The YCG strategic garden team working with Morag Gamble to prepare for the 4 session PDC Intensive that will be focusing on redesigning and improving the YCG demonstration Gardens. The team talked about the future of the Gardens and all expressed their desire to make this space a living example of community engagement and interaction where young and old feel comfortable to learn about Permaculture and sustainable living.
Join Urban Kulture for a wonderful presentation and hands-on skill development in gourmet mushroom cultivation. Learn how to grow your own Oyster mushrooms as we take you through the steps of mushroom cultivation with a focus on using urbanly available waste products all in a fun and friendly environment!
Facilitated by local Musician and Fungiphile Kayt Wallace who will be demystifying the amazing process of growing this beautiful variety of mushroom. Kayt will be sharing her passion for mycology and experience both low tech and commercial production methods using a variety of materials in our subtropical climate.
This workshop covers the production of oyster mushrooms using non sterile techniques. You will learn about all the steps involved in mushroom production including how to create your own cultures using nothing but waste stem butts from fresh mushrooms, and how to make mushroom spawn from recycled paper pellets and fruiting blocks using three different urbanly available substrates: Paper Pellets, Hardwood Pellets and spent coffee grounds! Now also covering pasteurised straw techniques and log grows. Workshop attendees will take home items made in the workshop including low tech spawn bag and Oyster mushroom fruiting bags.
Having always had a passion for science, nutrition and growing weird and wonderful things, Kayt Wallace first started growing Oyster mushrooms in 2015 for their incredible nutritional value and out of sheer curiosity. She quickly became fascinated with the process of working with mycelium from it’s very beginnings on Petri dishes in a lab in preparation to grow on many different growing mediums including coffee grinds, sugarcane mulch and other organic waste products. Kayt believes that knowledge should be shared, so it’s fitting that she is collaborating with Australia wide Mycological educators Urban Kulture to deliver workshops in the South East Queensland region and looks forward to sharing this wonderful process.
To book click here
Why Heritage Breeds
Heritage or traditional breed chickens have been around for hundreds of years. They are purebred birds that have stood the test of time and adapted to their environment. These birds tend to be more foregiving when it comes to novice chicken keepers as they can survive with some basic care. In their day these birds were considered the champion egg layers but since cross-breeding and hybridisation they are no longer the super egg layers, this title belongs to cross-bred birds. Heritage breeds lay eggs for up to 7 years, although the number of eggs might taper off. Hybrid birds on the other hand, only lay for about two to three years and then they stop laying. To preserve the heritage breeds it is important for backyard chicken keepers to continue to keep and breed these birds.
Caring For Your Chooks
Shelter: Chickens require shelter from the rain, sun, wind and predators. A good sturdy chicken coop, that foxes and other predators cannot burrow under is ideal. The coop should also have 1 or 2 laying boxes where chickens can lay their eggs. Laying boxes should be protected from direct sunlight and they prefer it to be a little dark. Put some hemp bedding or straw in the bottom of the laying box. Also if your coop is on a concrete base or simply on the ground, use an absorbent material such as straw, sugar cane mulch or hemp to put on the floor as this will absorb the droppings and keep the coop clean. Both the laying boxes and coop should be cleaned regularly and the straw taken out of the coop can be used in the garden for mulch and compost.
Food & Water: Chickens require access to fresh and clean water daily. This is particularly important in hot weather. Food should include vegetable scraps, a good seed mix or layer mash and where possible some bugs such as soldier fly larvae. If birds are free ranging they find bugs for themselves.
Companionship: Chickens are very social creatures so ensure you keep more than one and handle and talk to your birds regularly. Chickens are able to recognize up to 200 faces, so don’t think they don’t know when you are around.
Illness: Chickens can get ill, some things that can plague them are worms which gives them diarrhoea (dirty pants). The chicken will look ill, lose weight, have a poor appetite and drink more water than usual. The remedy for worms is feeding them comfrey leaves and garlic. Also scatter wormwood leaves all around the coop. Prevention would include feeding them oats weekly and putting garlic and cider vinegar in their water. Lice, fleas and mites can be prevented by keeping the coop clean and dusting their coop with diatomacious earth
Happy And Healthy Chooks
Healthy chickens have the following:
- Bright, full and waxy combs
- Bright, shiny and alert eyes
- Clean nostrils and no sound of laboured breathing.
- Heads and tails held high
- Breasts full and plump
- Abdomens firm
- Feathers smooth and clean
- Droppings firm, greyish brown with a white cap.
