Congratulations to St Joseph's Primary School at Kangaroo Point for the fantastic turnout and setup of their new edible schoolyard and outdoor classroom.
There were well over 40 enthusiastic parents and students that turned out for the day to set up their gardens. The new Veggie Beds worked a treat as they were so easy for the students to install.
We got so much done including clearing dead and unwanted trees. The the site was leveled with our mini excavator and readied for the Veggie Beds to be place. While they were being installed another group put together the 3 way underground tube phone and garden shed.
The whiteboard on casters was attached to the outdoor classroom while others built and filled up the herb garden.
The P&F kindly kept us going with a sausage sizzle and ice cold drinks.
We filled the veggie beds with 8m3 of fantastic compost which was kindly donated by www.redbacklandscaping.com.au and lined the pathways with woodchip mulch.
An exhausting and fantastic day was had by all. Over 200 seedlings donated by Pohlmans were left for the students to plant out this week.
St Joseph’s Primary School are creating a new Edible Schoolyard with an Outdoor Classroom and we need your help to build and maintain it through the Adopt Our Edible Schoolyard Project.
The Adoption Project gives families, individuals, companies and organisations the opportunity to sponsor the materials and time required to establish the garden through money contributions, material donations, complementary trade services and regular volunteer hours.
“We encourage you to get behind our adoption project. The hands-on experiential method of learning has many benefits for the modern child. We believe our new school garden will provide essential learnings for children today if we are to have a sustainable tomorrow.” Micheal O’Sullivan, Principal
When you plant a garden you are putting food out for the pests. They will take residence in your leafy greens, nibble on your young shoots and lay eggs on the underside of everything else. These are the 'bad' bugs.
One way - and there are many ways - of dealing with these bad bugs is to invite the 'good' bugs to live at your place. Ladybeetles, hoverflies, lacewings and tiny wasps can control aphids, scale, red spider mite, caterpillar and other pests without the use of chemicals. You can plant to attract these good critters - red clover, lucerne, cosmos, sweet alice, dill, caraway, coriander, buckwheat, baby’s breath, Queenanne’s Lace and marigolds will capture their interest - but if you really want them to stick around, have you considered where they might take residence around your backyard?
Insect habitat is in decline - climate change, loss of natural habitat, and pesticide use have all played their part. But with some basic skills and some offcuts or remnants, you can make a difference right in your own garden. The scope of what you build is limited only by your imagination! Some of the ones I'm loving are these eco-friendly homes and this inspired textile-based urban ladybird kit.
Start with something small and simple - some drilled holes of various sizes in a fallen log of wood will house the solitary bees, painting it red will attract the ladybeetles, and some recycled cans filled with sticks and dead leaves are safe places for the smallest critters to hide and reside.
This is a wonderful weekend project. Will you make one too?
The 2012 Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks is a new initiative launched by climate scientists from Macquarie University, The University of Melbourne and the Monash Sustainability Institute. Their goal is to raise awareness of the opportunities and positive effects of moving the word towards a low carbon future. There are 10 finalists in the People's Choice Award. We featured Nic's composting hot tub in the hot stuff.
I'm bringing home spent coffee grains from local cafes, mumbling about carbon nitrogen ratios and the autumn rains have subsided somewhat.
Must be time to build a compost.
The end result of composting is humus. Humus is a soil conditioner, soil improver, water saver, microbe habitat and is 'plan available' food for your garden.
I like my compost 'hot'. The volume and ratios result in a heated environment which hastens the composting process and gets humus into my garden faster than a smaller, slower, add-it-as-you-go type compost. And, as it's winter, our ducks are getting most of our food scraps. With a hot compost, ideally, we're looking for a carbon nitrogen ratio of 25:1. The nitrogen provides the proteins for the microbes to build their bodies so they can munch on the carbon materials and break them down into humus - the process of composting. Carbon materials are characteristically brown and dry. Think straw, paper, woodchips and sawdust. Nitrogen materials are generally green and fresh. Think green leafy material, fresh grass clippings, animal manure, blood and bone and azola.
I build my compost like a lasagne - a big 1 cubic metre lasagne of decayed organic matter containing gazillions of beneficial soil critters working fast. A layer of straw, then a layer of manure (I prefer cow), then a layer of water with molasses mixed in, then a layer of green stuff, then repeat that again and again until your pile is about 1 m high and 1 metre wide in both directions. Turn the pile every few days for the first week, then once a week after that. When the pile does not heat up significantly after a turn, it's ready - this should be a few weeks, depending on your climate. It will be cool and will look and smell like rich, dark soil.
Easy, quick and you may well have access to the ingredients for making a pile of 'the good stuff' in your backyard right now!
Compost isn't just about piling up layers of straw and cow manure. Observe and tend your pile. Watch the heat, the smell and the size over time.
If it's not hot enough?
