Tag Archives: water

OUR ACHIEVEMENTS IN 2013

I was reflecting recently on the work we’ve done in recent years, paid and community, especially with last year (2013) being a very busy year for us. If you’re working on a project yourself at the moment, whatever it is, and sometimes experience self-doubt or challenges in gaining momentum, never give up! Never doubt the small steps you take and how little things add up, or the work you do and how it impacts positively on others.

2013 was a very interesting year for most people. We certainly saw a lot of change, both positive and negative, in Brisbane and Qld, with floods, political changes, a sharp rise in the cost of living, lots of environmental wins and setbacks, and yet another year of fighting the good fight for the green revolution.

We've achieved a lot of positive and fun things, made some mistakes along the way, shared a lot, learned MORE than we ever shared, met some wonderful committed and passionate people, and we're happy with our contribution so far ... and after having 6 months off at the beginning of this year, we feel we still have lots more to share in 2014.

Here's a few of our achievements from 2013:

~ We saw 1,269 people come through our gates to visit, attend workshops and events, to learn from and share with us, and contribute to a better world.
~ We helped rescue and rehomed over 500 chickens via The KFC Project.
~ I serviced 25 Garden Mentor Sessions for private clients.
~ We held 29 free events, with over 400 people attending.
~ I spoke at 22 events: community and conservation groups, librares, businesses and private organisations, to over 1000 people in total.
~ We held 10 Crop Swaps, with 310 people attending.
~ We facilitated 13 Permaculture workshops, with 112 people attending.
~ We ran 7 chicken keeping workshops, with 68 people attending.
~ We ran 11 workshops on soil care, seed propagation, worm farming and Korean cooking, with a total of 52 people attending.
~ Our free Eat Your Street tour earlier in the year saw 23 people attend to learn about edible street and backyard weeds and trees.
~ We ran 3 green branding workshops, with 14 people attending.
~ We held 5 survival and self defence workshops, with a total of 27 people attending.
~ I had 6 radio interviews.
~ We ran an organic food co-op onsite for 13 weeks, with 300 people attending during that time, and just under $10,000 of organic local produce purchased in the 13 weeks.
~ We donated over $1,000 to non-profit organisations.
~ We are now followed and supported by people from over 25 countries, including Australia, the USA, Canada, India, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Israel, the UK, Italy, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Thailand, Indonesia, Okinawa, Africa, the Middle East, France, Germany, Romania, Slovakia, Russia and more.

Sharing these achievements is not meant to boast in any way. It is to share and feel proud about our commitment to our immediate local Brisbane and Australian community, and our extended global community, our dedication and passion for the environment and people everywhere ... and I should stress that ALL of this was only possible with the incredible, rock solid support from my partner MinJeong, and a plethora of amazing people near and far, off and online. We look forward to achieving even more for people, communities and the planet in the future.

Onwards and upwards! – Green Dean

Whether you believe in climate change and global warming or not, it seems like we're in for another very dry hot summer, with temps this hot, this early on in Spring concerning many experienced gardeners.

It only takes a couple of such hot days to heat stress your garden without the proper pre and post care of your soil, plants, trees and life. If you know a certain day coming up will be extremely hot, or a hotter week is in store, a little prep and care goes a long way to protecting your gardens.

Here's a few easy things you can do to help:

1. Thicker mulching on your garden beds in the hotter months prevents and minimises water evaporation and heat stress. Lighter mulching in colder months allows the soil and life to receive more warmth.

2. The day before really hot days, water your gardens more deeply. A good deeper soaking water, within reason, makes a big difference. And then on the really hot days, get up extra early and give your gardens a light watering to prep them for the day. This requires some common sense, though, as too much water is just as bad as too little, and some plants require more or less water.

3. At the end of extremely hot days, give your garden another watering, to refresh your plants and trees and cool the soil. This is especially important on hot windy days. Wind will dry plants out very fast and can 'burn' foliage.

4. If you can only water once a day, a good soaking water in the mornings is best, especially to prevent unwanted mould, pests and diseases that attack wet humid plants at night. Also try to 'ground water' - water your soil and base of plants, rather than overhead watering. I do this in the mornings, and then if I water lightly again in the afternoons of really hot days, I lightly water overhead to cool plants.

5. Place a few sticks or stakes throughout your garden beds, at least 50cm high, and on the mornings of really hot days, drop some shadecloth or old porous sheets or curtains over the sticks. This will prevent and minimise sun stress on your plants and evaporation, especially younger plants and leafy veggies and herbs. Do not lay cloth or sheets directly on your plants. Make sure some air space is between the garden bed and the shading material. I've collected lots of rolls and offcuts of shadecloth from kerbsde pickups over recent years, which I use for this purpose ... and it's cost me nothing. I also use old lacy curtains for shade on really hot days.

6. Remember that your plants and trees (and animals) are just like us humans. They get dehydrated and will suffer, or even die, without adequate water and shade on very hot days. Heat stress and lack of water can take many plants and trees beyond the point of recovery. There are also countless beneficial microorganisms and small animals, birds, insects, lizards and frogs in your garden, all doing a great job. Regular watering and providing small 'watering holes' for them is essential for their survival.

Simply place some old dishes and bowls from your kitchen (or an op shop) around your garden beds, under more shady plants and keep topped up with water. Dig them in to ground level. Place some bird baths and waterers around your gardens also in shady spots for birds and insects.

If you're new to gardening, effective watering takes a little time to master, but isn't rocket science and becomes intuitive fairly fast. Get to know your garden and everything in it. While more time-consuming, I personally prefer hand watering with a hose, as it develops a more intimate relationship with each garden bed, each section of plants and their water needs, and even individual plants and trees. It also gives me an opportunity to check garden progress, see what needs harvesting, what might be thriving or struggling, and generally unwind while dreaming a little of edible things to come.

The main thing to remember is, we are now heading into the warmer months, Spring and Summer, and from all indications, a long hot dry summer. So it makes sense to prep your gardens well now - your soil, mulching, plant choices, shade plants and trees, get shadecloth ready, make shading trellises around your garden with shady plants growing on them, especially overhead and on western sides of gardens. A little smart prep will go a long way to ensuring you continue to grow strong healthy plants and food throughout the hotter months.

Happy gardening!