Happy chickens do the following:
- Scratch in the soil looking for bugs
- Take dust baths
- Maintain a pecking order
- Go broody and mate (if there is a rooster about)
Selecting The Right Bird
It is important to find the right bird for your situation and requirements. Below are some things to consider
|Climate Hardiness||Can the bird selected survive the temperatures of your area? Living in South East Queensland heat is a big consideration when selecting a bird|
|Roosters Or Hens||In the city one can only have hens and no roosters, check with your local council on how many hens you can have for the size of your property|
|Egg Production||Are you keeping hens for egg production then select a breed that has high egg production|
|Meat Production||If you are keeping chickens to slaughter for meat then select a bird that is plumb and meaty|
|Handling Ability & Flightiness||Some birds do not want to be handled. If you want children to enjoy the chickens then find a breed that does not mind being picked up. Some breeds are very flighty and thus are hard to keep confined to a backyard.|
|Broodiness||If you want to breed with your chickens then a hen that gets broody often is good to put fertilised eggs under, otherwise broodiness is not desireable as egg production ceases when hens are broody|
|Ornamental||If you do not care about eggs or meat then you might want to keep a pretty bird|
Popular Heritage Breeds
- Rhode Island Red
- Wyandotte (various colours)
- Silkie (small breed, great for small gardens & children)
- New Hampshire
- Araucana (lays blue eggs)
Chickens & Permaculture
Permaculture is about understanding and encouraging a healthy relationship between plants, animals, humans and the environment and in so doing creating benefit for all. Chickens not only provide eggs and meat but produce manure for your garden and their scratching habit can be used in all sorts of ways like turning your compost pile. Chickens are also ferocious bug hunters so they make quick work of catching all the unwanted bugs in your orchard or veggie patch. From a social perspective they are a delight to have around teaching children and adults alike how to care and interact with birds and the environment in general.
YCG will be hosting a chicken workshop, to book click here
Hi, I’m Dee Humphreys and I’m passionate about eating Weeds and Herbs – Basically all edible Greens
By herbs, I’m not just talking parsley, coriander, Rosemary etc. During my presentation, I am going to outline a wide range of tropical greens that thrive in SE Queensland. This way you can easily grow your own greens, and therefore be certain that the food you are eating is 100% nutritious, homegrown and spray free.
Life couldn’t get any better than that!
I will also help you identify a wide range of edible, and delicious weeds, so that you can stop trying to kill them, and instead, you can start including them in your salads, slow-cooked meals etc.
I will discuss a range of greens you can also use as scrumptious, (and nutritious) teas. That way you can stop purchasing processed teas from the supermarket, and start enjoying easy homegrown teas from your own garden!
I also discuss the health and healing benefits of the herbs and weeds, so you will leave the presentation with a wealth of information to use straight away.
Some of the fun herbs I will be discussing include;
*Ceylon Spinach *Mukunuwenna *Mushroom Plant *Lebanese Cress
*Lemon Balm *Chives *French Sorrel *Parsley *Sawtooth Coriander
*Pumpkin vine tips *Sweet potato tips (green variety with red stem)
*Arrowroot *Mother of Herb *Mugwort *Herb Robert
*Gotu Kola *Mint (Choc, Peppermint, Spearmint, Vietnamese)
*Brazilian Spinach/Sambu Lettuce *Pineapple Sage *Aibika (QLD Greens)
*Sweet Leaf *Yarrow *Winter Tarragon *Basil (eg traditional, bush, Thai)
Some of the weeds we will identify include;
* Weed Amaranth * Swamp Dock *Sheep Sorrel *Sida retusa *Alehoof
* Chickweed *Pink Shamrock * Wandering Jew * Blue Top (Billy Goat Weed)
Uses of edible Greens include;
Salad = collect and chop for Soups, stews, crock pots, juice them, broths.
OR Teas, bath soak, foot bath, hand soaks, poultices, eye washes.
Used to make your own pepper shake (eg Nasturtium seed, Farmers Friend, Papaya seed)
For animals pick the same Herbs and Weeds, for chooks, goats, pigs
During the 2 hours presentation, I have chosen herbs and weed varieties that are easy to grow harvest and prepare. Book here
These ‘herbie, weedy greens’ without other veggies are more than enough for a very nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner!
I do Garden Tours where we taste the herbs and weeds and I help you identify edible herbs and weeds that are easy to grow. If you are interested in attending a Garden Tour, feel free to contact me on 0497754486 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information and identification assistance, try Isabell Shipard’s book – Self Sufficiency. Pages 56-72 are ALL on EDIBLE WEEDS (photos and all).
Isabell’s other book on Herbs is all you will ever need to purchase to identify edible herbs and read about their health and healing properties.
Books are available for purchase in the nursery shop
One of the objectives here at the Yandina Community Gardens is to help our members and community learn hands-on skills and become educated to live a more “self-sufficient” and “sustainable” lifestyle. Becoming more self-sufficient means becoming less dependent on outside resources and making more use of your own resources. Whilst complete self-sufficiency may not be possible for most people in today’s modern world, I do believe it is a rewarding pursuit. One that will yield many practical and personal benefits.
There is an abundance of information and tips out there on how to become more self-sufficient. Over the coming months, the gardens will be running a number of workshops to support you to become more self-sufficient. In this article, I will be focusing on three things you can do to reduce your living costs and become more self-sufficient. At the end of the article, I will include a list of tips for you.
