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Inoculation
Composting
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Women Gardeners
2019 summer harvest
Banana Circle
Spiral Garden
Intergenerational Garden
Native bushfood

2nd Saturday of the Month

Edible landscape gardens regular monthly activity
Meet us near the Edible Landscape Gardens site 
at Country Paradise Parkland - Nerang.
74 Billabirra Crescent, Nerang
8:30 am -10:30 am
Everyone is welcome!

(Check details out on the Facebook page: Edible Landscape gardens Project

Next Event

October workshop

Join us as we transform this open space into a productive edible garden that will grow food for parkland visitors and the community in need! This is a hands-on event

Please feel free to bring any surplus produce, seeds, cuttings, plants, gardening magazines etc to swap and share!EdibleScapes support healthy and sustainable local communities through edible gardening.

Our volunteers work together to create a vibrant, sustainable network of community growers in the Gold Coast.Check details out on the Facebook page: Edible Landscape gardens Project.www.facebook.com/pg/n.ediblescapes/events
This is a free event, but bookings are essential.

Come along and get involved in the creation of this amazing public edible space! Be active and make a difference in your community by joining the monthly working bee gathering.

If you are interested in being part of EdibleScapes team as a support or volunteer please contact us or come along to the meetings on the 2nd Saturday of the month

Inoculation of compost

Maturity of Compost

Composting is an effective way of reducing organic wastesand transforming them into humus as bio-fertilizer. The application of maturecompost not only increases soil nutrient and beneficial microbial population,but also promotes plant growth and suppresses diseases. The application ofmicrobiological additive inoculated compost is likely to exhibit persuasiveresults compared to the direct use of organic wastes. The microorganisms inmature compost could persist in soil for longer periods of time and colonizemore aggressively in the rhizosphere.

The end product of composting organics is considered beneficial if it meets safety standards for human health and the environment, and it can also enhance soil health. Compost maturity is defined as a property that, when applied to plants, does not cause adverse effects including phytotoxic effects. In general, mature compost can be defined as a material which is ready for cultivation use.

It is very important that the final product of composting be mature. Immature compost causes several detrimental effects including reducing the available soil nitrogen, which in turn causes nitrogen deficiency in crops. In addition, due to the speedy disintegration of immature compost, an anaerobic environment is often created around the plant roots, depleting the supply of oxygen. Furthermore, acidic compost also increases the solubility of heavy metals and inhibits the germination of plant seeds by producing phytotoxic substances like ethylene oxide, organic acids and ammonia.

Effective Microorganisms (EM)

It is a group of mutually compatible species of microorganisms used to accelerate the decomposition process. They include lactobacilli, yeasts, photosynthetic bacteria and actinomycetes. Inoculation of compost enhances the composting process and quality of the final product.

EM produces antioxidants such as inositol, saponin, ubiquinone, low-molecular polysaccharides, chelating agents and polyphenols. These substances inhibit the harmful microbial population, enhance the multiplication of beneficial microorganisms and decontaminate harmful substances simultaneously. However, a single microorganism cannot produce all the necessary enzymes for complete degradation but use of microbial groups such as EM which act synergistically for rapid biodegradation of organic residues can help produce all the necessary enzymes. (The concept of efficient microorganisms (EM) or effective microorganisms was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Teguo Higa, professor of horticulture at the University of Ryukyu, in Okinawa, Japan.)

Mountain Microorganisms (MM)

Mountain Microorganisms is a collection of various beneficial microorganisms that are found in virgin soils or forest decomposing organic matter. They are used in the preparation of organic fertilizers in order to speed up the process of breaking down organic matter. The inoculation of beneficial microbes in the compost would further enhance the soil fertility and crop productivity.

Organic Fertilizers and Bio-Ferments

It is based on the technology of using mountain microorganisms to restore soil life, increase crop productivity and quality in order to improve organic growers’ livelihoods.

The production of organic compost using effective Mountain Microorganisms is one of a demonstrated alternative that will allow or permit organic growers to regenerate the fertility of their soil. This technology was implemented from microorganisms from their natural habitat (nearby natural forest) which are reproduced using inputs and techniques that are easy to understand.

These microorganisms are then incorporated in the preparation of organic solid fertilizers (Bokashi) and Bioles (fermented liquid fertilizers), in order to regenerate soil health and fertility of soil.

This puts in action the restoration of ecological equilibrium of the land that were once enjoyed by our ancestors. Organic fertilizers are products obtained from the decomposition of organic matter; in this process effective microorganisms are important because they break down the organic matter thus releasing nutrients for plant growth.

Importance of organic fertilizers

They improve the soil, physical structure (soft and loose soil), chemical (increase nutrients), and biological (high population of beneficial microorganisms) composition.
• Improve yields and the quality of produce
• Source of food for soil organisms
If there were no beneficial microorganisms, the process of decomposition would be slow and we would not obtain high quality organic fertilizer.

Decomposing forest matter is a natural source of Mountain Microorganisms.

Importance of Effective Mountain Microorganisms (M.M)
• Improves the soil health, crop productivity and quality of produce.
• Stimulates seed germination and root growth
• Protects the crops from being attacked by disease causing organisms.  
Are used in the preparation of Bokashi, Bio-ferments and Bio-crop repellents.

Reproduction of M.M

(Effective Mountain Microorganisms)

Is a process of reproducing beneficial microorganisms, obtained from a natural forest, by giving them the right conditions for their growth which will later be used in the preparation of solid and liquid organic fertilizers. Theycan also be applied directly on the plant leaves to control certain pests and diseases or as a growth booster.

The MM technology regenerates poorly managed soils reducing incidences of crop pest and diseases and improves productivity and quality of your crops. It can be implemented by all producers whether large, medium, small, organic, conventional or sustainable.

Mountain Microorganisms Recipe

Phase 1: MM Solid
Ingredients
•3 sacks microorganisms (duff layer of primary forest)
•2 sacks semolina, or chopped sugar cane
•1 gallon molasses, cane juice, or fruit juice
•1 gallon water

Instructions
Spread a layer of duff on a top and cover with a layer of semolina. Mix well with hands. Dilute the molasses with the water and sprinkle on top as you continue to mix. If you grab a fistful of the mixture it should be slightly damp and fall apart easily after you squeeze it.

Next, have someone stand in a 55 gallon plastic drum (never metal), while you shovel the material inside. As you shovel, the person stamps the mixture down with their feet to compress it and remove any air pockets. Seal the barrel and leave at least one month, stored in the shade. When ready, it should have a strong smell of lactic acid.

EdibleScapes community composting

In May 2018 EdibleScapes commenced a modest community composting program.  Its aim was to produce composted soil, fertiliser and composted mulch, for the Edible Landscape Gardens project.

This program has been extremely successful, saving from landfill 3 cubic metres of organic waste per week.  The composted soil produced comes from diverse mulched trees and leaves, surplus from local farmer markets and fruit shops, coffee grounds, water weeds, horse manure and grass clippings. It is produced by a hot compost method. The heat kills bad bacteria and most weed seeds.  Beneficial bacteria grows and, in turn breaks down organic matter. EdibleScapes’ composted heap contains in mixed layers approximately:

For a total C:N Ratio of 30:1 mix
  • 1 part(s) under 20:1:  Vegetable waste, fresh lawn clipping
  • 2 part(s) 20-30:1: Horse manure, water weeds, coffee grounds
  • 1 part(s) 30-40:1: Fruit waste
  • 2 part(s) 40-100:1: Dry leaves, dry lawn clipping, bamboo fragments
  • 2 part(s) over 100:1: Trees mulches (226:1)

In 2019 EdibleScapes plan to aim higher by establishing an on-site learning and demonstration site for community composting and organic fertilizers.  The Primary Vision of EdibleScapes is community composting; production of sufficient cultivated, organic soil to meet the needs of the edible landscape gardens project.  Other goals are to provide soil for local organic food growers, as well as provide social food for the disadvantaged in our community.  Edible Landscape gardens are experiential educational sites, open to the community, who, with the permission of gardeners, are free to taste the ripe fruits.

EdibleScapes strive to meet the “GROWING LOCAL FERTILITY: AGUIDE TO COMMUNITY COMPOSTING”

Guiding Principles:
  • Resources recovered: Waste is reduced; food scraps and other organic material are diverted from disposal and composted.
  • Locally based and closed loop: Organic materials are a community asset and are generated and recycled into compost within the same neighbourhood or community.
  • Organic materials returned to soils: Compost is used to enhance local soils, support local food production, and conserve natural ecology by improving soil structure and maintaining nutrients, carbon, and soil microorganisms.
  • Community-scaled and diverse: Composting infrastructure is diverse, distributed, and sustainable; systems are scaled to meet the needs of a self-defined community.
  • Community engaged, empowered, educated: Compost programming engages and educates the community in food systems thinking, resource stewardship, or community sustainability, while providing solutions that empower individuals, businesses, and institution to capture organic waste and retain it as a community resource.
  • Community supported: Aligns with community goals (such as healthy soils and healthy people) and is supported by the community it serves. The reverse is true too. A community composting program supports community social, economic, and environmental well-being.

“Well managed composting system ensure adequate microorganisms are necessary to digest organic materials, as well as adequate oxygen, adequate moisture, adequate food for microorganisms (that is, a balanced carbon to nitrogen ration), diversely sized food particles that provide pore space for oxygen to travel, and an adequate volume of material to best allow the microbial population to grow and thrive (usually a cubic metre or more).  Food scraps represent materials high in nitrogen; thus, any food scrap composting program must find adequate supplies of carbon-rich materials such as wood chips, mulch, straw, leaves and brush. In addition, compost needs time and space to stabilize and mature after an initial phase, typically characterized by high temperatures, and frequent monitoring and management”.

EdibleScapes aims to recover ‘waste’ and to do so by ensuring high-quality compost at well-managed sites that pose no public nuisances. EdibleScapes will make sure that the community composting operations comply with performance-based standards.  This means Ediblescapes will not create public nuisance odours, generate pathogens, or pollute groundwater or surface waters. For community composting, particularly in urban areas, addressing odour and rodents are a paramount issue. Adequate aeration or oxygen is essential for optimizing the composting process and preventing it from going anaerobic, which can produce nuisance odours.  A periodical schedule for turning will ensure minimal odours. The bins will be wrapped with ¼-inch hardware cloth to be rodent-proof, including the top hatch (rats will climb the sides to get in through the top). To prevent habitat formation at the base, EdibleScape will make sure to air and dry the bare earth for two days between batches and add dry mulch to the foundation of new batches.

EdibleScapes future plan is to double the value proposition of the project by further developing the community composting and adding the benefit of providing organic  fertilizers.  This model can be a valid strategy to generate local jobs though public support, if it is scaled-up by duplicating it in other sites with government support. In addition, community participation and education may be instrumental for persuading all levels of government that taxpayer and private funds are appropriately spent on community composting and communal edible landscape gardens.

Nevertheless, we are aware that government support for communal food production is a difficult proposition. This is why EdibleScapes propose a community run social enterprise structure, which will eventually develop revenue streams, which in turn, will ensure solid financial sustainability. Nonetheless, even if money is not the ultimate factor in the project’s implementation or long-term operation, EdibleScapes want to balance Social food grown with social enterprise and generate income via valuable organic fertilizers products offered to Gold Coast organic growers.

