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?

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Simple Suggestions on Taking Better Photos for Ebay

Before our Little One arrived, my husband and I lived in the inner city of Sydney. As business professionals we were time poor so selling stuff we didn’t want through Ebay, wasn’t a time effective option.  Instead we used to give away, what we didn’t need or want.

Fast forward to today, we have both structured our businesses and work so we have much more time at home with our Little One – in our new semi rural home.

We still give lots of stuff away however now we also sell items through Ebay – sometimes to reinvest the money into new items we need (as our Little One grows) or sometimes to just find a home for an item that we don’t want to go to landfill (Ebay has the most users so hence we are more likely to find someone looking for our item and hence saving it from landfill).

As I look through Ebay’s many listings, I am constantly amazed at what photos people use, trying to sell their stuff. 

So with all that said, from a professional photographer’s point of view, here are some basic and simple suggestions to consider when taking photos of your stuff for selling on Ebay:

1) Avoid using flash.  It is harsh and unflattering to most items.  If possible move your item to a part of the house that is brighter.

2) Even lighting is always best.  You don’t want your items in half shade, half light.  All even light is what you want.

3) Crop, crop, crop!  You don’t need to see Grandma’s rocking chair in the background.  Again if possible move your items so the background isn’t distracting.  A plain white wall in a bright room works a treat.

4) Pay attention to the item you are photographing.  If it has been in the garage for years, clean it up before photographing it.

5) Many angles, sides and views.  Ebay allows 12 free photographs for each item so get busy snapping different angles of your item i.e front view, side view, back view, close up of the branding or a shot of any extras.

6) It’s not the camera but the photographer.  All the photographs below of the pram we are selling, was taken on just my mobile phone.

The photographs of an Ebay listing is the first thing people will see.  Take the time and effort to make them as good as possible. Considering most Ebay photos are shocking, if you do take the effort,  then you are more likely ahead of the game.

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Selling our baby pram that we no longer need which we originally purchased second hand.

Sustainable and Balanced Blogging part 1

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Since I started blogging in 2008, you would only see two posts per month (at best) from me.  Therefore much thought and consideration went into my decision to post daily from the beginning of this year. 

Leading up to the new year, I was reevaluating my work and business commitments.  Long story short – by being focused on what my priorities are and what makes me happy, changes were made.  Changes that allowed me time to post daily.

However strict boundaries needed to be put in place to ensure balance was kept – that blogging didn’t interrupt my work commitments and more importantly my family life.

Even blogging about sustainability needs to be sustainable.

* My mobile phone is used to capture images and write posts. This means I can blog at anytime I have a spare moment (not needing to be at my computer). Saved posts can then be scheduled.

* One hour only in the morning is dedicated to blogging. After this time I resist the urge to check comments, likes and stats (an important boundary that I usually stick to).

* If after our Little One is asleep and any work completed, I can either do a little blogging or crash into bed (I am asleep within 2 minutes of my head hitting the pillow).

These boundaries are not limiting me. On the contrary they enable me the time to do what I enjoy.

This post arose from a conversation with Australia’s prominate sustainability blogger, Gavin Webber (Greening of Gavin).  I have permission from Gavin to share our conversation with you. To be continued…..

Our Verandah Cubby House Update

It is’nt long now till our Little One turns two.  Her birthday present will be a Cubby House, that we are creating for her in an unused section of the verandah. 

My goal was to not only use upcycled items to decorate the cubby but also to do all the building / restoring work myself.

With three weeks lost due to illness, I was starting to become concerned about the completion deadline.

However after two days dedicated to the cubby, I feel that I’m back on track.

Here is a sneak peak of how it is looking.  The back wall mural is not yet finished.  Imagine the tree trunk with leaves shaped as butterflies and fairy silhouettes dancing on the branches.

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Check out what this area looked like before renovating and the cubby house decorating commenced.

I am very excited about sharing the finished cubby ‘masterpiece’ with you all soon.