News

How to Start Composting

Composted green waste

Of all the many ways to be both environmentally conscious and proactive, learning how to start composting is easily one of the most viable first steps for any household to take.

Viable because, according to the New South Wales Environmental Protection Authority, the average Australian household’s wheelie bin is comprised of 35% food waste.

Nationwide that equates to over five million tonnes of food dumped into landfills per year.

What do five million tonnes of food look like? Incredibly, enough to fill 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Types of Composting Options
Compost Bin Friends
Everyone’s a winner with Composting

The first concept to grasp in learning how to start composting is learning how many options you actually have at your disposal.

Quickly, here is a quick list of options.

Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll be taking a big first step in removing methane-producing green waste from your local landfill.

But that said, this post will focus on the last option from the list above; open enclosure.

Open Enclosure Compost Bins
Turning compost
Compost Bin Turn

Open enclosure bins can be constructed of all shapes and sizes. Materials used to build them can include corrugated tin, chicken wire, timber, logs and even discarded pallets.

At the SBCG, our compost bins are approximately 1.5 metre square and have been constructed using extremely sturdy timber. And to help provide easier access for turning and aerating the pile, one side of each compost bin is comprised of removable slats.

Once you’ve decided on the size, building materials and location of where to situate your open enclosure bin, you’re ready to start loading it.

How to Start Composting with your Open Enclosure Bin

STEP 1. Use bare earth as the base of your compost bin. Not only will this allow your compost bin to breathe and drain properly, it will also allow beneficial organisms access to the waste.

STEP 2. On top of the bare earth, line the base of your bin with a generous amount of shredded paper, dry leaves, twigs, or straw. This layer will

Turning compost
One Last Turn

further help to aid in the proper drainage as well as provide an inviting place of residence for the organisms that end up calling your compost bin home.

STEP 3. Start adding your green waste in layers remembering to alternate between wet and dry. Wet ingredients include any of your kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings or tea bags. Dry material can include materials such as leaves, straw, coffee grounds, woodchips or sawdust.

To eliminate strong odours and pests, avoid adding such items as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products and fats such as grease and oils.

STEP 4. Add a nitrogen source to speed the composting process up by activating the compost pile. Green manure is ideal but this can also include grass clippings.

STEP 5. Keep your compost pile damp. Too dry and the contents of your pile won’t break down. Too wet and things will start to smell. Aim for the moisture content of a wrung-out sponge.

STEP 6. Cover your compost pile as needed. You can use wood, scraps of carpet or even a tarp with the goal of retaining the pile’s moisture level and, more importantly, heat.

STEP 7. Periodically turn the pile. Use a pitchfork or shovel every two to three weeks, depending on the size of the pile. Turning the pile aerates it and allows oxygen to work its magic. This oxygen infusion allows an increased number and variety of micro-organisms into the mix and ultimately aids in speeding up the composting process.

How Much Time Does Open Enclosure Bin Composting Require?
Composted green waste
The Finished Product–Ready for your Garden

How long will it take for your compost pile to be ready to utilise on your garden depends on a few factors.

Factors such as:

  • The size of you compost bin
  • What material you put in the pile
  • How meticulous you are in tending to it

Assuming you’ve followed this list closely, three months is a realistic target for when you can expect your compost to be ready to use.

And by ready, this implies a rich, humus matter that is dark, crumbly and smells like a handful of soil scooped out of a bag of gardening mix.

All of which is a far cry from the alternative of a pile of smelly, methane-producing scraps rotting in your local landfill.

store bought worm farm

Worm Farming 101

Worm farming or worm composting, as it’s sometimes called, is a magical process. One that involves the use of unique composting worms such as ‘Redwigglers’ to eat and process green, organic waste.

In its place, the worms leave nutrient-rich wee and ‘worm castings’ that are some of nature’s best fertilizer and soil enhancers.

Here at the Southern Beaches Community Garden, you’ll see plenty of examples of worm farms.

Types of Worm Farms

The first and probably most common is the stackable, multi-tiered worm farm.

store bought worm farm
Multi-tier

Another type is the DIY variety. These can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles but two of the most common are large 50 litre, plastic storage

Bathtub worm farm
Modified bathtub

bins or bathtubs.