After the success of the past two years, in 2019 EdibleScapes will set up a model for a Community Composting system.  This will function as a learning and demonstration site, producing on-site organic fertilisers, which will service the needs of the edible landscape gardens as well as the local organic grower community.

Actual composting system
2019 Learning and demonstration composting concept

Community Vermicomposting

April will be an exciting month for EdibleScapes.  We are planning on adding a vermicompost operation to the community composting site. This forward planning will ensure delivery of our first vermicast products by August at the Botanical Bazaar Gardening Expo.

The cultivation of earthworms in organic wastes has been termed vermiculture, and vermicomposting. Vermiculture is the culture of earthworms. Vermicomposting is the process by which worms are used to convert organic material (usually wastes) into humus-like material known as vermicompost.  Our goal is to produce vermicompost, so we want to have maximum worm population density all the time.

VERMICULTUREAND VERMICOMPOST PROCESSING

The following guidelines should be followed: (Insert from the best practice guidelines, Appendix P-AS_4454.)

(a) Mixing and feedstock preparation: A homogeneous mix of feedstock material is of paramount importance to ensure consistent processing throughout the organic material.

(b) Dimensions: A minimum bed depth of mature vermicast of 0.3 to 0.4 m is recommended. The size of such beds is flexible, but the width should allow the entire bed to be inspected easily. The amount of fresh material added to the surface should not result in anaerobic conditions and heat generation. An important principle to improve the efficiency of processing of organic wastes by earthworms is to add the material to the beds in thin layers of 2.5 – 5.0 cm at frequent intervals. Compost worms are big eaters. Under ideal conditions, they are able to consume in excess of their body weight each day, although the general rule-of-thumb is ½ of their body weight per day.

(c) Ingredients: The optimum C:N ratio is approximately 20–25:1. Organic material high in available energy (low C:N) should be mixed with materials that are low in available energy (high C:N). This material should be uniformly mixed with the other ingredients. Size reduction of the various components of the feed mix assists in decomposition of the material and facilitates worm access. The resulting feed mix should be within a pH range of 5.5 to 8.5 and its electrical conductivity should not exceed 3 dS/m.

(d) Moisture: Optimum moisture levels vary between 80–90% in the active layer of the vermiculture system (where feedstock is supplied) and between 30–70% in the bed material.

(e) Temperature: Vermiculture systems operate best in a mesophilic bed temperature range of between 5 to 35°C, ideally 15 to 25°C.

(f) Oxygen: Worms require an aerobic environment of not less than 10% free oxygen in the active layer of the system.

(g) Duration: A minimum processing time of not less than six weeks is recommended to produce stabilized material. An additional maturation step of between 4 to 6 weeks may be required after removing the material from the system to achieve a greater level of maturity.

The Compost Worm: There are an estimated 1800 species of earthworm worldwide, some sources number more than 4000-5000 earthworm species. However, vermiculture/vermicomposting selects just 7 species, and the majority just focus on one. Eisenia fetida (Savigny) is commonly known as red Californian, compost worm, red wiggler or other local names.

Stocking density: Refers to the initial weight of worm biomass per unit area of bedding. For instance, if you started with 5kg of worms and put them in a bed with a surface area of 2m², then your initial stocking density would be 2.5 kg/m². The most common densities for vermicomposting are between 5 and 10 kg/ m². Worm growers tend to stock at 5 kg/m² and split the beds when the density has doubled, assuming that the optimum densities for reproduction have by that point been surpassed.

Composting and vermicomposting: A combination of composting and vermicomposting has recently been considered as a way of achieving stabilized substrates. Composting enables sanitization of the waste and elimination of toxic compounds, and the subsequent vermicomposting reduces particle size and increases nutrient availability; in addition, earthworms inoculate the material resulting from the thermophilic phase of composting.

It should be noted that pasteurizing temperatures cannot be achieved during vermicomposting processing as worms are sensitive to thermophilic (hot) temperatures.  Thus, raw ingredients used in vermiculture systems should be relatively free of plant pathogens and plant propagules unless pre- or post-pasteurization is performed.  This can be achieved through a composting process.  This is the way EdibleScapes will feed the worms with mature compost pre-produced by the hot (thermophilic) composting process.

Compost and Vermicompost maturity: Both composting and vermicomposting transform fresh organic wastes into useful products that are rich in available nutrients for plant growth. Subjectively, a mature compost should be dark brown or black, with a granular, spongy, or fibrous texture, and smell like mould or soil.  A mature vermicompost should also be dark black, usually finely divided peat-like material with excellent structure, porosity, aeration, and drainage properties and high moisture-holding capacity.

Compost and Vermicompost systems may be an alternate, inexpensive way to avoid environmental problems and at the same time obtain a valuable organic fertilizer. Vermicomposting may have an important role in organic waste management, and it is possible to suggest that vermicomposting and composting are not necessarily mutually exclusive and could be used in sequence to take advantage of the unique and valuable feature of each.

For EdibleScapes, vermicompost will be a valuable plant and tree fertiliser.  We anticipate that vermicast surplus will bring much needed funds which are vital toward the future operational cost of the public edible landscape gardens, community composting demonstration learning site and EdibleScapes programs.

Celebrating “Women’s Week 2019”
and Having Fun!

by Diane Kelly

As you may know, March 2-10 this year was Queensland Women’s Week. Each year Queensland – and indeed countries across the world – recognises and celebrates the achievements of women and girls.

So it was very fitting - and generous - of EdibleScapes (who are establishing an edible landscape gardens at Country Paradise Park-land in Nerang) to invite several of our Club members and other ladies to “select a fruit tree to grow in a permanent, edible garden as a women’s legacy”.

Jorge Cantellano (who is the person making “EdibleScapes” happen) invited us to choose a sub-tropical tree from the Daley’s cata-logue. When we met last Saturday morning at Nerang, not only were the trees there ready to plant, but Jorge had already pre-pared a number of plots for us. The plots were dug and then filled with composted mulch, and then soil, and then compost – it was all very friable and ready to use.

There were nine trees provided, and so we could choose between:A Dwarf Mulberry tree; a Peanut Butter tree; a black Grumichama tree; an Acerola tree (Florida Sweet); a pomegranate; a Dwarf mandarin (Emperor); a Wampee tree; a Carambola (star fruit) tree and a Tahitian Lime tree.

Thanks for showing us how it’s done, Maria

So with quite a bit of discussion and fun, the trees were planted, and then we were invited to the picnic area to share in morning tea. A highlight of the morning tea was the delivery by one of the EdibleScapes members of a basket of pumpkin scones (beautifully light) – and the pumpkin had been grown on the vines in the EdibleScapes garden!

Thank you, Jorge, and here is a pictorial summary of an enjoyable morning:

The plots were all ready to plant into.
In goes the Tahitian Lime!
EdibleScapes two herb spirals – oneculinary and one medicinal – planted according to their sunlight requirements.
The “tired but happy” group
Our reward !!
Panozzo girls’ agroecologist seeds

Women gardeners

Over the past two years, since I am working to establish the edible landscape gardens, I have observed that gardening is a female territory.

GCOG club over 3/4 women participants

Here at the Gold Coast Organic Growers club, women are in command. It is noticeable, not only from the President’s informative talks, or the over ¾ female regular members, but also to the camaraderie at the regular monthly meetings. Likewise most of the management committee members, newsletter contributors, and speakers are woman.

Similarly, at the Edible Landscape Gardens, participants are predominantly female. As well there are visibly a substantial number of women involved in Gold Coast community and school gardens.

Edible Gardens working bee September

Through digital social media pages, EdibleScapes have received 71% of Women ‘likes’ and GCOG club have 76% of Women ‘likes’. If you follow the South East Queensland Permaculture you will see that from 3,627 FB members, nine out of ten are woman. https://www.facebook.com/groups/335757083118409/members/

From the GCOG’s library this Month, I am reading ‘A Modern HERBAL’ a book edited by Violet Stevenson.  On page 9 it mentions that in the Middle Ages, the ladies of the castles were the ‘gardeners’ and the ladies remained the gardeners of the castle and village for centuries, cultivating healing herbs among their vegetables and culinary plants.

Another topic of interest is the transition to urban agroecology. I selected three statements that comment on the role of women in today’s global-local agroecology transition;  I cite these here:  

“Women play a crucial role as transmitters of traditional knowledge to the new generations. They are particularly aware of the usefulness of plant genetic diversity as they are in many regions the ones with primary responsibility for the production of subsistence crops that are essential to household food security” (Utviklingsfondet, 2011)

“Successfully addressing the challenge of natural resources and biodiversity preservation will require putting women at the front seat of agroecological transition processes since they play a major role in managing soil, water, forests and energy, especially in developing countries. Women have traditionally entertained a close relationship with trees and the forests. They have a deep knowledge of the plants, animals and ecological processes around them. They can be considered the traditional daily managers of the living environment” (Sobha, 2007).

“recognizes the vital role of women in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirming the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservation” (UNCED, 1992).

I hope this note will encourage some conversation especially with the upcoming International Women’s Day, which is to be celebrated in Queensland with a Women’s Week.

On 9th of March in recognition of the vital role of women in keeping knowledge and practice of edible gardening, EdibleScapes are inviting woman to plant fruit trees, and accompanying vegetables and herbs.  We hope to showcase a cultural diversity women’s garden at the Edible Landscape Gardens.  For details please go to:  www.facebook.com/pg/n.ediblescapes/events

Thanks to Council of the City of Gold Coast’s Division 5 – Cr Peter Young, for funding support.  This has allowed, EdibleScapes to proudly source fruit trees and plants in consultation with organic growers and multicultural women’s groups to celebrate Women’s Weeks with a Permanent edible garden women’s legacy.

Cheryl, Tania and Jorge, harvesting herbs January 2019

ESS starting 2019

EdibleScapes had a great start to 2019 harvesting last year’s fresh produce.  17 pumpkins and dozens of organic culinary and medicinal herb packs was donated today (Thursday 17th January) to Nerang Neighbourhood Centre’s Emergency Food Service.  

This is a humble gesture; however, it is a symbolic and tangible statement about city food security and the rights of all citizens to enjoy nutrient-rich healthy food.  The Edible Landscape Gardens site at Country Paradise Parklands is an experiential learning site, where a broad range of gardening, harvesting and expanded opportunities to learn are open to the public.

We are eager to commence our 2019 program, motivated by the concrete support shown to EdibleScapes during 2018 from a range of community stakeholders.  We are especially encouraged by the successful completion of the crowdfunding campaign, only in 3 days into December.  This fundraising will support the Community Composting activities.  

In addition, we were delighted to receive the City Council Division 5 Donation grant for learning aids / booklets / interpretation panels at the Edible Landscape Gardens site.  Another, “big Thank You to Cr, Peter Young” for a second and bigger Grant (on the way to the bank) that will enable the development of the gardens, planting of the permanent fruits trees and running the gardening community education 2019 programs.

Cheryl and Tania harvesting herbs January 2019

Banana Circle

Pic 1: Edible Landscape Gardens’ Banana Circle

EdibleScapes will finish 2018’s activities with planting a second Banana Circle integrated into the Mandala Sun Garden.

