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Balcony Gardening

This post is just a type-out of my notes taken in the talk on, you guessed it, balcony gardening. The talk was given by Cecilia of Balcony Garden Dreaming at the Sustainable Living Festival.

Balcony Gardening – a self sustaining eco system created by you.

– Somewhere to sit
– Not many weeds
– Pot plants can be arranged
– Have to be fed all the nutrients they need
– Pollution may affect food-growing ability
– Don’t think of it as work
– Balcony gardens are contagious
– Have to take the time
– Bucket shower water
– A way to connect to people
– Your balcony garden will be a reflection of you
– A drawn design beforehand can become a reality
– Strawberries are a good plant
– Keep water with your plants
– that way when you notice they need watering you can do it right away
– Citrus
– Put old rugs or off-cuts of wood on the floor to make it a more pleasant space
– If your garden is special or themed you will have more energy and passion to maintain it
– Grow a garden in jars – alfalfa, lentils, mungbeans
– Grow normal plants before moving onto food
– this shows you it is possible and is less pressuring than growing food
– Have self-watering pots
– You can’t grown plants in dead soil
– You get to make your own soil
– Have a worm farm – save the world
– worm population takes about 6 weeks to get to full capacity
– Cut scraps for worm farm or compost small
– Tomatoes
– Chillies
– Chives
– Rocket
– Passionfruit
– Figs
– Citrus
– Not thin-leaved plants (like raspberries)
– East specific:
– Lettuce
– Herbs
– Green things
– Flowers
– West specific:
– Think about a water-garden
– Make sure your balcony can hold the weight of the garden
– There has to be some shade
– grapevines or other deciduous vines are good for this
– Big, deep containers are good for food
– Terracotta pots breathe but also sap water from the soil
– A long trough can hold multiple plants
– check that the plants won’t compete for nutrients and water in the soil
– Wrap ugly pots in hessian
– A small table for eating and other activities
– Funky homemade clotheshorse
– Google ‘heritage edible’ plants
– Schedule in dates to do things (ie. Go buy pots and plants)
– this increases the chance of the gardening happening

Sustainable Living Festival

This weekend I went to the Sustainable Living Festival in Federation Square. There were lots and lots of stall holders including organic food, ideas for house and garden as well as lots of fairtrade and organic clothing and other stuff. There was also lots of great talks, although I only made it to a few of them.
In an attempt to not take a million brochures (and thus trees) I tried to refuse brochures from people instead taking down their web addresses. Thus follows a list of links I wrote down.
By the by I have some photos and a few posts to make on my garden, it is still there despite the heat, things have just piled up lately and the blog goes to the bottom of the pile.

Permaculture Melbourne
I didn’t actually make it into this stall as it was always crowded out, but as permaculture is a great idea I wrote down their site. They have ways for people from different areas to get involved which looks great.

The Victoria Naturally Alliance
A woman accosted me as I was walking along finishing up writing the last address down and rather than take a brochure I said I would write the address down. I think they are involved in saving forests and the like. However I am not much of a joiner so I didn’t look closely.

Oases Graduate School
I doubt I would ever do my grad dip, but these guys have a really holistic program rather than focussing on one aspect of a healthy society in isolation they look at all aspects. If I were to do a grad dip (let’s get through a BA first), then this looked good from the stall.

Very Edible Gardens
These edible garden people are awesome. They sell garden beds, some of them are raised, so it is like working at a work bench, rather than crawling along the ground, which I think is a great way of making gardening more accessible to more people. On top of that they have a deal where you pay and they set up a garden and will come and look after it for you. Basically they do all the work and you get a killer veggie patch. The reason I like this is because people who are busy or don’t want to put in the work can still see how awesome it is, and maybe even take over looking after the garden themselves after a while. 🙂

Resource Smart
This is a government website that was listed up in the Design Tent. I wrote it down because I figured it would have some good tips. I notice one of their tips is to go to the festival, so I must be doing something right!

Alternative Technology Association
The ATA people put on a great talk on what renters can do to be more sustainable, a lot was stuff I knew, some was stuff I can’t do where I’m living, but lots was good tips for now and in the future. They also gave out a book on how to save water which I am reading through, it has some great ideas.

Lanfax Laboratories
The ATA talk quoted some stats from this site. I believe they have statistics on good laundry powder to use and the like.

Permablitz
Permablitz: An informal gathering involving a day on which a group of at least two people come together to achieve the following:
* create or add to edible gardens where someone lives
* share skills related to permaculture and sustainable living
* build community networks
* have fun
Why wouldn’t anyone want to be involved in that?

Balcony Garden Dreaming
This woman was so beautiful and passionate about balcony gardens. I took down lots of notes and tips from her which may become the basis for another post.

Holmgren
This I did not need to write down as I saw it everywhere and remembered it. It seems to be more of a search engine for sustainable-type stuff.

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