We're aiming for a HOT compost here - stick your bare arm in to the middle and the temperature should be just uncomfortable. If it's not or if the pile is not breaking down as quickly as you would like, add nitrogen and check the water content. If it's too dry, add some water the next time you turn it.
If it's steaming and smelly and reducing greatly in size, there's too much nitrogen so add carbon.
Wet and heavy?
If your pile is leaching (water running out of the base) and soggy and heavy to turn, add some dry material on the next turn and consider the size of your materials. If your grass clippings are too fine and matting together, mix in some chunkier materials on the next turn as well.
Consider where you build your hot compost as well - build it on a new planting site, build it higher than your fruit trees or veggie beds so the nutrient that is leached (you won't keep it all in the pile!) is taken up by plants that can use it and/or use the heat generated to preheat your hot water, like Nic and Brad
UNIVERSITY staff and students will not just be tucking into greater learning next year if the seeds of a proposed edible community garden take root.
Edible Landscapes founder Bruce Molloy recently visited the University of the Sunshine Coast to share his insights and explore the possibility of establishing a communal fruit and vegetable garden as part of an "edible campus visioning workshop".
Mr Molloy worked with USC fourth-year nutrition and dietetics students Kirsten Hicks and Jayme Danrell to help explain the benefits to a total of about 85 staff members and students.
The workshop heard that the venture would help improve sustainability and create a greater sense of community.
USC public health and nutrition supervisor Angela Cleary said: "Although there was much excitement around the creation of an edible garden, there is still a lot of planning required before we start digging."
Mr Molloy said the workshop was all about involving both students and staff in the project.
Ms Cleary said a community garden would enable participating students and staff to be active outdoors and to pick their own fruit and vegetables for free.
Science, Health, Education and Engineering Dean John Bartlett believes a community garden will be a great asset for the campus.
"The proposed community garden at USC provides a tremendous opportunity to bring together people with a passion for food, nutrition, sustainability, and health and wellbeing, to build a vibrant and diverse community-of-practice with a distinctly Sunshine Coast flavour," Prof Bartlett said.
Ms Cleary said the project had been an ongoing process since last September.
"The students conducted a feasibility study with staff members and found 10 other universities in Australia have a community garden, and found the key to that success is planning," she said.
Ms Cleary said students were planning a design and progress timeline.
Chatting to some lovely people when we were doing their Edilble Landscapes Garden Design, they mentioned that their main motivating factors to 'finally' get going with their desire for a productive yard was that they
'Want to really know just what's in the food we're eating.'
And it struck us - there we were, talking about getting the soil composition right, about adding nutrients and minerals to the soil (so that in time the veggies will add nutrients and minerals to US!) - but this simple thought also made us at Edible Landscapes realise it's not just what's IN our food that's important: what's NOT in our food is just as, if not more important.
When you grow your own produce, you know that it's GM-free, that it's been fertilised with natural organic materials, plant foods and minerals and not some yucky petro-chemical by-product.
You know that the 'food miles' are neglible - that in fact they're 'food metres!'.
You know exactly when your fruit, herbs and veg are harvested and don't have to guess how long it's been in cold storage in the supermarket coldroom.
You know, because you've watched it happen, that your produce ripens using sunlight not ropening agents; that you may 'lose a few' to snails and grasshoppers but that what you're harvesting is not covered in pesticides.
You learn that it's more rewarding to eat seasonally, because it's easier to grow seasonally! (and that actually, you appreciate the deliciously sweet summer tomatoes, the beautiful, nutrient-packed leafy winter kale, the freshest, snappiest, sugar snap peas because they ARE seasonal!). Out of season produce in the supermarkets is not locally produced, has traveled to get to the supermarket and therefore is not really 'fresh'.
You know the delight of fresh rocket in your bacon sandwich, just-picked basil and marjoram in your bolognese sauce, and enjoyed some truly awesome, inventive salads using ingredients you'd never normally use - 6 types of lettuce, shallots, spring onions, herbs and a few edible flowers 'for colour'! You know that you can give them a quick rinse under the tap and pop them straight on the plate, because you're just getting the soil off, not the chemicals.
So enjoy your harvest, knowing that it DOESN'T have genetic modification, pesticides, endless food miles, or 18 months of cold storage attached to it!
What do Britain's Jamie Oliver and Sunshine Coast's Bruce Molloy have in common? A passion for real food that's what!
When Edible Landscapes owner Bruce heard about Jamie's Ministry of Food Australia, he was quick to get in contact with the Good Foundation and offer his expertise on the one ingredient that EVERY chef (or cook) MUST have - the very best fresh produce.
Bruce has long been an advocate of helping people to help themselves when it comes to growing then eating their very own fresh veggies, fruit and herbs. The founding force in establishing the thriving Peregian Beach Veggie Village, his video documentary ''Stop in the Middle' earned a second place in the Erin Brocovich-sponsored International Environmental Crusader competition and a lunch date with the fiery environmental campaigner herself.
