New Community Garden Update – Clearing the Overgrowth

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Green = raised garden beds, Blue = compost, Red = permanent no dig garden

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A massive clean up and tidy was organised yesterday behind our town’s community hall.  Trees were trimmed, rubbished removed and weeds cleared.  Everyone was getting ready for phase one of our community garden project.

I am totally amazed and impressed with the ‘can do’ attitude and vision of those who are behind the building of this community garden.

Keeping it fun and enjoyable is what you want if you desire to attract others to the vision.

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Photograph Sunday – Meet the Fur Family

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Mini, Cooper and Max (left to right) wait outside the kitchen baby proof gate. Waiting in hope!

Don’t be fooled by their tiny brown eyes or sad demeanor.  These three dogs are loved and spoilt.  Mini and Cooper are our white, fluffy dogs.  Max is visiting with his Mum – who is also my Mum (I guess that kind of makes Max my brother).

They sit in continuous hope for treats from the kitchen.

The gate enables me to cook uninterrupted from the Toddler and the Fur Kids.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Wood Firing Pottery Workshops in the Southern Highlands

I feel blessed to belong to a local community of creative and sustainable people.

Yesterday I was invited to Steve Harrison and Janine King’s home for morning tea.  Regular readers will recall my previous visit to their sustainable home, inspirational property and expansive pottery sheds.

I know many of my readers are local to me (Wollondilly & Southern Highlands NSW of Australia) therefore I wanted to share a link to find details of their wood firing pottery workshops.   Evidently many attendees travel long distances to attend.

All my potter friends have told me, any chance to learn wood firing from Steve and Janine, is an opportunity not to be missed.  As potters, Steve and Janine are renowned in Australia and Internationally.

As I am not a potter, I just feel blessed to know Steve and Janine as friends – kindred creative and sustainable spirits!

Photos from Steve and Janine’s expansive pottery shed:

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Janie King, My Little One and My Mum

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Fun pottery 'okay' hand on top of a kiln

An Even Better Way to Build Wicking Garden Beds – A Cracker of an Idea!!

From challenges, great ideas can come!!

One of the Green Square, community’s raised garden beds, has deteriorated – to the point it needs to be replaced.  You wouldn’t believe just how much research, discussion and community / council consultation the drivers of the Green Square Growers has put into coming up with a solution.

The raised garden bed was made from recycled wood.  The bed uses ‘wicking reservoir’ technology that we built inside the garden bed.  The bed also has an inbuilt worm farm.

Wicking Garden Bed - how it works diagram

Wicking Garden Bed – ‘how it works’ diagram. 

The above diagram shows the wicking garden bed design.  The challenge we have had with this design, came from the tremendous outward pressure from the water reservoir, causing the wood to bow and bend (over time).

Making smaller wicking garden beds (1 m x 1m) can help to limit the bowing of the wood but we weren’t happy with this solution.

Then Sabena and her husband Peter came up with a cracker of an idea!  Instead of using builders plastic in the wicking bed design, use a large food grade plastic container (which can be recycled and rescued from landfill).

These food grade plastic contains, are selling on Ebay (2nd hand).

These food grade plastic contains, are selling on Ebay (2nd hand).

These containers will make the whole garden bed structure stronger, less prone to leaking and hence last longer.  If repairs to the wood is needed in the future, we can easily replace the wood – as it is not part of the structure but really only has an aesthetic purpose (making the raised garden bed look pretty and traditional).

The Green Square Growers, plan to build either two or three beds together (with the timber frame built around all of the containers together – giving the illusion of one big bed).

Each garden bed will be approximately 1.3 metres x 1.1 metres.  If two are position together, then the total bed size will be 2.6 metres x 1.1 meters.  If three beds are position together, then the total bed size will be 3.9 meters x 1.1 meters.

The new raised garden bed design will require a small wooden ‘lip’ at the top to hide the plastic container – however this is only for aesthetic purposes too.

What do you think of Sabena and Peter’s cracker of an idea?

2544 Days!

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Today is exactly 141 days since the beginning of the year. 141 days of posting everyday continuously.

Today is also 2544 days since I started sharing my sustainable journey through my GreenerMe blog.  That is 6 years, 11 months and 19 days.

Today was just a random day to crunch the numbers – just for fun.

Protecting Personal Energy and Passion

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Recently I was asked for a brief written history of the Green Square Growers  (the inner City Sydney, community garden group I co-foundered years ago).

Here is an excerpt:

In all we do, we seek a balance of fun and joy – only doing what makes us and the community happy and what is wanted and supported.  This has ensured our longevity – protecting our personal energy and passion.”

The older I get, the better custodian of my own energy I become.  Also better at early detection of when my life is out of balance – when more energy is being taken or given, in comparison to what is given back or received.

Far too many times I see those with passionate motives to make a positive difference, burn out.  How much more could they or we achieve for good, if we placed ‘balance’ as a priority for our lives.

This post is influenced by my own recent reminder of the importance of energy, joy and balance.

Growing Your Own Food, if you Only Have 20 Minutes

The girl who returns from the garden is never the same girl who entered the garden – my stress is always swapped for tranquility.

If I have even a spare 20 minutes, it isn’t unusual to find me in the garden.

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Here is what I got up to yesterday with a spare 20 minutes and any some space in our garden.  I love to pop into the soil single stakes to plant purple peas and sugar snap peas (or beans during summer).  Sometimes joining the stakes at the top to form a tepee but often just leaving the stake to stand alone (like a sad country western song).

My simple gardening philosophy is, if I continually and regularly plant seeds, then I will always have food to harvest from the garden.

Even just 20 minutes in the garden benefits my mind and body – growing good food and eating good food.