A Banana Circle is one of the food growing techniques popularised by permaculture practitioners.  It is a relatively simple idea, constructed in the shape of a bowl about 2m diameter and 1m deep.  Excavated soil is piled into a mound around the pit. The pit will be filled with all sorts of garden waste that will biodegrade. We have half-filled it with composted mulch to start bacterial action. Bananas are very hungry plants and will thrive off the abundant cycling of organic material as well as the moisture naturally retained.

The Banana Circles at Edible Landscape Gardens are on a slope, the mound helping to retain water in a central pit. A variety of plants will be located on the mound around the pit between the banana plants. Plants mutually support one another, shielding against wind, keeping cool, filtering sunlight and acting as trellises. What we have is a mini food forest with good diversity that is well watered and fertilized.  Appropriate companion planting provides physical shelter, nutrients, assists in pest control and reduces root competition.  Importantly it also produces food. 

Pic 2: a tropical banana circle guild

Picture 2 shows a tropical selection, however in the subtropical region, using the typical three sisters -companion plants – beans, tomatoes and corn (maize) to climb on, (ancient Amerindian heritage agroecological knowledge) – the plants will grow better together than they would apart. As an added benefit their crops provide a healthy, balanced diet. (Tomatoes should not be planted too close to banana plants, as they aren’t quite as water-loving as bananas.)

Initial groundcover like sweet potato or squash plants combined with nitrogen fixer plant like peanut grass will help to reduce root competition of grasses and weeds. Comfrey might be another great addition, adding a deep-rooting nutrient accumulator, an attractant for pollinators, and chop-and drop mulch.

In the inner rim wetland plants such as taro or cana lily, which are biomass plants absorbing lots of nutrients and having access to the moisture pocket.

The Circular Banana will be planted on 8 December 8:30 am.  Everyone is welcome to come along to help and to join in the conversation and exchange knowledge.

The Herb Spiral

The principle of a herb spiral is simple, but functional. A herb spiral is basically a small herb garden. It is three-dimensional and has beds in a confined, spiral shaped space, which can be used to grow various herbs.

The herb spiral, an invention of Bill Mollison's, dubbed the "co-founder of Permaculture", creates micro-climates that provide for a multitude of medicinal and culinary herbs.

Thinking in patterns, inspired by the image of a sea shell shape, Bill Mollison made a ziggurat garden that goes up in the air and down in the ground, freeing the gardener from flat patterned gardens.

“With the spiral shape had designed a varietyof micro-climates, shaded and semishaded niches here and there, and bright, hotsunny places to the west and east. It is superbly adapted for culinary herbs.You have different drainages from group to group, different heats and shade. Itis possible also to grow out the sides of it, as well as on the flat. … Itcondensed space, it reduced intercrop, cut down plant competition. Every planthas plenty of root space and plenty of climbing space.”
(Designing for Permaculture, By Bill Mollison, Pamphlet VIII, 1981)
Here’s how it works, according to Toby Hemenway:
The herb spiral has slopes that face in all the directions of the compass. The North-facing side, which gets morning sun, will dry out earlier in the day than the west one. The soil at the bottom will stay wetter than that at the top.   We’ve created an herb garden with different microclimates. So we plant accordingly, locating each herb in suitable environment. Varieties that thrive, and hot, dry climates, such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme, go on the sunny north side near the top.  Parsley and chives, which prefer cooler, moister climes, find a home on the south side. Coriander, which seems to bolt in too much hot sun, can be stationed on the east side, protected from afternoon scorchings.” (adapted to our location -Nerang)
(‘GAIA’S Garden: A Guide to Home-Scales Permaculture, Toby Hemenway)

EdibleScapes Herb Spiral

The two spiral gardens at the Edible Landscape project are about 8 linear meter coils of pathside plants formed into a roundish pattern about 1.5 meters across and mounding up about 80 cm in height, which means we can reach the central herbs without bending over very far.

The Jeans pots were filled up with coarse composted mulch, which regulates solar heat and passes it at night back to the plant. We ensure the foot of the herb spirals are facing south to reduce evaporation and retain the moisture in the lower area, where we can grow plants that love saturated soil. The base of the spiral garden has two water micro-harvest pits, filled up with composted mulch, before the jeans are set up. This guarantees a wet reservoir that the jeans fabric will move up to provide moisture for the plants’ roots.

The Jeans as pots look very attractive and right for spiral herb gardens. We took care to fill the space between the jeans, because it is very important not to leave any cavity where snakes can hide.

EdibleScapes made four zones with different soil characteristics according to exposure to the sun and drainage capacity. This provides a range of different microclimates and the perfect growing spaces for a wide variety of medicinal and culinary herbs.

This project is thanks to the generosity of Botanical Bazaar, who sponsor the presentation of the herb spiral garden at the 16th September Gold Coast Gardening Expo, before transplanting to its permanent home at the Mandala Sun Garden of the Edible Landscape Gardens site. The first 100 herbs was supplied by Mudbrick Cottage Herb farm with special discount for the spiral garden project.

@ Botanical Bazaar

@ Botanical Bazaar

This project is thanks to the generosity of Botanical Bazaar, who sponsor the presentation of the herb spiral garden at the 16th September Gold Coast Gardening Expo.

Geocaching volunteers

Thanks Geocaching Community (https://www.facebook.com/geocaching)
to volunteer (Sunday 23rd September) at Edible Landscapes Gardens project to help setup the medicinal Herb Spiral Garden.

Medicinal herb Spiral Garden

The Medicinal Herb Spiral Garden permanent home at the Mandala Sun Garden. Thanks to the generosity sponsor of Botanical Bazaar. Herbs supplied by Mudbrick Cottage Herb farm with special discount for the spiral garden.
EdibleScapes Spiral Garden, Design for plant distribution.
Here's some beautiful and well-thought out herb spirals sure to inspire.

INTERGENERATIONAL GARDENING

‘Intergenerational gardening is the act of older adults passing along plant information, gardening skills, and cultural traditions to younger generations.’

Last Saturday 11th August a small working bee group help to establish the initial stage of an intergenerational garden at the Edible Landscapes Gardens at Nerang Parkland.

Growing food, building community

“Not everything that grows in a garden is a plant”.  Gardening is just one of the many common-ground activities where intergenerational transfers can happen.

EdibleScapes envisage a safe environment for cultural and life experience sharing:
  • A space for seniors to share their stories and knowledge of gardening.
  • A space where children can learn as they help grandparents grow fruit and vegetables.

The garden space brings a valuable intergenerational exchange to the community.  Seniors have a means to remain physically and mentally active; their knowledge value is not lost; and they can build meaningful relationships with local families.

Grandparents can pass on cultural knowledge to younger generations, especially in families that have immigrated from their countries or communities of origin. Grandparents from a variety of cultural backgrounds can pass on knowledge about growing fruit and vegetables to their grandchildren through joint gardening activities. Grandparents can introduce children to a wide range of fruits and vegetables, reinforcing concepts through bilingual communication, which will increase interest in gardening in the younger generation.  Finally, grandparents can remain physically and mentally active, whilst helping to create a vibrant, cohesive community in an environmentally friendly way.

NATIVE BUSHFOOD AT THE MOON MANDALA GARDEN

by Jorge Cantellano

Ediblescapes finally has commenced planting the Edible Landscape Gardens. Last Saturday 14 July an enthusiastic group planted the first trees at the Moon Garden with Bush Tucker local native trees, including Macadamia Nut, Native Tamarind, Midgen Berry, Black Plum, Native Elderberry, Davidson’s Plum. The trees were supplied by the GC Botanical Gardens Nursery.

Planting the first trees

This is a meaningful project celebrating our local edible trees and plants, whilst focussing on our history and diversity, which will eventually build a vibrant, cohesive, community hub.

In recognition of the Kombumerri people, the traditional custodians of this land that we call the Gold Coast, Ediblescapes have added a layer to the Moon Garden mandala design that represents the six seasons of the First People’s annual calendar.

These six seasonal sections will not be planted yet.  We are marking it with mulch on the ground, so we can initiate a consultation process with the Elders and the First People’s representative community groups. Hopefully this consultation process will result in a public space of knowledge exchange that facilitates the passing of knowledge to future generations.

By weather pattern observation, we can agree that the years have two colder months on the Gold Coast, which start at the Winter Solstice.  They are followed by a short dry season in September, which is a kind of pre-spring.  In October and November there is Spring. In December, the summer solstice marks a pre-wet and warm season.  February is the hottest summer month, with the heaviest rain.  In conclusion, the most comfortable months are April and May, in which it is difficult to find Autumn patterns.

However, thoughtful ecological observation is needed to connect with the six seasons environmental patterns to know what and how to facilitate the growing of edible fruits that contribute to the life of humans and animals in this region.

The First People observed ecological happenings in these six seasons, and that influenced their traditional, social customs. Sadly,  in a very short time, their way of life was disturbed by the European colonial industry.

Hopefully, not all ancestral knowledge has been lost, and the  Edible Landscape gardens project can be instrumental in recovering knowledge from diverse communities to pass to futures generations.

EDIBLE LANDSCAPE GARDENS

DEVELOPING PERMANENT EDIBLE GARDENS OPEN TO COMMUNITY AS PUBLIC SPACE.
MODEL EDIBLE AND MEDICINAL GARDENS ON THE PRINCIPLES OF A FOOD FOREST AND EDIBLE LANDSCAPE.

Country Paradise Parklands
Ediblescapes site

EdibleScapes proposed public space where it’s members of the project will plant fruit trees and edible perennials for the general public to enjoy.

The first public edible space will be at the Nerang Country Paradise Parklands.

Community Partners

Membership

About us

EDIBLE LANDSCAPE Gardens

Is an urban landscare intervention in common space, the project takes specials care in edible and native fruits and perennial plants; developing permanent edible gardens open to community as public space.

Imagine our public spaces full of plants that produce an abundance of fresh, delicious food each year—edible forest landscapes of fruit and nut trees, berry bushes, and more. Imagine kids, adults, local businesses, and organizations all working and learning together to repair the ecosystem while increasing access to local, sustainable food.

The Edible Landscape Gardens Project and it working group “EdibleScapes” exists to facilitate this transformation.

ediblescape at botanical bazaar
Ediblescapes's Geoglyph
Sun Calendar

THE SUN CIRCULAR GARDEN IS AN ADAPTATION OF THE SOLAR CALENDAR.

CONCEPT AND DESIGN

THE DESIGN CONCEPT EXAMINES AND ADAPTS PRIMORDIAL PATTERNS.

Lunar Calendar

THE MOON CIRCULAR GARDEN IS AN ADAPTATION OF THE LUNAR CALENDAR.

2nd Saturday of the Month

Edible landscape gardens regular monthly activity
Meet us near the Edible Landscape Gardens site 
at Country Paradise Parkland - Nerang.
74 Billabirra Crescent, Nerang
8:30 am -10:30 am
Everyone is welcome!