Regardless of the route you choose to go, it is critical to make sure your DIY worm farm is equipped with adequate ventilation and proper drainage capabilities. Failure to do so can lead to a ‘die-off’ of your worms.

Double Grande Worm FarmAnd finally, located beside the SBCG’s propagation tunnel is easily one of the largest industrial options in SE Queensland. The Double Grande from Worms Downunder which, once fully operational, has the capability of processing 40 litres of green waste per day.

Getting Started

No matter what type of worm farm you opt to go with, getting started is straight forward.

First, line the bottom of your container with some cardboard or newspaper. This will be the foundation of your worm farm on which your next layer of actual bedding material will sit.

This bedding material can be finely shredded paper, damp leaves, or, ideally, moist cocopeat. Many store-bought worm farming kits generally include a dehydrated block of cocopeat for you to rehydrate and spread out for your worm farm’s new arrivals.

Once your worms have been placed in the bedding material you’ve chosen to use, cover everything with a ‘worm blanket’, and let your worms get settled in. A worm blanket can really be anything. An old, ratty towel, burlap bag, newspaper, or just an adequately sized piece of cardboard. Pizza boxes work great for this.

As for food, don’t worry. Your bedding material (preferably cocopeat) will both house and feed your worms initially. After a couple of days allowed for settling in, it’s time to start feeding them.

What to Feed Your WormsWorm Feeding List

The list of what to feed your worms is extensive. Essentially, composting worms will process anything organic (meaning anything once living).

Fruit and vegetable scraps and tea bags are ideal. And, especially when first starting out, make your scraps as ideally digestible as possible since composting worms actually don’t have any teeth. This means chopping, blending, and shredding your scraps. This will help speed up the composting process.

In addition to your green waste input, you should also aim to balance this out with an equal amount of ‘brown’ or carbon-based waste.  A few examples of this are moistened materials such as shredded paper, coffee grounds, straw, and even aged horse and cow manure.

Balancing out your green and brown waste you will ensure proper acidity levels of your worm farm are maintained.

Foods to avoid feeding your worms include raw or cooked meat and fish, chilis, bread, cake, pasta and rice, citrus products, onion and garlic, and dairy products such as milk and cheese.

Tips to Remember

When starting out, remember to NOT OVERFEED your worms. Overfeeding is the leading cause of die-offs of worms when starting a worm farm.

Red Wiggler Composting Worms
Happy Red Wigglers

Worms can eat half their bodyweight in food. So, if you’re starting out with a kilogram of worms, 500 grams of food would be the maximum you’d want to feed your worms per day.

And only once your worms have been allowed a sufficient settling in time period to adjust to their new home.

So go slow and monitor the feeding progress of your worms. Once they’ve processed at least half their food, they’ll be ready for more.

And your worm farming career will be well and truly underway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Wiggler Composting Worms

Red Wiggler Homecoming

A week following our big day, an even bigger day–in the form of a Red Wriggler Homecoming–was in store for the Southern Beaches Community Garden.

Red Wiggler Worms
Tom Symmons from Worms Downunder

It’d be then, on Thursday, March 5th—amidst grey skies and torrential rain—Tom Symmons from Worms Downunder (based out of Chandler, QLD) would arrive with the SBCG’s newest, most anticipated members in tow.

Worms. But not just any worms.

Red wiggler composting worms. Lots and lots of them.

Five kilograms or, to be a bit more precise, something in the vicinity of 20,000 worms.

Delivered and spread out amidst their moist cocopeat and straw bedding inside the SBCG’s Double Grande Worm Habitat, the red wigglers would begin their settling in process.

It was an impressive sight, seeing those little magical creepy crawlies set loose in their new home. But, not nearly as impressive as the Red Wigglers themselves. At least, according to the incredibly thorough and enlightening literature provided in the Worms Downunder information pack.