1. Grow your own food
On average we spend about $150 a week on food and for a family, with a couple kids, this can be well over $300 a week. Almost all those costs can be eliminated by growing our own food. Get out and attend as many workshops as you can to learn the key components to growing your own organic nutrient-packed food. The main things to learn about include:
- Loving your soil – having healthy soil is central to how good your food will be. Understanding how you can increase the humus content in your soil will improve your food quality and quantity.
- Basic permaculture design principles – one-way permaculture differs from other methods of gardening is that it is not just a set of practical techniques; it is a way of thinking and of adapting to a particular ecology. Whether you are starting a new garden, or introducing permaculture principles to an existing garden, having some understanding of the key principles will definitely help you get closer to your self-sufficiency goals. Join one of our garden tours at Yandina Community Gardens to see what we do. Garden Tours at YCG
- How to grow your own seedlings – growing your own seedlings is easy but not as easy as just throwing a seed in some dirt, there are a few key things you can learn that will increase your success rate. Join a local seed savers group so you can learn how to save your own seeds and you will have friends to swap seeds with as well.
- Building garden beds and wicking gardens – if you don’t have the resources to build your own beds you can visit local recycling and demolition yards and find lots of valuable materials. Wicking beds are great for our subtropical climate and will help reduce your water use and grow super greens all year round.
- Natural garden pest control – prevention is the best cure when it comes to pests. A healthy garden is the best defense. Natural pest control is cost effective and safe for your garden, your family, your companion animals, wildlife and the environment.Find out about our workshops, click here
2. Build a compost system
Organic waste comprises an estimated 20-40% of the solid waste stream that ends up in landfills. Organic matter breaks down slowly in landfills due to limited oxygen, which can contribute to methane gas production. Luckily we can compost! 🙂 Compost is the rich, black remnant of organic waste such as kitchen scraps combined with “brown” matter (i.e. soil, leaves). The result is beautiful fertilizer for your garden. Intentionally composting accelerates the natural process of the breakdown of organic matter. Composting reduces landfill waste, saves you from using chemical fertilizers, and introduces beneficial organisms to your soil. A supporter and member of our garden Costa Georgiadis has a lot to say about composting.
3. Improve your hot water heating systems
What few people realize, is that the process of heating water in homes is extremely energy intensive and therefore expensive. An average household can use around 25% of its total energy on heating water. So it’s important to use an efficient system that suits your needs. Reducing the amount of hot water you use and using a more efficient hot water system are great ways to reduce your energy costs and your impact on the environment. Given that over 85% of our electricity in Australia is derived from nonrenewable fossil fuels, the ecological cost of water heating is enormous. The warm showers that you so enjoy are most fun and likely at the same time contributing to massive greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming.
Luckily, there are other ways to heat the water that you use that are cost-effective. It is a step to becoming less reliant on the power grid. Do some of your own research online.
Once you have your own food growing, have put together an efficient composting system and have reduced your energy consumption by heating your own hot water you will be well on your way to becoming more self-sufficient and saved lots of money.
There are lots more things you can start to incorporate into your daily life – here are some ideas.
Easy Self Sufficient Living Tips
- Building a rain barrel to collect rainwater for lawn and garden irrigation.
- Install solar panels with batteries to store household energy.
- Add skylights and large, energy-efficient windows to take advantage of natural light.
- Choose a solar oven to replace inefficient appliances.
- Learn basic appliance, car, and home repairs and maintenance to save time and money to keep items in good repair for a longer time period.
- Using a clothesline instead of a gas or electric dryer.
- Choosing reusable grocery bags instead of disposable ones, and reusing store bags as trash bags.
- Growing indoor micro herbs for fresh recipe seasoning.
- Choose reusable cloth diapers that can be handed down to multiple children.
- Learning to repair and sew new clothing, curtains etc
- Learn basic culinary preservation skills such as canning or making fruit preserves to support a larger harvest.
- Learning food fermentation methods for food and health
- Choosing to walk or bike to work or on errands instead of using a motorised vehicle.
- Choosing a low flow toilet or composting toilet to preserve water and use the human effluents
- Choose energy efficient light bulbs and appliances to minimise the need for electricity.
- Using a manual push lawn mower instead of electric or gas powered models.
- Buying locally produced items to minimize transport costs and to support others interested in self-sufficiency.
- Starting your own business to become economically self-sufficient instead of relying on an employer.
- Developing natural beauty without depending on cosmetics, hair dye, and other products.
- Choosing self-sufficient recreation such as camping, hiking, or other low impact activities that do not require extensive travel or elaborate assistance to enjoy.
Self-sufficient living tips can help anyone begin to develop their own economic and environmental independence. While it may not be possible to become completely self-sufficient, choosing just a few ways to participate in low impact living can have a profound impact on the environment as well as an individual’s self-esteem and personal satisfaction.
Roman Spur and his family have pursued a self-sufficient lifestyle for many years. To learn more about how to provide for your family in a more sustainable and self-sufficient way, join us at Roman’s workshop. Click here to book