(Check details out on the Facebook page: Edible Landscape gardens Project

Next Event

October workshop

Join us as we transform this open space into a productive edible garden that will grow food for parkland visitors and the community in need! This is a hands-on event

Please feel free to bring any surplus produce, seeds, cuttings, plants, gardening magazines etc to swap and share!EdibleScapes support healthy and sustainable local communities through edible gardening.

Our volunteers work together to create a vibrant, sustainable network of community growers in the Gold Coast.Check details out on the Facebook page: Edible Landscape gardens Project.www.facebook.com/pg/n.ediblescapes/events
This is a free event, but bookings are essential.

Come along and get involved in the creation of this amazing public edible space! Be active and make a difference in your community by joining the monthly working bee gathering.

If you are interested in being part of EdibleScapes team as a support or volunteer please contact us or come along to the meetings on the 2nd Saturday of the month

Inoculation of compost

Maturity of Compost

Composting is an effective way of reducing organic wastesand transforming them into humus as bio-fertilizer. The application of maturecompost not only increases soil nutrient and beneficial microbial population,but also promotes plant growth and suppresses diseases. The application ofmicrobiological additive inoculated compost is likely to exhibit persuasiveresults compared to the direct use of organic wastes. The microorganisms inmature compost could persist in soil for longer periods of time and colonizemore aggressively in the rhizosphere.

The end product of composting organics is considered beneficial if it meets safety standards for human health and the environment, and it can also enhance soil health. Compost maturity is defined as a property that, when applied to plants, does not cause adverse effects including phytotoxic effects. In general, mature compost can be defined as a material which is ready for cultivation use.

It is very important that the final product of composting be mature. Immature compost causes several detrimental effects including reducing the available soil nitrogen, which in turn causes nitrogen deficiency in crops. In addition, due to the speedy disintegration of immature compost, an anaerobic environment is often created around the plant roots, depleting the supply of oxygen. Furthermore, acidic compost also increases the solubility of heavy metals and inhibits the germination of plant seeds by producing phytotoxic substances like ethylene oxide, organic acids and ammonia.

Effective Microorganisms (EM)

It is a group of mutually compatible species of microorganisms used to accelerate the decomposition process. They include lactobacilli, yeasts, photosynthetic bacteria and actinomycetes. Inoculation of compost enhances the composting process and quality of the final product.

EM produces antioxidants such as inositol, saponin, ubiquinone, low-molecular polysaccharides, chelating agents and polyphenols. These substances inhibit the harmful microbial population, enhance the multiplication of beneficial microorganisms and decontaminate harmful substances simultaneously. However, a single microorganism cannot produce all the necessary enzymes for complete degradation but use of microbial groups such as EM which act synergistically for rapid biodegradation of organic residues can help produce all the necessary enzymes. (The concept of efficient microorganisms (EM) or effective microorganisms was developed in the 1980s by Dr. Teguo Higa, professor of horticulture at the University of Ryukyu, in Okinawa, Japan.)

Mountain Microorganisms (MM)

Mountain Microorganisms is a collection of various beneficial microorganisms that are found in virgin soils or forest decomposing organic matter. They are used in the preparation of organic fertilizers in order to speed up the process of breaking down organic matter. The inoculation of beneficial microbes in the compost would further enhance the soil fertility and crop productivity.

Organic Fertilizers and Bio-Ferments

It is based on the technology of using mountain microorganisms to restore soil life, increase crop productivity and quality in order to improve organic growers’ livelihoods.

The production of organic compost using effective Mountain Microorganisms is one of a demonstrated alternative that will allow or permit organic growers to regenerate the fertility of their soil. This technology was implemented from microorganisms from their natural habitat (nearby natural forest) which are reproduced using inputs and techniques that are easy to understand.

These microorganisms are then incorporated in the preparation of organic solid fertilizers (Bokashi) and Bioles (fermented liquid fertilizers), in order to regenerate soil health and fertility of soil.

This puts in action the restoration of ecological equilibrium of the land that were once enjoyed by our ancestors. Organic fertilizers are products obtained from the decomposition of organic matter; in this process effective microorganisms are important because they break down the organic matter thus releasing nutrients for plant growth.

Importance of organic fertilizers

They improve the soil, physical structure (soft and loose soil), chemical (increase nutrients), and biological (high population of beneficial microorganisms) composition.
• Improve yields and the quality of produce
• Source of food for soil organisms
If there were no beneficial microorganisms, the process of decomposition would be slow and we would not obtain high quality organic fertilizer.

Decomposing forest matter is a natural source of Mountain Microorganisms.

Importance of Effective Mountain Microorganisms (M.M)
• Improves the soil health, crop productivity and quality of produce.
• Stimulates seed germination and root growth
• Protects the crops from being attacked by disease causing organisms.  
Are used in the preparation of Bokashi, Bio-ferments and Bio-crop repellents.

Reproduction of M.M

(Effective Mountain Microorganisms)

Is a process of reproducing beneficial microorganisms, obtained from a natural forest, by giving them the right conditions for their growth which will later be used in the preparation of solid and liquid organic fertilizers. Theycan also be applied directly on the plant leaves to control certain pests and diseases or as a growth booster.

The MM technology regenerates poorly managed soils reducing incidences of crop pest and diseases and improves productivity and quality of your crops. It can be implemented by all producers whether large, medium, small, organic, conventional or sustainable.

Mountain Microorganisms Recipe

Phase 1: MM Solid
Ingredients
•3 sacks microorganisms (duff layer of primary forest)
•2 sacks semolina, or chopped sugar cane
•1 gallon molasses, cane juice, or fruit juice
•1 gallon water

Instructions
Spread a layer of duff on a top and cover with a layer of semolina. Mix well with hands. Dilute the molasses with the water and sprinkle on top as you continue to mix. If you grab a fistful of the mixture it should be slightly damp and fall apart easily after you squeeze it.

Next, have someone stand in a 55 gallon plastic drum (never metal), while you shovel the material inside. As you shovel, the person stamps the mixture down with their feet to compress it and remove any air pockets. Seal the barrel and leave at least one month, stored in the shade. When ready, it should have a strong smell of lactic acid.

EdibleScapes community composting

In May 2018 EdibleScapes commenced a modest community composting program.  Its aim was to produce composted soil, fertiliser and composted mulch, for the Edible Landscape Gardens project.

This program has been extremely successful, saving from landfill 3 cubic metres of organic waste per week.  The composted soil produced comes from diverse mulched trees and leaves, surplus from local farmer markets and fruit shops, coffee grounds, water weeds, horse manure and grass clippings. It is produced by a hot compost method. The heat kills bad bacteria and most weed seeds.  Beneficial bacteria grows and, in turn breaks down organic matter. EdibleScapes’ composted heap contains in mixed layers approximately:

For a total C:N Ratio of 30:1 mix
  • 1 part(s) under 20:1:  Vegetable waste, fresh lawn clipping
  • 2 part(s) 20-30:1: Horse manure, water weeds, coffee grounds
  • 1 part(s) 30-40:1: Fruit waste
  • 2 part(s) 40-100:1: Dry leaves, dry lawn clipping, bamboo fragments
  • 2 part(s) over 100:1: Trees mulches (226:1)

In 2019 EdibleScapes plan to aim higher by establishing an on-site learning and demonstration site for community composting and organic fertilizers.  The Primary Vision of EdibleScapes is community composting; production of sufficient cultivated, organic soil to meet the needs of the edible landscape gardens project.  Other goals are to provide soil for local organic food growers, as well as provide social food for the disadvantaged in our community.  Edible Landscape gardens are experiential educational sites, open to the community, who, with the permission of gardeners, are free to taste the ripe fruits.

EdibleScapes strive to meet the “GROWING LOCAL FERTILITY: AGUIDE TO COMMUNITY COMPOSTING”

Guiding Principles:
  • Resources recovered: Waste is reduced; food scraps and other organic material are diverted from disposal and composted.
  • Locally based and closed loop: Organic materials are a community asset and are generated and recycled into compost within the same neighbourhood or community.
  • Organic materials returned to soils: Compost is used to enhance local soils, support local food production, and conserve natural ecology by improving soil structure and maintaining nutrients, carbon, and soil microorganisms.
  • Community-scaled and diverse: Composting infrastructure is diverse, distributed, and sustainable; systems are scaled to meet the needs of a self-defined community.
  • Community engaged, empowered, educated: Compost programming engages and educates the community in food systems thinking, resource stewardship, or community sustainability, while providing solutions that empower individuals, businesses, and institution to capture organic waste and retain it as a community resource.
  • Community supported: Aligns with community goals (such as healthy soils and healthy people) and is supported by the community it serves. The reverse is true too. A community composting program supports community social, economic, and environmental well-being.

“Well managed composting system ensure adequate microorganisms are necessary to digest organic materials, as well as adequate oxygen, adequate moisture, adequate food for microorganisms (that is, a balanced carbon to nitrogen ration), diversely sized food particles that provide pore space for oxygen to travel, and an adequate volume of material to best allow the microbial population to grow and thrive (usually a cubic metre or more).  Food scraps represent materials high in nitrogen; thus, any food scrap composting program must find adequate supplies of carbon-rich materials such as wood chips, mulch, straw, leaves and brush. In addition, compost needs time and space to stabilize and mature after an initial phase, typically characterized by high temperatures, and frequent monitoring and management”.

EdibleScapes aims to recover ‘waste’ and to do so by ensuring high-quality compost at well-managed sites that pose no public nuisances. EdibleScapes will make sure that the community composting operations comply with performance-based standards.  This means Ediblescapes will not create public nuisance odours, generate pathogens, or pollute groundwater or surface waters. For community composting, particularly in urban areas, addressing odour and rodents are a paramount issue. Adequate aeration or oxygen is essential for optimizing the composting process and preventing it from going anaerobic, which can produce nuisance odours.  A periodical schedule for turning will ensure minimal odours. The bins will be wrapped with ¼-inch hardware cloth to be rodent-proof, including the top hatch (rats will climb the sides to get in through the top). To prevent habitat formation at the base, EdibleScape will make sure to air and dry the bare earth for two days between batches and add dry mulch to the foundation of new batches.

EdibleScapes future plan is to double the value proposition of the project by further developing the community composting and adding the benefit of providing organic  fertilizers.  This model can be a valid strategy to generate local jobs though public support, if it is scaled-up by duplicating it in other sites with government support. In addition, community participation and education may be instrumental for persuading all levels of government that taxpayer and private funds are appropriately spent on community composting and communal edible landscape gardens.

Nevertheless, we are aware that government support for communal food production is a difficult proposition. This is why EdibleScapes propose a community run social enterprise structure, which will eventually develop revenue streams, which in turn, will ensure solid financial sustainability. Nonetheless, even if money is not the ultimate factor in the project’s implementation or long-term operation, EdibleScapes want to balance Social food grown with social enterprise and generate income via valuable organic fertilizers products offered to Gold Coast organic growers.

After the success of the past two years, in 2019 EdibleScapes will set up a model for a Community Composting system.  This will function as a learning and demonstration site, producing on-site organic fertilisers, which will service the needs of the edible landscape gardens as well as the local organic grower community.

Actual composting system
2019 Learning and demonstration composting concept

Community Vermicomposting

April will be an exciting month for EdibleScapes.  We are planning on adding a vermicompost operation to the community composting site. This forward planning will ensure delivery of our first vermicast products by August at the Botanical Bazaar Gardening Expo.

