A farewell to gardeners At Randwick Sustainability Hub, it's farewell to another class as the autumn/winter 2015 Organic Gardening course comes to an end…
The Organic Gardening course prepares those new to gardening with enough knowledge and practice to get started. It is aimed at home and community gardeners and, with its focus on herb and vegetable production (the accompanying Forest Gardening course introduces the cultivation of fruit and nut trees and shrubs), forms part of Randwick Council's community education program that is designed to build community resilience.
This demand stems from a growing interest in food and how it is produced and distributed, a demand that has turned issues like food security and food sovereignty into a social movement…
The course has been offered by council for close on a decade now, a time span attesting to the effectiveness of the course and the public demand for learning how to produce some of what people eat. This demand stems from a growing interest in food and how it is produced and distributed, a demand that has turned issues like food security and food sovereignty into a social movement.
The course was brought to council by Fiona Campbell, an experienced permaculture design educator and gardener who has assisted community gardens get started and develop their social design as an important component of community gardening. Prior to bringing the course to council, Fiona taught it for the previous decade for the City East Community College, locating the course mainly in a community garden.
The basics — enough to get started
The Organic Gardening course covers the basics in a comprehensive way:
- assessing and improving soils, with much focus on soil quality being the basis of organic gardening
- making compost using both the common plastic compost bins best suited to urban areas, and worm farms
- plants and their characteristics
- integrated insect pest management
- site analysis for gardens to determine where best to build them by taking account of sun and shade patterns, winds, soils and drainage
- irrigation, with an introduction to irrigation technologies ranging from the watering can, hose and fittings, microspray, permeable hose and drip irrigation, and an introduction to rainwater harvesting and storage in tanks, using the range of rainwater tanks at the community centre
- garden construction, using the no-dig method and introducing the biointensive approach with its double-dig and the adaptation of dig-and-loosen
- plant propagation from seed and cuttings
- planting patterns based on the biointensive method
- gardening in containers and on balconies.
There is a focus on the permaculture design approach during the course…