For example, did you know the worms:

Red Wiggler Worms
Getting Settled In
  • Breathe through their skin as they don’t have any lungs
  • Are hermaphrodites (they all have both male and female reproductive organs)
  • Are sensitive to light to the point where paralysis can occur within one hour
  • Can die if their skin becomes too dry
  • Cannot regulate their body temperature as they’re cold-blooded

 

In addition to body temperature, ambient temperature plays a major factor in the rate at which the Red Wigglers feed. Too high or too low a

temperature takes the worms out of their ideal comfort zone, greatly reducing the amount of food they consume.

However, in an ideal, well-maintained environment, Red Wigglers are capable of eating anywhere from 50 to 100% of their body weight in organic matter PER DAY.

Red Wiggler Composting Worms
Red Wigglers–A Garden’s Best Friend

So it stands to reason, then, the more worms, the better.

And the best part…?

You don’t have to worry about having to cull any of your Red Wiggler worm population as the little critters are as clever as they are hungry. Clever in that their reproduction is self-regulated in direct proportion to the size of their environment.

Regulated to the point where, in ideally maintained conditions, the worms can double their numbers once every three months.

Which, for the SBCG’s Double Grande Worm Habitat, will eventually equate to 80,000 Red Wigglers…

All doing their part in processing upwards of 40 litres of green waste a day, producing nutrient, soil-enriching worm ‘castings’  and helping to remove vast quantities of methane producing green waste from our local landfills.

A win-win for the SBCG and the local community alike.

 

 

 

 

 

Bendigo Bank Community in Action

SBCG & Tugun’s Bendigo Bank — Community in Action

If you wanted an example of community in action,  a visit to your nearest community garden would be as ideal a stop as any.

And Tugun’s Southern Beaches Community Garden would be no exception. From garden beds which need building,  grounds that need tending, compost bins that need turning and pony poo runs that need manning…

There’s plenty of work of the volunteer variety to go around. And, yet, that would only be half of the ‘community in action’ story.

Community in Action Stalwart Allan Merlehan
Tugun’s Bendigo Bank Manager Allan Merlehan

Because, without funding from generous donors, all that work doesn’t even get off the ground. And in the case of the SBCG, chances are extremely good that generous donor would be the Tugun Branch of Bendigo Bank.

Yes, since the garden’s inception in 2009, Tugun’s Bendigo Bank has offered the garden’s members and the community, in general, its unwavering support. A level of community support that is extremely rare.

And one person that knows this better than anyone is Bendigo’s Tugun Branch Manager, Allan Merlehan.

So, that said, we at the SBCG wanted to show our gratitude by giving Allan the floor. To give him the opportunity to answer a few questions and, in doing so, to shed a little light on the banking mindset that has helped to separate and distinguish themselves from the rest of the banking, big player herd.

All while simultaneously helping the SBCG grow as much as it has.

 

So, Allan, how long have you worked for the Tugun Branch of Bendigo Bank? As a banker in general?

I’ve been at Tugun for I0 years and in finance for a total of 36.

Was there anything overly unique or special about the bank that sort of drew you to the place?

The ‘Community’ focus was one aspect and the other was they had bank managers with authority in their branches, so you had decision-makers at ground-level.

Having worked there for as long as you have, what do you feel makes Bendigo Bank different from other banks?

The bank’s focus on the customer & the community.

On average, how much does Bendigo Bank put back into the community each year?

Our branch directly sponsors about $90k.

When do you remember first hearing about the Southern Beaches Community Garden and how has the Tugun Branch been involved with the garden?

I heard about them very soon after I arrived in Tugun in January 2010. Since then our Tugun Community Bank Branch has provided over $32,000 in funding to assist with projects such as the propagation tunnel, water tanks, a covered seating area and a trailer.  Our directors and staff have also volunteered in a working bee.

What were your first impressions of the organisation?

They immediately came across as a group of determined people wanting to improve their local community.

Since then, what have you found most interesting or impressive about the garden?

How the garden has continued to evolve from the initial concept 10 years ago to what it is today.

Bendigo Bank Tugun Branch's Maris Dirkx and SBCG friends
Bendigo’s Executive Assistant Maris Dirkx and SBCG friends

Do you find any similarities between the goals of your bank and the SBCG?

The goal of connecting with your local community & endeavouring to make a difference.

