauce recipe, today’s sauce was a different variation.

So here is the recipe for my roasted tomato pasta sauce that the CWA ladies enjoyed (bulk quantities – feed up to 12 hungry people):

30 roma tomatoes
5 large carrots
1 large whole garlic
1 cup of pine nuts
Fresh basil and oregano leaves
Balsamic vinegar

* Preheat oven at 200 degrees C
* Cut tomatoes in half and place cut side up, on a large oven tray
* Cut the carrots in half lengthwise and place in tray
* Peel garlic and separate into individual cloves. Place into the oven tray
* Sprinkle the pine nuts over everything
* Place the basil and oregano leaves on top of everything
* Drizzle oil over everything  (I use rice bran oil)
* Sprinkle sea salt over the top of everything
* Place into the oven for 45 minutes  (turning the mixture half way through)
* Add everything including juices to a food processor and mix well
* Add balsamic vinegar to taste
* Add to your favourite cooked pasta (today I served gluten free pasta)

In closing I wish to say “thankyou” to the ladies of my CWA branch. You have been so warm and friendly towards myself and family. Thankyou for making us feel so welcomed.

Cooking Up a Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce Storm

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I have been cooking up a storm in the kitchen – making my roasted tomato, pasta sauce in bulk.

This pasta sauce fed my family last night.  It will also feed the Ladies at the Picton CWA branch today and the Seed Savers group on Saturday.

All ingredients in my sauce were sourced within a 30 kilometer radius from my home (except the pine nuts):

* Tomatoes and carrots from a local farmer
* Garlic from Little Field Mice Farm
* Basil and oregano from my garden

Do you rely 100% on supermarkets for your food?

Or are you one of the increasing numbers of people taking control of their own food sourcing, growing and producing – their food security?

If you have never grown your own food, it is never too late to join the millions of home growers.  My advice is to start with herbs or rockett lettuce (both will be kind to the beginner).

Data suggest that more than half (52 per cent) of all Australian households are growing some of their own food and a further 13 per cent report they intend to start.

What will you start growing today or what was the very first edible plant you grew?

The Quickest and Easiest Way to Live More Sustainably

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Conveniences is often not convenient.

1000 tones of landfill per year (in Australia alone) is created from the  ‘convenient’ toothbrush. That equates to 30 million toothbrushes.

Their plastic handles will not break down in my life time nor the life time of our Little One.

Changing your toothbrush to an environmentally friendly equivalent, is a quick and easy way to live more sustainably.

My toothbrushes were purchased at www.gogreenathome.com.au

They ship Australia and world wide.

“Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.” ~Johnny Carson

The Dangers of Eating Sultanas

The game started with me laughing.  At two years of age, our Little One finds ‘slap stick’ humourous.

While chatting on the phone, I was trying not to laugh (not to encourage) as our Little One put sultanas up her nose – so they dangled out. She found this hilarious.

However all laughing stopped when one sultana disappeared from view.  Long story short, we again found ourselves sitting in a medical waiting room.

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With what felt like ‘half our town’ also at the medical center, we were in for a big wait. The positive side, was that we were able to chat with a friend who was also waiting – and take this photo (thankyou Ingrida).

Just have to ask “why do these emergencies happen when you are wearing your daggy home renovating clothes?”  Covered in paint because I was again ‘sock painting’ our fence.

This post has nothing to do with sustainability – just a funny little story about family life and raising children.

On a side note, I texted my Mum after we saw the doctor to say all had ended well – our Little One was okay. However the simple act of texting was another reminder of how strange modern family life can be.

My phone has a terrible case of preemptive text syndrome.  Instead of saying that the sultana was up our Little One’s nose, my phone changed the text to ‘santana’. Therefore another text was needed to explain that a musician was not the obstacle stuck in our Little One’s nose.

You got to laugh.  :)