Friday, April 29, 2011

Featured in Matching Grants Flyer

James Street Reserve Community Garden was featured on a City of Sydney Matching Grants flyer "do you have a great idea" that was recently enclosed with rates notices.

Our garden was one of three projects that showed how an "idea has been turned into a reality".

Radishes & Aubergines

Hopefully some of you have enjoyed bed 6 radishes in recent weeks.

Believe it or not, this is the first thing that I have grown since alfalfa and mung beans on cotton wool as a kid!

I have also added a photo of Kati's delicious baby aubergines.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Garden Update Friday 18/3/11

This week (1 month ago) saw a tumbler compost bin magically appear in the corner of the yard. These type of bins work the same as our existing bins except they are mounted on a triangular frame and the drum swings on its axis and can be easily spun over and over without touching the ground or the need to get in their with a compost fork. We will be putting this to good use in the coming week. Thankyou to whoever dropped this in the yard. 

The existing compost bins are cooking away nicely in the corner. Next time you are in the garden take a look in the bins and you will easily notice the heat they are generating. Active compost with the correct Nitrogen to Carbon ratio is capable of reaching 55 Celsius (130 Fahrenheit) and has been used on a larger scale to heat hot water for domestic use. For our setup though this heat helps break down the material into great compost.  

A word of warning.. I have removed several used needles from the undergrowth of the large middle bed this week. As always please be extra careful when working in the soil and if you find a needle please make whoever maybe working with you in the garden aware of it and using a garden spade or secateurs carefully remove it from the beds and place it in the bin. 

Adam Snow
1 butt street / surry hills nsw 2010
t +61 2 9213 3000 / d +61 2 9213 3000
 / m 0404 187225

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Some photos from the last Working Beeeee... 2nd April 2011

Sorry for the delay in posting... but here they are...

Aussie produce garden blogs

Here are some great Aussie produce garden blogs and websites I have come across. There is lots of good info and I have let them know about this post. Feel free to add any cool ones you've found to the comments.

Aussie Organic Gardening is a great blog that also focusses on produce suitable for our region of NSW. Latest posts is about things to plant in April in NSW!

Warner Bay Community Garden is in the Lake Macquarie region of NSW. Find their great blog here:

iGarden is a personal blog from Deirdre Mowat, a passionate gardener from Sydney's northern suburbs.

Dr Tim Entwisle is now Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust in Sydney. He is is a highly respected scientist and scientific communicator with a broad interest in plants, science and gardens.

Listing has been accepted on the Aussie Gardening directory.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Green Beans yum!

There are heaps of green beans at the moment so we grabbed a handful to have with steak and veg tonight. Still not sure what the produce protocol is but we only ever grab a small portion of only ripe or fallen produce and make sure there is some for the next person. Some local non-members have been carefully grabbing some herbs etc but we've also lost some produce before it's ripe etc. Still early days for the garden and it seems members are happy with how things are going but feel free to comment below on with a suggestion. I'm still up for the informal evening drinks and produce chat every Wednesday or thursday eve?   

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Worms give the manure two thumbs up.

Using horse manure in worm farms can be abit of a gamble. If the horses whose manure we have collected had been treated with a wormicide the toxins will still be present in the manure. By putting a handful of worms with some manure in a seperate box and not having "casualties" a day or two later we can be sure the manure is safe for our farms. Munch away little worms!!

Mr. Worm

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Working Bee 2nd April 2011

A good turnout to our last working bee meant that the following and more was completed and a good gardening time was had by all. 


  • Planted Banana trees and 3 kiwi types (1 male, 2 female)
  • Replanted strawberries along fence
  • Cleaned last plants and prepped beds.  
  • Horse poo from Centennial Park Equestrian centre spread around. 
  • Presented new plan to working bee attendees.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Composting and worm farming info

Worms have five hearts and hate sunlight
We have a great compost system in our garden and our compost master Mr Worm is doing a great job monitoring it all. Below is some information from Sydney Organic Gardens to keep in mind and see here for a resent updated by Mr Worm himself! 

Composting and worm farming information provided by Sydney Organic Gardens

Top five things to remember:

1. Moisture – is key, but not too much, not too little. A simple squeeze test is a good way to check if your level is right – grab a handful and give it a squeeze, if no liquid escapes, your compost is too dry, if moisture leaks without even squeezing, your compost is too soggy! Often when it smells there is too much moisture which in turn means there is not enough...

2. Air – for a healthy compost there needs to be enough air, which enables enough oxygen. Aerobic bacteria need air and oxygen to exist and breakdown the what the anaerobic bacteria create, methane. Without air, you have a methane-bomb-like compost.

3. Diversity – it’s all about having the right mix of wet (green leafy veggies etc.) and dry (leaves, hay, straw and newspaper) additions to your compost. Also ensure there are as many different materials in the compost as possible – i.e. Not just cabbage and newspaper. 

4. Life - remember your compost is a living Eco system and it is the life inside that is doing the work.

5. Layers – it is important to both layer the compost in the bins – think of it like a lasagna; after each 10cm deep dry layer, you need an equal amount of wet layer. Also when putting compost in the beds, always layer it under something else like mulch or hessian etc.

COMPOST MASTER: Jos was nominated as the ‘compost master’ making him responsible for regular maintenance (i.e turning) and also reporting back on any issues etc.
It is everyone’s responsibility to keep an eye on the compost systems – checking for rubbish and vandalism etc.

  • Things that should never go into the compost bins include – meats, bread and domestic animal poo, any artificial matter
  • Don’t let it get too wet – this can be very problematic

Fast v. slow – A fast compost system is filled at one time, generally ready after 2 weeks, and moved intermittently. A slow compost is one which you can add to daily (i.e. scraps) but the same rules apply so you need to be sure to have a healthy mix of wet and dry.
We currently have three fast compost systems but will aim to have a rotation system and slow solutions too. We'll work on a strategy!

SETTING A GOOD EXAMPLE: The folks at Sydney Organic Gardens suggested to check out Newtown community garden for a really good example of successful composting systems.

Worm farming
  1. The very bottom layer is for catching the ‘worm juice’ (basically their excretions) and should be filtered with the coconut layer you receive in the worm farm kit. Always make sure the ‘tap’ is turned on or else you risk drowning your worms and have a bucket below the tap to catch the precious juice
  2. The next layers are the worms’ home – once one layer reaches its limit, add another for the worms to move up into and live
  3. A lid – worms are very fragile creatures and need protection from the elements.

  • Once the worm farm has been constructed and the worms have been fed, leave them for a week.
  • After a week, give the worms some more food (leafy greens / compost type scraps etc.) and leave again until all of the food has been eaten.
  • Don’t overfeed your worms (i.e. give them more food when there is still uneaten food) - this is one of the biggest problems you can face!
  • As your worm farm fills up, add a new layer (you’ll be ready to do so once you reach the specified limit of worm castings on the side of the layer)
  • Worm fluid only needs to be slightly diluted and you will have a really rich fertilizer
  • Like compost, when using your worm castings in the garden, always cover them with mulch – otherwise, they will dry out and become redundant
  • If healthy and working well the worm farm shouldn't smell – apparently people have them inside their homes on kitchen benches and even as coffee table!

  • Worms have five hearts and hate sunlight
  • Despite being hermaphrodites need two to mate in order to lay fertile eggs
  • If you start with 1,000 worms within 6 months you'll be up to about 20,000
  • Worms are very delicate – treat them like you would a cut on human skin - as such, they don't like citrus, chili or anything that stings!