After so much involvement with the garden, what are your thoughts as you walk around the grounds that, over the years, you’ve had such a significant hand in helping to shape?

I believe it is the members who have had a significant hand in shaping the garden into what it is today. We have assisted where we can, but it is the determination and hard work of the committee and the members of the SBCG that has brought that concept 10 years ago into a reality.

Of Bendigo Bank’s Tugun Branch’s many contributions to the local community, is there one that makes you most proud? If so, which one and why?

I am proud of all our contributions in the community, whether that is in a dollar value, the sharing of knowledge or the volunteering of time. It’s not so much the contribution, but what it enables others to do, that makes a difference for our community.

MP Karen Andrews & SBCG Members

The Big Day

For the Southern Beaches Community Garden, February 28th would be the big day.

Double Grande Worm Habitat
Double Grande in Transit to its final home.

An auspicious coming together of garden members, neighbours, McPherson MP Karen Andrews and the owner of Brisbane based Worms Downunder, Jen Symmons.

The day would see the delivery of the SBCG’s new baby; a Double Grande Worm Habitat from Worms Downunder based in Chandler.

Compliments of MP Karen Andrews’ Communities Environment Grant, once set up and fully operational, the Double Grande Worm Farm Habitat will be ready to handle upwards of 40 litres of green waste per day.

In doing so, the Double Grande will help remove approximately 3 tonnes of biodegradable waste from landfill per

Double Grande Worm Habitat Demo
Worm Farming 101 in session care of Worms Downunder owner Jen Symmons

year…

All while creating soil enriching worm castings considered by many to be some of the best all-natural fertiliser found anywhere.

Yes, the excitement and anticipation was real.

Real enough to create an adrenaline fuelled, engineering inspired epiphany of sorts. One that would see the garden’s new 200 kilo worm farm put on three rollers and pushed and navigated through tight quarters the last 25 metres…

Eventually into position at its permanent home beside the SBCG propagation tunnel located in front of the garden clubhouse.

MP Karen Andrews & Jen Symmons
Worm farm banter between friends

And it’d be there where, five hours later, the Worms Downunder owner would take the helm by giving various garden members, along with an inquisitive Karen Andrews herself, an in-depth tour and description of the community garden’s newest attraction.

It would take a bit of imagination on everyone’s part. This, because the process of properly setting up and wetting

SBCG Tour for MP Karen Andrews
Garden Tour compliments of SBCG President Marian Evans.

down the habitat’s straw and coco peat’s bedding requires that the worms be delivered at a later date.

But even so, the combination of the habitat’s various moving parts coupled with Jen’s thoroughly informative talk on vermiculture painted a picture that kept everyone fascinated.

All of which proved the perfect segue for a private garden tour for the MP and her assistants compliments of SBCG President Marian Evans.

MP Karen Andrews & SBCG Members
MP Karen Andrews and new friends.

A tour which, once complete, would see the MP’s party departing with a couple potted plants as mementos of their time at the SBCG.

And the SBCG with rewarding memories of their own.

And more importantly, with the inclination to get their Double Grande Worm Habitat running at maximum capacity as quickly and effectively as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

Natalia Ribeiro

SBCG Faces in the Crowd–Natalia Ribeiro

It’s a rare morning you won’t find SBCG member Natalia Ribeiro tending to her diverse and vibrant garden bed. Plot number five to be exact. The one, fittingly enough, located just around the entrance to the SBCG propagation tunnel housing fledgling seedlings which, if they could talk, would surely tell you about wanting to look just like the plants on their door step when they grow up.

It’s the plot managing to grow coffee, pawpaw, Thai basil, various chilli plants, mint, tarragon, bitter melon, arrowroot, okra, various lettuces and, no doubt, a wide

Natalia Ribeiro
Natalia & her Pawpaw

assortment of other unique fruits, flowers and veggies that might look familiar but whose names don’t exactly leap off the tongue.

And while you might not know the names of everything growing in garden bed number 5, one look will tell you the person responsible for such a prolific plot has invested more than just a bit of their time and effort into that space.

And you’d be very right.