The cultivation of earthworms in organic wastes has been termed vermiculture, and vermicomposting. Vermiculture is the culture of earthworms. Vermicomposting is the process by which worms are used to convert organic material (usually wastes) into humus-like material known as vermicompost.  Our goal is to produce vermicompost, so we want to have maximum worm population density all the time.

VERMICULTUREAND VERMICOMPOST PROCESSING

The following guidelines should be followed: (Insert from the best practice guidelines, Appendix P-AS_4454.)

(a) Mixing and feedstock preparation: A homogeneous mix of feedstock material is of paramount importance to ensure consistent processing throughout the organic material.

(b) Dimensions: A minimum bed depth of mature vermicast of 0.3 to 0.4 m is recommended. The size of such beds is flexible, but the width should allow the entire bed to be inspected easily. The amount of fresh material added to the surface should not result in anaerobic conditions and heat generation. An important principle to improve the efficiency of processing of organic wastes by earthworms is to add the material to the beds in thin layers of 2.5 – 5.0 cm at frequent intervals. Compost worms are big eaters. Under ideal conditions, they are able to consume in excess of their body weight each day, although the general rule-of-thumb is ½ of their body weight per day.

(c) Ingredients: The optimum C:N ratio is approximately 20–25:1. Organic material high in available energy (low C:N) should be mixed with materials that are low in available energy (high C:N). This material should be uniformly mixed with the other ingredients. Size reduction of the various components of the feed mix assists in decomposition of the material and facilitates worm access. The resulting feed mix should be within a pH range of 5.5 to 8.5 and its electrical conductivity should not exceed 3 dS/m.

(d) Moisture: Optimum moisture levels vary between 80–90% in the active layer of the vermiculture system (where feedstock is supplied) and between 30–70% in the bed material.

(e) Temperature: Vermiculture systems operate best in a mesophilic bed temperature range of between 5 to 35°C, ideally 15 to 25°C.

(f) Oxygen: Worms require an aerobic environment of not less than 10% free oxygen in the active layer of the system.

(g) Duration: A minimum processing time of not less than six weeks is recommended to produce stabilized material. An additional maturation step of between 4 to 6 weeks may be required after removing the material from the system to achieve a greater level of maturity.

The Compost Worm: There are an estimated 1800 species of earthworm worldwide, some sources number more than 4000-5000 earthworm species. However, vermiculture/vermicomposting selects just 7 species, and the majority just focus on one. Eisenia fetida (Savigny) is commonly known as red Californian, compost worm, red wiggler or other local names.

Stocking density: Refers to the initial weight of worm biomass per unit area of bedding. For instance, if you started with 5kg of worms and put them in a bed with a surface area of 2m², then your initial stocking density would be 2.5 kg/m². The most common densities for vermicomposting are between 5 and 10 kg/ m². Worm growers tend to stock at 5 kg/m² and split the beds when the density has doubled, assuming that the optimum densities for reproduction have by that point been surpassed.

Composting and vermicomposting: A combination of composting and vermicomposting has recently been considered as a way of achieving stabilized substrates. Composting enables sanitization of the waste and elimination of toxic compounds, and the subsequent vermicomposting reduces particle size and increases nutrient availability; in addition, earthworms inoculate the material resulting from the thermophilic phase of composting.

It should be noted that pasteurizing temperatures cannot be achieved during vermicomposting processing as worms are sensitive to thermophilic (hot) temperatures.  Thus, raw ingredients used in vermiculture systems should be relatively free of plant pathogens and plant propagules unless pre- or post-pasteurization is performed.  This can be achieved through a composting process.  This is the way EdibleScapes will feed the worms with mature compost pre-produced by the hot (thermophilic) composting process.

Compost and Vermicompost maturity: Both composting and vermicomposting transform fresh organic wastes into useful products that are rich in available nutrients for plant growth. Subjectively, a mature compost should be dark brown or black, with a granular, spongy, or fibrous texture, and smell like mould or soil.  A mature vermicompost should also be dark black, usually finely divided peat-like material with excellent structure, porosity, aeration, and drainage properties and high moisture-holding capacity.

Compost and Vermicompost systems may be an alternate, inexpensive way to avoid environmental problems and at the same time obtain a valuable organic fertilizer. Vermicomposting may have an important role in organic waste management, and it is possible to suggest that vermicomposting and composting are not necessarily mutually exclusive and could be used in sequence to take advantage of the unique and valuable feature of each.

For EdibleScapes, vermicompost will be a valuable plant and tree fertiliser.  We anticipate that vermicast surplus will bring much needed funds which are vital toward the future operational cost of the public edible landscape gardens, community composting demonstration learning site and EdibleScapes programs.

Celebrating “Women’s Week 2019”
and Having Fun!

by Diane Kelly

As you may know, March 2-10 this year was Queensland Women’s Week. Each year Queensland – and indeed countries across the world – recognises and celebrates the achievements of women and girls.

So it was very fitting - and generous - of EdibleScapes (who are establishing an edible landscape gardens at Country Paradise Park-land in Nerang) to invite several of our Club members and other ladies to “select a fruit tree to grow in a permanent, edible garden as a women’s legacy”.

Jorge Cantellano (who is the person making “EdibleScapes” happen) invited us to choose a sub-tropical tree from the Daley’s cata-logue. When we met last Saturday morning at Nerang, not only were the trees there ready to plant, but Jorge had already pre-pared a number of plots for us. The plots were dug and then filled with composted mulch, and then soil, and then compost – it was all very friable and ready to use.

There were nine trees provided, and so we could choose between:A Dwarf Mulberry tree; a Peanut Butter tree; a black Grumichama tree; an Acerola tree (Florida Sweet); a pomegranate; a Dwarf mandarin (Emperor); a Wampee tree; a Carambola (star fruit) tree and a Tahitian Lime tree.

Thanks for showing us how it’s done, Maria

So with quite a bit of discussion and fun, the trees were planted, and then we were invited to the picnic area to share in morning tea. A highlight of the morning tea was the delivery by one of the EdibleScapes members of a basket of pumpkin scones (beautifully light) – and the pumpkin had been grown on the vines in the EdibleScapes garden!

Thank you, Jorge, and here is a pictorial summary of an enjoyable morning:

The plots were all ready to plant into.
In goes the Tahitian Lime!
EdibleScapes two herb spirals – oneculinary and one medicinal – planted according to their sunlight requirements.
The “tired but happy” group
Our reward !!
Panozzo girls’ agroecologist seeds

Women gardeners

Over the past two years, since I am working to establish the edible landscape gardens, I have observed that gardening is a female territory.

GCOG club over 3/4 women participants

Here at the Gold Coast Organic Growers club, women are in command. It is noticeable, not only from the President’s informative talks, or the over ¾ female regular members, but also to the camaraderie at the regular monthly meetings. Likewise most of the management committee members, newsletter contributors, and speakers are woman.

Similarly, at the Edible Landscape Gardens, participants are predominantly female. As well there are visibly a substantial number of women involved in Gold Coast community and school gardens.

Edible Gardens working bee September

Through digital social media pages, EdibleScapes have received 71% of Women ‘likes’ and GCOG club have 76% of Women ‘likes’. If you follow the South East Queensland Permaculture you will see that from 3,627 FB members, nine out of ten are woman. https://www.facebook.com/groups/335757083118409/members/

From the GCOG’s library this Month, I am reading ‘A Modern HERBAL’ a book edited by Violet Stevenson.  On page 9 it mentions that in the Middle Ages, the ladies of the castles were the ‘gardeners’ and the ladies remained the gardeners of the castle and village for centuries, cultivating healing herbs among their vegetables and culinary plants.

Another topic of interest is the transition to urban agroecology. I selected three statements that comment on the role of women in today’s global-local agroecology transition;  I cite these here:  

“Women play a crucial role as transmitters of traditional knowledge to the new generations. They are particularly aware of the usefulness of plant genetic diversity as they are in many regions the ones with primary responsibility for the production of subsistence crops that are essential to household food security” (Utviklingsfondet, 2011)

“Successfully addressing the challenge of natural resources and biodiversity preservation will require putting women at the front seat of agroecological transition processes since they play a major role in managing soil, water, forests and energy, especially in developing countries. Women have traditionally entertained a close relationship with trees and the forests. They have a deep knowledge of the plants, animals and ecological processes around them. They can be considered the traditional daily managers of the living environment” (Sobha, 2007).

“recognizes the vital role of women in the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and affirming the need for the full participation of women at all levels of policy-making and implementation for biological diversity conservation” (UNCED, 1992).

I hope this note will encourage some conversation especially with the upcoming International Women’s Day, which is to be celebrated in Queensland with a Women’s Week.

On 9th of March in recognition of the vital role of women in keeping knowledge and practice of edible gardening, EdibleScapes are inviting woman to plant fruit trees, and accompanying vegetables and herbs.  We hope to showcase a cultural diversity women’s garden at the Edible Landscape Gardens.  For details please go to:  www.facebook.com/pg/n.ediblescapes/events

Thanks to Council of the City of Gold Coast’s Division 5 – Cr Peter Young, for funding support.  This has allowed, EdibleScapes to proudly source fruit trees and plants in consultation with organic growers and multicultural women’s groups to celebrate Women’s Weeks with a Permanent edible garden women’s legacy.

Cheryl, Tania and Jorge, harvesting herbs January 2019

ESS starting 2019

EdibleScapes had a great start to 2019 harvesting last year’s fresh produce.  17 pumpkins and dozens of organic culinary and medicinal herb packs was donated today (Thursday 17th January) to Nerang Neighbourhood Centre’s Emergency Food Service.  

This is a humble gesture; however, it is a symbolic and tangible statement about city food security and the rights of all citizens to enjoy nutrient-rich healthy food.  The Edible Landscape Gardens site at Country Paradise Parklands is an experiential learning site, where a broad range of gardening, harvesting and expanded opportunities to learn are open to the public.

We are eager to commence our 2019 program, motivated by the concrete support shown to EdibleScapes during 2018 from a range of community stakeholders.  We are especially encouraged by the successful completion of the crowdfunding campaign, only in 3 days into December.  This fundraising will support the Community Composting activities.  

In addition, we were delighted to receive the City Council Division 5 Donation grant for learning aids / booklets / interpretation panels at the Edible Landscape Gardens site.  Another, “big Thank You to Cr, Peter Young” for a second and bigger Grant (on the way to the bank) that will enable the development of the gardens, planting of the permanent fruits trees and running the gardening community education 2019 programs.

Cheryl and Tania harvesting herbs January 2019

Banana Circle

Pic 1: Edible Landscape Gardens’ Banana Circle

EdibleScapes will finish 2018’s activities with planting a second Banana Circle integrated into the Mandala Sun Garden.

A Banana Circle is one of the food growing techniques popularised by permaculture practitioners.  It is a relatively simple idea, constructed in the shape of a bowl about 2m diameter and 1m deep.  Excavated soil is piled into a mound around the pit. The pit will be filled with all sorts of garden waste that will biodegrade. We have half-filled it with composted mulch to start bacterial action. Bananas are very hungry plants and will thrive off the abundant cycling of organic material as well as the moisture naturally retained.