Says Bruce of his encounter with Erin, "I came away revitalised about working on sustainable projects with an even greater determination that you can succeed when you're ethical, passionate and refuse to give in!"
Through his Sunshine Coast-based company Edible Landscapes, Bruce has donated one of his starburst shaped Veggie Beds to the Ministry of Food Truck, a portable kitchen and learning centre currently at Morayfield Leisure Centre.
Setting up the Veggie Bed from the initial bed-building to the actual planting out took Bruce (with the help of the girls in the Ministry of Food van) around 4 hours. Since being planted in early October the Veggie Bed has already provided fresh, nutrient-packed veggies and herbs to the van.
"We have loved having a garden to watch grow and feast from during our time in Morayfield" say the girls.
You can watch the short YouTube video of Bruce setting up the Ministry of Food Veggie Bed at www.ediblelandscapes.com.au
Bruce is now focused on delivering the health and lifestyle benefits of fresh-food production to as many people as possible, through his fantastically-easy-to-set-up-and-use Veggie Beds.
Bruce says the Veggie Beds product is one he is grateful to have found after a long and sometimes tedious search.
"I've road-tested so many different types of raised veggie beds from the traditional ones made from sleepers, to ones made from corrugated iron and a variety of different materials, but these, these are the Rolls Royce of veggie beds." Bruce laughs.
And by Rolls Royce, Bruce is quick to point out that he doesn't mean the Veggie Beds are expensive or gold-plated - but that they are design-perfect for the task in hand: setting up a vegetable bed to grow vegetables quickly and easily.
Made using food-grade plastic, Edible Landscapes Veggie Beds reuse waste products - including rice husks - to become a fantastically useful and sustainable product.
Veggie Beds come in all shapes and sizes, can be moved when you move (or want a change), are 'child's play' to set up, 'They're like Lego for your garden!" says Bruce, and will have you growing your own fresh produce right in your own yard immediately.
Veggie Beds are delivered right round Australia and prices start from just $93.50. If you're looking for an unusual Christmas present that will keep on giving (and growing!) a Veggie Bed is the go!
For more information or to order, please call Bruce on 5448 3769 / 0411 518 773 or visit www.veggiebeds.com.au.
Spring is here! Shrubs and bushes are beginning to flower, the nights aren't quite so snugly and the ocean's beginning to look inviting again.
After struggling through the - ahem - harsh winter months in southeast Queensland, it's time to celebrate the season of new beginnings!
Sunshine Coast-based Edible Landscapes advises that September ' 'tis the season to be sowing!' Their advice is to give your veggie, herb and flower gardens a big dose of love right now to see it reciprocated with abundant crops of delicious, healthy and beautiful produce!
Blessed as we are in our beautiful spot here in paradise. Some parts of our coast are harder to grow than others or you may just not have the knack of veggie and herb growing - yet! Edible Landscapes has an Edible Garden Design package that will have your garden growing in no time.
During your comprehensive garden assessment visit, you'll receive invaluable knowledge on the how-to, where-to and what-to of your landscape including how you can get the most from what you've got already, how to put simple mistakes right - like the right plant in the wrong location - and lots, lots more including step-by-step advice to turn your yard into a beautiful and edible landscape – one that not only looks beautiful but delivers yummy veggies, herbs and fruit for you – all year round.
Bruce Molloy, Edible Landscapes' owner laughs that “we love our Edible Garden Designs because as the saying goes 'one hour of clever design can save ten hours of hard work', and we know that a two-hour planning visit from us saves people bucket loads of time, disappointment and money.”
Bruce continues, "We all know it makes sense to plan things - from building a house, researching a holiday or even a kitchen renovation. At Edible Landscapes we say 'So why not properly plan your garden?' Doing the 'groundwork' on your yard means you're increasing your chance of success first time round - and that means you'll be eating what you've sown a whole lot earlier!"
The Edible Garden Design Package is just $199, and includes • A two-hour garden visit to deliver your customised garden design, tailored to your property and household • A "Getting Started" e-book, packed with great advice and practical tips to get you started straight-away • Three FREE packets of seeds to get you growing right away • Membership to the Edible Family newsletter (invaluable advice and a helping hand in the garden via your inbox) • PLUS - unique to Edible Landscapes, an Audio Commentary MP3 recording of our conversation on the walk around your garden explaining your new design. The audio can be downloaded directly to your home computer or smart phone for you to listen to again and again.
So what are you waiting for - get growing today! For more details or to book your Edible Garden Design call Bruce on 5448 3769 / 0411 518 773 or visit www.ediblelandscapes.com.au or check out their facebook page at facebook.com/EdibleLandscapesAustralia.