But probably not for the reasons you might think.

For Natalia Ribeiro, you see, her raised garden bed is more than the mere sum of its many bountiful parts. It’s a portal of sorts. A connection to her past. A past that, until she and half of her eleven brothers and sisters emigrated to Portugal in 1974, saw Natalia grow up on her family’s vast farm in East Timor.

So all that said, in what we hope will be the first of many ongoing ‘Faces in the Crowd’ posts to come, here’s Natalia’s take on all things gardening.

How long have you been a SBCG member and how did you first get into gardening?

East Timor Plantation
The Ribeiro family farm in East Timor. A labour of love.

I joined the SBCG back around 2010. I was walking by and saw the area and immediately went in and started asking questions. As for how I got into gardening, that’s a bit of a long story. I guess you could say it’s in my blood. My father took over the family farm in East Timor from my grandparents. It was more a ranch than a farm and we had everything on it. Livestock of all sorts and we grew all our fruit and vegetables. We were completely self-sufficient with the only thing we had to buy from the store being toiletries. My favourite memory of the place was sitting on our big veranda waiting for my father to come home from the fields. I’d see him in his loaded up truck and I’d get so excited to see him every time. I lived there until the age of nine. It was then, when my father decided things were getting too dangerous, that me and half my twelve brothers and sisters moved to Lisbon, Portugal. He ran that farm for 61 years before my oldest brother took over.

What do you find most rewarding about gardening?

Like was probably the case with my father, I find the most satisfying aspect of gardening being able to grow my own fruits and vegetables and being able to harvest and bring them home. I’m proud to be able to say what I produce allows me to cook a delicious meal for my family.

What mistakes do you feel new gardeners make?

I think too many new gardeners underestimate the amount of work which is often necessary to produce and maintain a really healthy and productive garden over time.

They come in to it all very excited to get a garden bed and for the first few months—especially when the weather is cooperating—everything seems perfect. But later, whether it’s their busy life outside the garden or whatever, they start to neglect things. Add long periods with little to no rain and failing to get their garden sufficient amounts of water only seems to make the issue worse. A garden can be a lot of responsibility. I don’t think a lot of new gardeners understand that.

East Timor family photo
Natalia, bottom row (on right) with older sisters and baby brother

What’s your favourite fruit/veggie/flower to grow and why?

I’d have to say pau pau is my favourite because it’s so healthy and it grows year round. Back in East Timor we ate it all the time green or ripe. We used all the parts of it, too. The leaves, the flowers. Everything. My father planted a big patch of it and I remember he used to sit on our veranda eating it with a spoon in the afternoons.

What’s an aspect of gardening you struggle with and why?

I know a lot of people will probably say the heat but, to be honest, I’m pretty used to it. I suppose East Timor prepared me for it and I just really enjoy being outside tending to my plot and the other common areas. I usually arrive very early in the morning and am gone before things get too hot anyway. That way I do what I need to do in the garden and I still have plenty of time for other things I like to do like going to the beach.

What’s your favourite all natural fertilizer and why?

Although we have access to composted material in the garden, I still prefer grass clippings. The clippings are natural and generally in an abundant supply. I sometimes find bits of discarded plastic in the compost bins which kind of ruins everything for me. It might seem nit-picky, but I’m just all for the grass clippings.

What’s the best way to convince a young person gardening is a viable activity?

Leading by example in an enthusiastic manner is probably the best way. That way it’s easier to explain how much fun gardening can be while having them help you with various projects around the garden, like watering.

If you were a politician with clout on the Gold Coast, what gardening related initiatives would you put in place?

Natalia's Parents
Mr. and Mrs. Ribeiro

I would probably want to start an educational program in the area that focused more on recycling. Because it seems like a lot of people don’t have a really good idea about what can and cannot be recycled or composted.

If you could swap out your gardening ability with another skill or hobby, what would it be and why?

One of biggest dreams of mine has always been to be a real qualified chef. I’ve always been pretty good at creating healthy meals for my family but to be a chef would let

me take things to a whole other level. Plus, being a chef would allow me to really capitalise on my knowledge of plants and vegetables.