The Banana Circles at Edible Landscape Gardens are on a slope, the mound helping to retain water in a central pit. A variety of plants will be located on the mound around the pit between the banana plants. Plants mutually support one another, shielding against wind, keeping cool, filtering sunlight and acting as trellises. What we have is a mini food forest with good diversity that is well watered and fertilized.  Appropriate companion planting provides physical shelter, nutrients, assists in pest control and reduces root competition.  Importantly it also produces food. 

Pic 2: a tropical banana circle guild

Picture 2 shows a tropical selection, however in the subtropical region, using the typical three sisters -companion plants – beans, tomatoes and corn (maize) to climb on, (ancient Amerindian heritage agroecological knowledge) – the plants will grow better together than they would apart. As an added benefit their crops provide a healthy, balanced diet. (Tomatoes should not be planted too close to banana plants, as they aren’t quite as water-loving as bananas.)

Initial groundcover like sweet potato or squash plants combined with nitrogen fixer plant like peanut grass will help to reduce root competition of grasses and weeds. Comfrey might be another great addition, adding a deep-rooting nutrient accumulator, an attractant for pollinators, and chop-and drop mulch.

In the inner rim wetland plants such as taro or cana lily, which are biomass plants absorbing lots of nutrients and having access to the moisture pocket.

The Circular Banana will be planted on 8 December 8:30 am.  Everyone is welcome to come along to help and to join in the conversation and exchange knowledge.

The Herb Spiral

The principle of a herb spiral is simple, but functional. A herb spiral is basically a small herb garden. It is three-dimensional and has beds in a confined, spiral shaped space, which can be used to grow various herbs.

The herb spiral, an invention of Bill Mollison's, dubbed the "co-founder of Permaculture", creates micro-climates that provide for a multitude of medicinal and culinary herbs.

Thinking in patterns, inspired by the image of a sea shell shape, Bill Mollison made a ziggurat garden that goes up in the air and down in the ground, freeing the gardener from flat patterned gardens.

“With the spiral shape had designed a varietyof micro-climates, shaded and semishaded niches here and there, and bright, hotsunny places to the west and east. It is superbly adapted for culinary herbs.You have different drainages from group to group, different heats and shade. Itis possible also to grow out the sides of it, as well as on the flat. … Itcondensed space, it reduced intercrop, cut down plant competition. Every planthas plenty of root space and plenty of climbing space.”
(Designing for Permaculture, By Bill Mollison, Pamphlet VIII, 1981)
Here’s how it works, according to Toby Hemenway:
The herb spiral has slopes that face in all the directions of the compass. The North-facing side, which gets morning sun, will dry out earlier in the day than the west one. The soil at the bottom will stay wetter than that at the top.   We’ve created an herb garden with different microclimates. So we plant accordingly, locating each herb in suitable environment. Varieties that thrive, and hot, dry climates, such as oregano, rosemary, and thyme, go on the sunny north side near the top.  Parsley and chives, which prefer cooler, moister climes, find a home on the south side. Coriander, which seems to bolt in too much hot sun, can be stationed on the east side, protected from afternoon scorchings.” (adapted to our location -Nerang)
(‘GAIA’S Garden: A Guide to Home-Scales Permaculture, Toby Hemenway)

EdibleScapes Herb Spiral

The two spiral gardens at the Edible Landscape project are about 8 linear meter coils of pathside plants formed into a roundish pattern about 1.5 meters across and mounding up about 80 cm in height, which means we can reach the central herbs without bending over very far.

The Jeans pots were filled up with coarse composted mulch, which regulates solar heat and passes it at night back to the plant. We ensure the foot of the herb spirals are facing south to reduce evaporation and retain the moisture in the lower area, where we can grow plants that love saturated soil. The base of the spiral garden has two water micro-harvest pits, filled up with composted mulch, before the jeans are set up. This guarantees a wet reservoir that the jeans fabric will move up to provide moisture for the plants’ roots.

The Jeans as pots look very attractive and right for spiral herb gardens. We took care to fill the space between the jeans, because it is very important not to leave any cavity where snakes can hide.

EdibleScapes made four zones with different soil characteristics according to exposure to the sun and drainage capacity. This provides a range of different microclimates and the perfect growing spaces for a wide variety of medicinal and culinary herbs.

This project is thanks to the generosity of Botanical Bazaar, who sponsor the presentation of the herb spiral garden at the 16th September Gold Coast Gardening Expo, before transplanting to its permanent home at the Mandala Sun Garden of the Edible Landscape Gardens site. The first 100 herbs was supplied by Mudbrick Cottage Herb farm with special discount for the spiral garden project.

@ Botanical Bazaar

@ Botanical Bazaar

This project is thanks to the generosity of Botanical Bazaar, who sponsor the presentation of the herb spiral garden at the 16th September Gold Coast Gardening Expo.

Geocaching volunteers

Thanks Geocaching Community (https://www.facebook.com/geocaching)
to volunteer (Sunday 23rd September) at Edible Landscapes Gardens project to help setup the medicinal Herb Spiral Garden.

Medicinal herb Spiral Garden

The Medicinal Herb Spiral Garden permanent home at the Mandala Sun Garden. Thanks to the generosity sponsor of Botanical Bazaar. Herbs supplied by Mudbrick Cottage Herb farm with special discount for the spiral garden.
EdibleScapes Spiral Garden, Design for plant distribution.
Here's some beautiful and well-thought out herb spirals sure to inspire.

INTERGENERATIONAL GARDENING

‘Intergenerational gardening is the act of older adults passing along plant information, gardening skills, and cultural traditions to younger generations.’

Last Saturday 11th August a small working bee group help to establish the initial stage of an intergenerational garden at the Edible Landscapes Gardens at Nerang Parkland.

Growing food, building community

“Not everything that grows in a garden is a plant”.  Gardening is just one of the many common-ground activities where intergenerational transfers can happen.

EdibleScapes envisage a safe environment for cultural and life experience sharing:
  • A space for seniors to share their stories and knowledge of gardening.
  • A space where children can learn as they help grandparents grow fruit and vegetables.

The garden space brings a valuable intergenerational exchange to the community.  Seniors have a means to remain physically and mentally active; their knowledge value is not lost; and they can build meaningful relationships with local families.

Grandparents can pass on cultural knowledge to younger generations, especially in families that have immigrated from their countries or communities of origin. Grandparents from a variety of cultural backgrounds can pass on knowledge about growing fruit and vegetables to their grandchildren through joint gardening activities. Grandparents can introduce children to a wide range of fruits and vegetables, reinforcing concepts through bilingual communication, which will increase interest in gardening in the younger generation.  Finally, grandparents can remain physically and mentally active, whilst helping to create a vibrant, cohesive community in an environmentally friendly way.

NATIVE BUSHFOOD AT THE MOON MANDALA GARDEN

by Jorge Cantellano

Ediblescapes finally has commenced planting the Edible Landscape Gardens. Last Saturday 14 July an enthusiastic group planted the first trees at the Moon Garden with Bush Tucker local native trees, including Macadamia Nut, Native Tamarind, Midgen Berry, Black Plum, Native Elderberry, Davidson’s Plum. The trees were supplied by the GC Botanical Gardens Nursery.

Planting the first trees

This is a meaningful project celebrating our local edible trees and plants, whilst focussing on our history and diversity, which will eventually build a vibrant, cohesive, community hub.

In recognition of the Kombumerri people, the traditional custodians of this land that we call the Gold Coast, Ediblescapes have added a layer to the Moon Garden mandala design that represents the six seasons of the First People’s annual calendar.

These six seasonal sections will not be planted yet.  We are marking it with mulch on the ground, so we can initiate a consultation process with the Elders and the First People’s representative community groups. Hopefully this consultation process will result in a public space of knowledge exchange that facilitates the passing of knowledge to future generations.

By weather pattern observation, we can agree that the years have two colder months on the Gold Coast, which start at the Winter Solstice.  They are followed by a short dry season in September, which is a kind of pre-spring.  In October and November there is Spring. In December, the summer solstice marks a pre-wet and warm season.  February is the hottest summer month, with the heaviest rain.  In conclusion, the most comfortable months are April and May, in which it is difficult to find Autumn patterns.

However, thoughtful ecological observation is needed to connect with the six seasons environmental patterns to know what and how to facilitate the growing of edible fruits that contribute to the life of humans and animals in this region.

The First People observed ecological happenings in these six seasons, and that influenced their traditional, social customs. Sadly,  in a very short time, their way of life was disturbed by the European colonial industry.

Hopefully, not all ancestral knowledge has been lost, and the  Edible Landscape gardens project can be instrumental in recovering knowledge from diverse communities to pass to futures generations.

WATER HARVESTING
MICRO-CATCHMENTS SYSTEM

Our challenge is to harvest rainfall to condition the soil so that plants can grow without depending on pumps, taps or drip water.  The proposal in this landscape gardens project is to grow only with harvested rainwater.      

Water Harvesting
Water harvesting is the collection of runoff for productive purposes.  Water harvesting is a directly productive form of soil and water conservation.  If the available rain can be concentrated on a smaller area, reasonable yields will be received, plant growth will be improved, and there will be softly seasonal rainfall fluctuation.

Micro-Catchments
Micro-catchments for rainwater harvesting to grow fruits is a runoff harvested system from ground surfaces, which is sometimes referred to as a “Within-Field Catchment System”.Runoff stored in the soil profile increases soil fertility and water holding capacity, which prolongs soil moisture. This is possible because we will add a considerable amount of organic matter: composted soils and composted mulch in ongoing seasonal periods. The best way to hold water on your site is through developing the conditions to hold water in the soil.

In our Landscape Gardens Project, we are exploring the adaptation of contour bands and contour Keyline (Yeomans system) in combination with semi-circular bands of a Micro-catchment system.

contour keyline and semi-circular Micro-catchment

Edible Landscapes Garden Project specifics:

Nerang annual rainfall is 1370mm.
Edible Landscape SitesMean annual rainfall = 1370 mm/year (1.37m)Surface area of catchment = 1148 m2 Run-off coefficient = 0.2 (ground catchment -soil on slopes less than 10° = 0.0-0.3)Mean rainwater supply = 314 m3 (314,550 Litres)

  • Slope: special consideration is needed as the landscape slope is greater than 10°
  • January to March: there is a mean rainfall of 540mm in 33 days during the period.
  • July to September: there is a 138mm mean rainfall in only 14 days during the period.
  • Nerang annual rainfall is 1370mm.

Calculate potential supply of rainwater from catchment area
Mean rainwater supply in m3 = Mean annual rainfall in mm/year (Need to convert this value in ‘m’)  X  Surface area of catchment in m2 X Run-off coefficient

Edible Landscape Sites
Mean annual rainfall =1370 mm/year (1.37m)
Surface area of catchment =1148 m2
Run-off coefficient =0.2 (ground catchment -soil on slopes less than 10° = 0.0-0.3)
Mean rainwater supply =314 m3 (314,550 Litres)

Edible Landscape site catchment capacity.

