Sustainable Gardening – Rosebud Community Garden

Sustainable Gardening
Sustainable Gardening
Text and Images by John Eldridge, President RCG
The Rosebud Community Garden (RCG) project
was initiated following a multidisciplinary working
group meeting of the Peninsula Community Health
Service (PCHS) held in June 2000. The garden was
operational by 2005, following incorporation in June
2003 when administration was moved from PCHS to
The garden is nearly a quarter of a hectare in
area and is located in the middle of Lawson Park, an
off-leash dog reserve with views to Arthurs Seat. With
hindsight, materials access would have been easier if
the garden was on the edge of the park.
The garden has:
• mains water and some water tanks
• a chemical toilet (but no sewer connection)
• a wood-fired oven
• a meeting room with adjoining covered area
• a tool shed
• a recently built poly tunnel for propagation.
We would like to get some PV solar panels, as we
do not have power onsite.
We currently have 53 members and 49 plots
of various sizes, mostly about 6 square metres.
Membership is $20 per year and plots cost an
additional $20 per year.
More than half the site is communal, and is
planted with ornamentals, and fruit and nut trees.
Controlling weeds is one of the greatest challenges in
the ongoing maintenance of the communal areas.
Autumn 2015
Back in 2013, we had the idea to develop
the communal area as a ‘food forest’ to be more
productive and reduce maintenance. A food forest
is a system of gardening using a diversity of mostly
perennials arranged to compliment and support each
other. It is based on natural forests which require
no human maintenance and no inputs of fossil fuel
energy, pesticides, herbicides or fertilisers (we will be
happy with reduced maintenance and inputs). They
encourage the diversity, resilience and beauty of
natural systems.
At around the same time (June 2013) we
became aware of a Community Food Grant available
from the Australian Government Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. We put together
a comprehensive application but with a change of
government the grants were abandoned. We have
nevertheless pushed on with the food forest, but our
plans are being realised more slowly.
Raising awareness of the garden means promoting
and supporting members and the wider community to
produce at least some of their own food – at home, at
the community garden or at other local sources.
To get the message out we use a range of media:
• open day on the last Saturday of the month
where members of the public can view the garden
and talk to members. On the same day we hold a
workshop on a garden and food-related topic and
give attendees a handout of the workshop points to
take away. We also share lunch, do some work in the
communal areas and have a food swap.
• Facebook page
• website
• regular communication with members by
Autumn 2015