What’s the most memorable tip anyone’s ever given you pertaining to gardening?

Of course the most memorable tip I’ve received about gardening was from my father. He just always used to say that to have a beautiful and healthy garden you really just have to be committed to it and to believe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Niamph Williams & Hester Clark

The Duke of Edinburgh Award-The Tradition Continues at the SBCG

In 1956, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh had a plan. He wanted to set up an awards program which would recognise adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement activities. The ultimate goal of the program being to help young people discover their full potential by finding their purpose, passion and place in the world.

SBCG
Co-workers, mentors, friends. Natalia Ribeiro (L) and Hana Smith (R)

To achieve this award, each young person would need to participate in a four part process. A process which revolves around physical recreation, skills, community service and participating in a team adventure in a new environment. All while under the guidance of award leaders, supervisors and accessors.

Today the Duke of Edinburgh Award has expanded to 144 countries with over 8 million young adults having participated in the past 55 plus years of its existence. And in Australia alone, the Duke of Edinburgh Award has seen over 775,000 young people participate.

Young people like 14 year olds, Niamh Williams and Hester Clark of Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School in Terranora, NSW.

For a period of three months, both Niamh and Hester have collectively worked 26 hours under the guidance of SBCG

SBCG Propagation Tunnel
Planting Seedlings

Community Engagement Officer Di Gunther. In that time their activities and subsequent accomplishments have been numerous.

These activities and tasks involved garden projects including seeding and weeding along with general garden beautification projects. Projects such as designing murals for the garden white board and composting bins, installing and decorating the wooden frames around the garden’s worm farm baths and assisting garden member Hana

Smith decorate large bulk containers with colourful and engaging sunflower and bumble bee scenes.

Additionally, the two friends also designed a folder containing various seedlings that are distributed at community workshops so the recipients can see what the plant will look like once it matures. And at the Palmy Festival, Niamh

SBCG Wicking Beds
Creative Helping Hands

donated her time at the Children’s Workshop answering questions and assisting the ever inquisitive youngsters in preparing and taking home a decorated pot with their choice of seedling.

In the end, it’s simply safe to say, it’s been a very hands on few months for two very busy bees. All of which has been incredibly appreciated.

“The girls have been a credit to the youth of today,” says Gunther who adds such a positive experience will see her being

Palmy Festival
Niamh assisting at the Palmy Festival

very proactive in inviting many more young people into the garden. “The artwork they have helped create has been happy and injects colour into the garden space and ignites the imagination of all ages…More families have joined since the girls have been involved and when asked why, they simply state they enjoy the welcoming feeling they get when walking around the garden.”

As for how two teenagers managed to find themselves in the SBCG garden in the first place, that can be largely attributed to Niamh’s mother, Fiona, who, as fate would have it, herself participated in The Duke of Edinburgh back in 1988-89 while in school in Ireland. (Fittingly, Niamh’s father, Paul, completed his program in 1984-85 in England).

Fiona says she was struggling to find a project to fulfil the community service portion of the award until a couple lunch break discussions with Di—the two are co-workers in the mental health department  at Tweed Hospital– parted the clouds in what everyone seems to feel has been a very symbiotic working relationship.

Hester Clark & Niamph Williams
Beautification Projects and Smiles

“It’s been good to see how everyone at the garden works as a team to make projects come together,” says Hester.

And Niamh, “I now have a greater interest in doing planting and gardening projects at home,” before adding a sentiment both rising high schoolers share. “Thank you to Di, Hana and everyone else at the garden for making this such a positive experience.”

All of which is, no doubt, everything Prince Phillip could’ve hoped for.

 

 

 

Gail O'Neill & Friends AGM Gathering

SBCG’s November 2019 Annual General Meeting

Hello again,

It’s been a busy year at the Southern Beaches Community Garden here in Tugun with the Annual General Meeting held on 23 November, 2019 at the garden clubhouse a testimony to this.

With Division 14 Local Councillor Gail O’Neill and Director of the Tugun Community Bank Board, Bob Marshall in attendance, out-going SBCG President Di Gunther was able to highlight an extensive list of achievements and general progress over the past year.