Cultivate Area
the soil in the cultivated area should be a deep, fertile loam. Loams is a medium texture soils, which are best suited for plant growth in terms of nutrient supply, biological activity and nutrient and water holding capacities. A good soil structure is associated with loamy soil and a relatively high content of organic matter.  The application of organic material such as composted soil and mulch is helpful in improving the structure.

Depth
The depth of soil is particularly important. Deep soils have the capacity to store the harvested runoff as well as providing a greater amount of total nutrients for plant growth. Soils of less than one metre deep are poorly suited. The landscape gardens site on average has less than 0.5 of a metre-deep soil. Therefore, the project needs to add soil.
We are planning to top-up the garden area with 30cm-thick composted soil in the beginning, and add in every growing season another 10 to 15cm of compost, conditioned soil to maintain fertility levels.

Infiltration Rate
The infiltration rate of loamy soil typically is 12.5 mm/hour.  The soils of the cultivated area should be sufficiently permeable to allow adequate moisture to the plants root zone without causing waterlogging problems. A very low infiltration rate can be detrimental because of the possibility of waterlogging. The threshold rainfall can exceed 12mm in soils with a high infiltration capacity. In this case, rainfall of less than 12mm/hour will not produce runoff.  

Available Water Capacity
The capacity of soils to hold, and to release adequate levels of moisture to plants is vital. It is the depth of water readily available to plants after a soil has been thoroughly wetted to “field capacity”. The available water capacity for loamy soil varies from 100-200 mm/metre. In soils with a high available water capacity (200 mm/metre), there is no need for infiltration pits to depths greater than 40 cm.

Design Model for Catchment: Cultivated Area Ration
Each Water Harvest system consists of a catchment (collection) and a cultivated (concentration) area. Trees are almost exclusively grown in micro-catchment systems where it is difficult to determine which proportion of the total area is exploited by the root zone, bearing in mind the different stages of root development over the years before a seedling has grown into a mature tree. As a rule of thumb, it can be assumed that the area to be exploited by the root system is equal to the area of the canopy of the tree.In view of the above, it is therefore considered sufficient to estimate only the total size of the micro-catchment, that is the cultivated area and the infiltration pit together.

It is a  formula to design micro-catchment for fruit tree, which we have simplify in the form of a recipe.
Ingredients:
  • Canopy area (= root system area)
  • Tree annual water requirement
  • Estimated annual lower percentage (%) of the annual rainfall potential (more or less 70 % of annual rainfall -this is known as
    design rainfall, --planning for dry years)
  • Soil annual runoff coefficient (the % rainfall not infiltrate in the soil)
  • 0.5 efficiency factor (merged for error)
recipe to estimate the micro-catchment size for a Loquat tree in Nerang.
Method:
  1. tree’s canopy area (7m2) multiply x The result of:
  2. Tree annual water requirement, minus (-) design rainfall
    (1000 - 959 = 41)
  3. Divide by the resulted of:Design rainfall, by (x) the annual runoff coefficient), by (x) efficiency factor
    (959 x 0.15 x 0.5)= 72
  • 41/72=0.57
  • MC = 7x 0.57
Total Micro-Catchment size = 4m2 (2.25m diameter)

We are learning here, we are testing theory. We are prepared for trial and error, the experience will teach us how it works. However, we are open to hear from experienced growers. Any advice is welcome!

Activity participants 9 June 2018

Seville Orange Tree for the
Heritage Orchard Garden
at EdibleScapes

The Seville orange tree was donated by Margaret Lee to the Edible Landscape Gardens.This tree will set in the collection to be planted in the heritage orchard garden of the project site.  

Margaret explains, “The Shailer family grew huge numbers of fruit trees on their land, now "Shailer Park" suburb south of Brisbane. ” A friend of Margaret, Lynette Shailer gave her the fruit & she has grown some plants. “For history, they go back to 1920 there.”“Seville city in Spain features the trees on footpaths & in many gardens. Now is the tourist season & the blossom & scent is wonderful.

Grafting does NOT work for these & NOT compatible with rootstocks. You may later try 'marcott' or aerial layer. It is rough skinned, no fruit-fly problem, but not good for fruit bowl/eating. The marmalade is scarce & gets a good price.

Lynnes father was an Alderman (now Councillor) on the Albert Shire, now combined with Gold Coast. He died recently aged in his late 90's. Friend of John Franklin, our friend in Mudgeeraba, ex Councillor.

”Margaret continued… “The Shailer fruit was supplied to the IXL jam factory in Brisbane, tinned marmalade etc. (melon & lemon jam too)”

Margaret offer generosity to 'grow it on' in a larger size for Ediblescapes.

Margaret was gardening from the age of 2 in the 40's in her small hometown, Surfers' Paradise. “Remember all the neighbours gardens & what grew around town, including a very large Flindersia tree ! where Chevron Renaissance is now.”

Margaret & Ian have 10 acres volcanic soil in Mudgeeraba with different sections for their plant collections, & native & honey bees. Keeps them busy.

Margaret’s father’s parents families go back in Brisbane to 1830's & 1860's. Farriers & farmers.

EdibleScapes thanks Margaret for her generosity and willing to share her local knowledge and fruit trees connection to families’ stories.This is a second fruit tree donated to the project, which envision to plant a selection of donated orchard trees that have local story connection to earlier settlement of the region.  Also, EdibleScapes planning to be mapping fruit trees on the city, especially that have been with families for various generations.

Margaret & Ian Lee

EdibleScapes’ Edible Landscape Gardens
Project  Milestones

by Jorge Cantellano

Ediblescapes reached two major milestones last Saturday, 12th of May: 

  1. After a year-long wait, the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Country Paradise Parkland’s management committee and EdibleScapes was completed.  This will enable the Edible Landscape Gardens project to commence soon.    
  2. Our first compost heap process, which was done in 18 days, is ready to go into the garden. This will be followed each week by 1 cubic metre of composted matter . 
MoU signing day   

The Edible Landscape Gardens projects area will be topped-up with approximate 100 cubic metres of composted made soil. The project is testing a system to produce 1 cubic metre per week, which will disperse over an area of 3 square meters of 30 centimetre thick of new garden section per week.  At this pace the project will be completed in 2 years. 

Each compost heap is built to about 1.3 x 1.3 metres to 1.3 metres high, and will be topped up in successive layers of brown (rich in carbon), and green (rich in nitrogen) organic material.   

We collect veggie and fruit scraps daily from our local fruit market “Landies Fruit World” at My Centre Nerang shopping centre and our local Farmers market “Markets Lavelle Street” Nerang on Sunday, weekly we collected about 9 tubs (42Lt bucket).  Also, we gather weekly another 42Lt (1 tub) of coffee grounds from Cadence Café; 9 tubs of horse manure donate by Healing Hooves, a tenant of the Parkland; and 4 tubs of fresh grass clippings.  This makes 7 layers of green material making up 23 tubs in total.

The 7 green layers are integrated between 8 layers of brown material.  In total 25 tubs of mixed matured mulches, dry leaves, dry grass clippings, bamboo leaf/sheath are collected in the parkland.  The collection and heaping process takes 14 hours of work per week.

As you can note, we now use a volume ration 1 to 1: brown to green tub volume. We started with the recommended ratio of 2 to 1. However, we learned that the density of leaves to veggie scrap in the tub is too loose in comparison to brown material density.  

We have not sieved the mulch and any brown and green material has not been chopped.  This is why our heap end is predominantly coarse material with less fine soil than you can expect from composting soil.  The process has pasteurised the heap content and we believe it is free from weed, has produced a very nutrient rich material, which will act as slow release nutrients and minerals to the landscape soil.  This is validated in the experience of Paul Gautschi’s “Back to Eden” deep mulch planting method. 

Hot Compost make soil in 18 day workshop 

Producing the composted material in 18 days requires 5 turns, maintaining the heat at 65° C during a least the first 3 turns.  Each turn takes about 2 hours of very hard work. 10 hours in total of making a final one cubic metre.  You can follow the process and information details in the documented photo journal at https://www.facebook.com/pg/n.ediblescapes/photos/ 

When we require fine composted soil, we will sieve the initial material.  When the fine composted soil is required for seeding, we will screen it.   This will add 3 and 5 respectively hours extra of work to the cubic metre.  

How do you value the social and ecological impact and volunteer contribution of this project?  In two years, the project will save 38 cubic metres (m3) of fruit and veggies scrap and 4,2 m3 of coffee grounds going to the tip.  Also, it will sustainably upcycle 38 and 17 m3 of horse manure and green grass clipping, as well as 105 m3 of brown mix material: tree mulches, dry leaves, dry grass clippings, bamboo leaf/sheath. 

In sum, the energy of 2800 working hours will be used to cultivate good soil which will be added to the edible landscape gardens for edible trees, edible plants and community to grow:  co-creating a permanent educational, social, ecological site to pass on knowledge for the future generations.   

Composting system 

Edible Landscape Gardens
A Communal Gardening Gathering
 

By Jorge Cantellano 

In the context of increased city population, the expanding urban foot print, has the consequence of decreasing agriculturally productive land. “The Gold Coast is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia: with a population of around 576,900 people in 2016, it is projected to exceed 928,000 by 2041 (Shaping SEQ, August 2017).” Australia is a highly urbanised country, with 83% of its population living in its eight capital cities in 2016 (ABS, 2016).  Today’s challenge is to find ways of urban food production, ideally urban agroecology solutions.  “To feed another two billion people in 2050, food production will need to increase by 50 percent globally.” 

EdibleScapes, as a community urban food grown initiative, is seeking a strategy that is not limited by the number of garden beds, and its social impact can benefit the whole city. The Gold Coast has 10 community gardens, with an overall garden-bed/member of 400 memberships maximum and with a potential social impact on 5,600 persons annually. is would impact only 1% of its population. 
In response, EdibleScapes proposes “Public Edible Landscape Gardens in an open space”, produced and maintained by community communal work. Our first proposal has been for Nerang’s Country Paradise Parkland. In the same time that the Parkland administration has ‘approved in principal’ since early 2017, the project has been encountering a long silence, waiting for a response from the Gold Coast City Council. 

Perhaps the inaction of the City Council has to do with the fact that they have discontinued supporting community gardens, despite their polices that helped to setup the 10 community gardens 5 to 10 years ago.  We believe that the Council was in the right direction when the “Gold Coast City Council and its Climate Change Strategy 2010, identified local food security as a priority matter in dealing with climate change.”    

Potential urban agriculture

In 2013, P. Burton estimated that, despite its fast pace of growth, the Gold Coast “still has just under half of its footprint (63,678 hectares) covered in native vegetation and the built environment occupies less than 50% of the city. The Gold Coast also experiences a subtropical climate, with relatively mild winters and humid summers and, although rainfall is more prevalent during the hotter months, the city enjoys precipitation all year round. These climatic qualities coupled with the opportunities offered by large areas of open spaces make the Gold Coast one of Australia’s potential hot spots for urban agriculture to flourish and become a significant part of the urban fabric.”

The Gold Coast has over 2314 parks, of which only 10 have community gardens, which represents less than 0.004% of city open space in use today for community food grown initiatives.  EdibleScapes claims there is an imperative need to allocate common land for communal food security initiatives.  It needs to be not limited by the number of garden beds, and it can have a social impact on the whole city.  

