Upper Ross Community Garden

43 Alambie Lane tucked behind the PCYC and Men’s Shed.


Feb. 21 2016 Planting completed


Feb. 16 2016. Now completed the third shade/trellis archway at the Upper Ross Community Garden. There will be a bit more shade now. The arches are made from old trampoline frames. As well as providing shade for the seating areas they also provide space for crops that like to trellis. Eventually the vine crops will cover the wire and shade cloth.


Dec. 16 2015

The Upper Ross Community Garden is taking shape. There is space for 15 fruit trees and around 300 herb and vegetable seedlings. The garden isn’t having individual plots like the previous Upper Ross community garden as it is much smaller, and instead will be managed as a resource for the whole community. One function will be as a living seed bank and demonstration area of herbs and vegetables suited to the dry tropics. I will be asking for donations of non-hybrid seeds and seedlings around mid January, so if you have a hard to get species grow one or two on for the garden or put aside a few seeds for me (please). I will be building a nursery area for propagating seedlings for other community projects and for backyard growers, so seeds from a plant you share now could end up spreading far and wide.


The beds are built and full of soil and compost, and today the mulch goes on. First I inoculate the top layer of soil with micorrhiza, then after putting the mulch on I will pour about 10 litres of 10:1 diluted xlr8 over the mulch and top soil. The bottom third of each bed has rock mineral added to the soil and about 10 litres undiluted of the xlr8 poured through. As well as providing minerals and nutrients this stops the anaerobic soil making methane, and instead it becomes a sink for carbon and nitrogen.

Dec. 07 2016


The plumbing went in today and tomorrow the first soil should be going in. I’ve still got about half a dozen beds to screw the top planks on. They should be just about completed by the end of the week, but there will still be a few ute loads of compost and mulch to spread around. Steven Hood has put his name forward to help coordinate the ongoing maintenance of the garden, and I will be supporting his application to NQ Community Services. I’ll help him establish an Upper Ross Urban Food Growers club made up of interested locals and permies.

The new Upper Ross Community Garden behind the PCYC in Allambie Lane is slowly taking shape. Most of the delays have been funding related, and the actual work on site has been progressing well when the materials are available. Last week we grabbed thirty heavy hardwood sleepers from the old garden to recycle as biowicked garden beds. We dug trenches near the fence line that will be lined with plastic and plumbed with socked slotted agi-pipe and then surrounded with the sleepers two high and filled with soil.

Vine crops will be planted to make use of the vertical growing area the fence provides. We have also dug pits for both the wicking herb spiral and drylands banana circle, which are adaptations of ‘classical’ permaculture designs to make them more suited to the dry tropics. The bulk of the garden is taken up by 15 interconnected bio wicked beds incorporating bench seating and shaded trellises areas. As the garden is relatively small there will be no private allotment areas, but instead the whole garden needs to be managed as a community resource.


Transition Town research found most people go to community gardens to learn what to do in their own yard rather than to grow food, and the design of the garden reflects this usage. In addition to being a meeting and learning centre the garden will provide resources such as worms and seedlings for those wishing to build their own food garden. It will also function as a living seed bank and demonstration area of the range of food crops that will grow in our dry tropical climate.

There is room for over 350 species/varieties of vegetables and herbs and I will be planting as wide a diversity as possible. The garden will also have a large 3×1.5m wicking worm farm  for converting waste food from the community centre and PCYC into castings for top dressing the beds. Food will first be fermented in bokashi buckets then processed in the worm farm. The mix of worm exudate and bokashi juice will be regularly drained, diluted 10:1, and used as the main liquid fertiliser on the gardens. No chemical fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides of any kind will be allowed on site.

Pest control will mainly be through keeping the plants healthy and through intercropping. There will also be a small nursery area so seeds can be easily collected and grown on for both replanting and distributing. Non-hybrid open pollinated seeds will be used only, as plants do not grow true from seeds collected from hybridized plants. While not officially designated as a Permaculture garden the new Upper Ross Community Garden has been ‘permaculturally designed’ and has the potential to be a major demonstration site for our group. This garden could complement the permie plot in Railway Estate and provide somewhere for permies living at the other side of town to play. It is also a different ‘style’ of garden being mostly above ground boxes. 



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