Of course, it being the AGM, the ratification of new committee members (including filling the newly created position of Community Engagement Officer) was at the top of the day’s to do list.

As such, the current SBCG committee members are as follows:

President–Marian Evans

Gail O'Neill & Friends
The SBCG welcomes Councillor Gail O’Neill to their AGM.

Vice President—Duncan McLay

Treasurer—Mark Bibby

Grants Coordinator—Emma Scott

Secretary—Arch  Cruttenden

Membership Secretary—Doris Claussen

Community Engagement Officer—Di Gunther

Ordinary Voting Member—Peter Barrett

That accomplished, out-going President Di Gunther detailed a lengthy list of activities, developments and general accomplishments experienced by the garden over the past twelve months.

In regards to the garden grounds itself, one of the biggest developments this year was the result of an extra ordinary meeting held on 25/2/19 to discuss water supply issues. The consensus would be that the majority of SBCG gardeners want both rainwater collection and irrigated town water provided. This motion agreed upon, along with the continued support from Councillor Gail O’Neill on the matter, thus suggests the eventual expansion of garden beds is no longer an issue of ‘if’ but only of ‘when’.

Additionally, the SBCG continued in its ongoing endeavour of sharing sustainable and environmentally friendly gardening ideas and knowledge via free workshops in and around Southeast Queensland. Some of these included providing seedlings and potting workshops to:

  • The Palm Beach Bleach Festival
  • Coolangatta School.
  • During the Ocean Walk grand opening in Tugun.
  • The Shout Out Festival at the Tugun Skate Park with the help of Thrower House Participants.

 

The SBCG also continued its ongoing partnership with the Thrower House by actively participating in the Thrower House’s Easter Holiday Program while Judith Kilburn provided three free calligraphy courses to the Thrower House as part of their holiday program.

And a Hugelkulter and Wicking Bed workshop was put on for University of the Third Age and other community members by Mel Strange and Fran James.

As the above listed examples suggest, the SBCG and its 125 members were busy. And the best part…it’s only a small snapshot of EVERYTHING that was undertaken and accomplished. For the complete list, feel free to go to our website contact form and request a copy of the President Report be emailed to you.

Look it over and it’s a very safe bet you’ll be quite impressed with all this little garden club involves itself with and accomplished over the past 12 months.

In doing so, you will, no doubt, be equally impressed with the generosity of the grant providing benefactors that have provided so much of the resources to help the SBCG accomplish so much of what it has.

First and foremost on that list being the  Bendigo’s Tugun Community Bank.  Since day one, this group has backed the SBCG with this year’s grant donation of $4,200 for a new trailer bringing their total donations to the SBCG to nearly $30,000. It’s an impressive amount of money and we at the SBCG cannot say thank you enough for such steadfast generosity.

Additionally, the Gold Coast Airport awarded us just of $500 which will be put towards an irrigation system in our propagation tunnel while Mr. Ron Hesketh rounded up the troops repeatedly and, in conjunction with both Bunnings and Harvey Normans, helped fill the SBCG coffers compliments of numerous sausage sizzles.

And finally, there was the success in another very substantial grant, compliments of MP Karen Andrew’s Community Environmental Grant. The grant in conjunction with environmental eco-warriors, Worms Downunder, will allow the SBCG to purchase a ‘Double Grande Worm Habitat’ worm composter.

The addition of the Double Grande will allow the SBCG to process up to 40 litres of food and organic waste per day leaving in its wake ‘worm castings’, these being some of the most highly prized and nutrient rich, all natural fertiliser around. Access to such castings will be utilised as fertiliser for garden members and community members alike and will help to greatly reduce the vast amounts of biodegradable waste that unfortunately ends up producing harmful methane gasses in our already overflowing landfills.

The Double Grande Worm Composter is an exciting arrival to the SBCG and will be located beside the SBCG propagation tunnel.

Stay tuned for more posts regarding its pending arrival and other ongoing developments in the garden. And, again, for a complete run down of ALL of last year’s garden activities, go to our website and request a copy of the SBCG President’s Report be sent to you.

We hope to see you getting your hands dirty soon.