Nonetheless, this kind of initiative will only be possible if the task is associated with diverse community segments, and just as importantly, it finds ways to involve groups from the environmental conservation and Landcare sector.  There is need for a community strategy that co-builds a productive edible buffer between the built up city area and the open space, green vegetation, a buffer that helps to safeguard the remaining ecosystem which is in danger.

The EdibleScapes commitment and intention is along the lines of The South East Queensland (SEQ) Regional Plan (2009-2031), which recognises the importance of urban agriculture, and has provisions that support ‘initiatives that increase access to fresh food in urban environments, including provision of space for fresh food markets and community gardens.’   Brisbane’s Vision 2031 emphasises access to healthy and safe food choices, as well as activities around production and consumption of food to support community connections and promote learning.  The Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) seeks to create a framework which facilitates the region to grow and consume fresh, local and ecologically grown food.   

Globally, there is the realisation that the city can no longer solely depend on imports for their food; it must develop methods of urban agroecology to enable food security for their population. There is a recent call from global leaders in international institutions, such as: the “New Urban Agenda”, when United Nations members met in Ecuador in the 2016 Habitat III;

“SDG2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” in the “Sustainable Development Goals: 17 Goals to transform our world, 2015”; the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact acknowledged that “urban and peri-urban agriculture offers opportunities to protect and integrate biodiversity into city region landscapes and food systems, thereby contributing to synergies across food and nutrition security, ecosystem services and human well-being”, bringing together the mayors of 163 cities to sign it.   

The city of Melbourne was the first to sign the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which is adapted in the urban food system through its “Food City” plan. “Darebin Council is another one that has committed to developing an Urban Food Production Strategy and has outlined council commitment to work with communities on local food initiatives which enhance health, wellbeing and community connectedness, improve the environment and regenerate natural resources.”  

EdibleScapes’ gardening gathering program is a tactic in the direction of building community relationship including the environmental movement.  The programs, are designing a welcoming space to involve diverse members of the community to participate in communal gardening edible landscapes. 

Veggie & Seed Swap 

EdibleScapes are organising a monthly Veggie & Seed Swap activity to be happen every 2nd Saturday of the Month at Country Paradise Parkland – Nerang.  The invitation is open for all gardeners who want to exchange their excess home grown or homemade healthy produces and to meet other organic growers for morning tea and chat.

After two successful previous veggie swaps last year (June and November 2017), we will continue montly due to the popular demand.

EdibleScapes 2017 swap and other activities, were organised as an active waiting period. Since early 2017, the concept for a public edible landscape garden open to the community at the parkland has an ‘approve in principal but not yet digging permission’.  The indication is that soon in early 2018, the parkland manager association will meet with our EdibleScapes committee to settle an agreement to bring this vision into reality.    

The first two swaps last year were organised with the help of Dorothy Coe and member of Veggie Swap Gold Coast  -  this group meet regularly at the Gold Coast Organic Growers Club on the 3rd Thursday of each month at Elanora and time to time meet as well at the Southern Beach Community Gardens at Tugun. More more info on Veggie Swap Gold Coast see their  FB page / groups  veggieswapgoldcoast

If you’re not familiar with the concept of a Veggie Swap, here’s how it works: People bring their excess garden produce to share.  This could be seeds, seedlings, veggies, cuttings and/or fruit. People take what they need. No money is exchanged.

That’s right, no money changes hands, swap is for sharing rather than trading, just a friendly swap of produce, knowledge and conversation.  

Cathy Beard, at the right and Dorothy Coe and Baz on the left,
Veggie Swap at ‘
Eat Your Backyard’ event host by
Mermaid Waters Multicultural Garden on the 4th November 2017. 

"Do you grow fruit, herbs or
vegetables at home?" 

If you have excess, then come to the Country Paradise Parkland to swap,
every 2nd Saturday of each the Month.
10:00 am to 12:00
 

What to bring: A smile and your produce – any fresh homegrown food, seeds, honey etc. 

Meet us near the Edible Landscape Gardens site project at Country Paradise Parkland. 74 Billabirra Cres, Nerang  

Everyone is welcome! 

More info  -  contact Jorge at contact@ediblescapes.org 

Organiser: EdibleScapes, a nonprofit community social & ecological services organisation. Our mission is to produce, maintain and promote public edible gardens. 

visit
www.ediblescapes.org
FB /
n.ediblescapes/ 

The end of the first year

of Ediblescapes 2017

One year incubating the idea of a public food forest garden has now passed. 
The concept of an aesthetically pleasing edible landscape was first presented to Riverkeepers Land-Care group on October 2016, in the form of a “Living Art Food Forest”. In December 2016, a couple of keylines (surface ground harvest water system) were superficially dug along the hill contours, and a set of pickets inserted on the ground outlining a circular shape.  This was a simple way to represent the garden proposal on site.  The purpose was to test the public opinion of Nerang’s Parkland users and stakeholders about our proposal.    

On 27 February 2017, a presentation to the Parkland’s Managing Committee and Parkland’s Tenants occurred.  The concept was well received, and encouraging feedback was voiced by the tenants.  Later, the NCPA notified their ‘approval in principal’ to the concept.  

October workshop

Since then, in the waiting period, the Ediblescapes group was born, driven by a small acting managerial committee, which supports the coordinator and volunteers’ monthly activities. During 2017, Ediblescapes presented the concept of the Edible Forest Landscapes gardens project to the public at numerous garden and social events which occurred at Nerang Parkland and to the Gold Coast Organic Growers community.  From this activity, a list of about two hundred supporters and potential members have been collected.  
Over the monthly activities, eighty three people have engaged as participants and volunteers.  With them, Ediblescape has learned to make soil in eighteen days, through the hot composting system. It collected organic waste to produce composting soil. Jeans were recycled to make biodegradable ‘Jeans pots’.  Trees and perennial plants donated by participants at veggies swaps are growing in these Jeans Pots.
A creative application of land arts, inspired by the antique practice of ‘Geoglyph art’, was used to mock-up the landscape garden design. The Geoglyph artwork, produced with mulch and Jeans Pots, was presented to the audience of the Botanical Bazaar Garden Expo in September, and since then it has been entertaining tens of hundreds of Parkland visitors.
Recently, a photographic print of the Geoglyph artwork was presented on canvas at an art exhibition at the Gold Coast Local Study Library at Southport. It was also presented to the public at the ‘Eat Your Backyard Community Day’ at Mermaid Waters Multicultural Garden, a gardening event supported by Gecko /Environment Council.  Thanks to the Geoglyph artwork on the ground of Country Paradise Parkland, Ediblescapes have received an invitation to participate in future programs with different communities on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane.
All this achievement was only possible due to the persistent hard work of the small acting committee, especially Dorothy Coe, acting secretary, Cathy Beard, acting President and Julie Merryl, acting treasurer.  Also, thanks to Lyn Mansfield for her advice and not forgetting Scott Quilliam for his excellent video camera document and commentator services.  
The acting committed has set up Ediblescapes with appropriate insurance cover for volunteers and participants of activities.  Also, it means that our organisation has been approved to have job seekers who are undertaking voluntary work as an approved activity by the Department of Human Services.
At the moment, the acting committee’s task is to polish the mission statement, the vision or purpose, principles and strategic goals, to outline the future role of Ediblescapes. It also needs to prepare the association’s constitution, ready for approval in the first general annual meeting, to be held in the 4th week of January, 2018.
In Ediblescapes’ general meeting in January, the acting committee will fulfil its mission by passing the governance services to the first elected managing committee.  In this first general meeting, members need to pass a motion to incorporate by resolution the new not-for-profit association. Further, it will confirm the name, adopt the proposed operating rules, and elect the committee members. This elected managing committee will lodge the application for incorporation soon after the meeting.
The Ediblescapes managing committee will have the responsibility of overseeing the operational work of the coordinator(s) and working group(s), which will drive the Ediblescapes 2018/19 programs and activities.  
Ediblescapes now issues an open invitation for membership and volunteers to be part of the next development phase of this endeavour, which aims to produce and promote as well as educate the public in the edible ecology of the city common space.  
For more information email Jorge
Contact@ediblescapes.org
And see our Facebook’s Edible Forest Landscape Project page at www.facebook.com/n.ediblescapes/

Pass Events

2nd Veggies Swap

ediblescapes hot compost

it was a great time of sharing stories, enriched particularly by Merryl Wentworth who brings a special donation to the Ediblescapes project.
This plant is very special for our project because it is an example of a tree with history. This is because Merryl’s lemandarin was first planted at Gilston, “Mt Nathan”, 60 years ago by her father on the site that is now underwater in the Hinze Dam. 

FOOD FORESTS

ediblescapes hot compost

An informative talk by Peter on sustainable living through permaculture and guerrilla gardening.
The group also enjoyed a walk through the "edible forest" structural example, at the back of Peters property; primarily for wildlife as part of a landcare ongoing development. All involved gathered helpful information, cuttings and seeds from Peter's edible forest and home garden.

VEGGIE / PRODUCE SWAP

ediblescapes swap

In June 2017 we had a veggie swap. It was a great morning of sharing food and stories.
In 11th November will be held our second veggie swap

HOT COMPOST
COMPOSTING IN 18 DAYS

ediblescapes hot compost

In May 2017 Ediblescapes held "the Hot Composting Workshop". Hot composting is the only of composting that kills weeds, seeds and pathogens. It creates true compost in the least amount of time.

GEOGLYPHS ARTWORK TO DESIGN LANDSCAPE GARDENS

ediblescapes lunar garden

Between July to September Ediblescapes develop and present a geoglyph artwork  that mock-up the complete gardens design for the proposed Public edibles landscape.

Ediblescapes direction

ediblescapes Sun Garden vision

Edible Forest Landscape

Is an urban Landcare intervention in common space, the project take specials care in edibles and natives fruit and perennial plants; developing permanent edible gardens open to community as public space.

ediblescapes vision

Public Ediblescapes

Are gardened areas for the use and benefit of the surrounding community and visitors. Model edible and medicinal gardens on the principles of a food forest and edible landscape. Adopted the main styles of unfenced communal gardens.

a food forest

Food Forest

A food forest is modelled on the ecosystem of a forest, but with the main
components, consisting of edible species and supporting plants.

ediblescapes landcapes visualisation

Edible Landscape

Edible landscaping is the use of food producing plants in aesthetically pleasing designs landscapes.

Get involved

EdibleScapes membership

EdibleScapes is a nonprofit community social-ecological service organisation, with a mission to produce, promote and maintain “Public Edible Gardens”.  

EdibleScapes envisions healthy, sustainable local communities for future generations through the advancement of knowledge and practice of local food ecology programs.

Anyone are considering on engage with EdibleScapes as member,
please see 
EdibleScapes members webpage

Contact

Contact person:
Jorge Cantellano 0439 530 315
EdibleScapes Coordinator

Let's Keep In Touch

As we move forward with this project we welcome all feedback which can help us in the future with the implementation phases. Ediblescapes open activities are on the second Saturday of the Month.
Country Paradise Parklands Entrance at 74 Billabirra Crescent, Nerang


All welcome!

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