Sustainable Living Podcasts
Sustainable Living – Episode 1: Interview with the President of Canberra City Farm, Fiona Tito Wheatland about the role of Canberra City Farm in living more sustainably.
Sustainable Living – Episode 2: In this episode Keith speaks to Simone Dilkara, Compost Manager at Landtasia Organic Farm. Simone discusses the importance of composting our waste plant, and plant derived material, and returning plant nutrients in the form of compost to the soil to improve its fertility and water holding capacity.
Sustainable Living – Episode 3: In this episode Keith talks to Katie Mills and Evan Turnbull who run the market garden, Department of Broccoli, at the Canberra City Farm. Katie and Evan discuss their journey starting from a background of very little gardening experience to become successful commercial market gardeners in Canberra. They reflect on some of the pitfalls and triumphs of gardening in the Canberra environment.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 4: In this episode Keith talks to Cid Riley, owner of the commercial worm farming business, Global Worming, which is partly located at the Canberra City Farm. Cid talks about his love affair with composting worms and the amazing work they do in transforming food waste back into valuable plant nutrients. Cid discusses the importance of returning those nutrients to the soils of our farms and gardens to increase their fertility and to improve the nutritional value of our foods. He also gives some valuable tips for those of us with our own backyard worm farms to help us keep our worms happy and healthy.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 5: In this episode Keith talks to Scotty Foster about Cooperatives, Commons and Communities Canberra, also known as CoCanberra. CoCanberra was formed in 2016 and its purpose is to create a series of Climate Cooperatives to address the immediate climate crisis and its cultural causes and through them to implement a vision of a cooperative commonwealth starting here in Canberra and its surrounds. Scotty describes how these cooperatives work and in particular two which are in the process of development, the Pre-Power Cooperative which installs solar power equipment on roofs which provides electricity at a considerable discount for members and the Soil City cooperative farm which is a first step in encouraging small scale regenerative farming in the local district to supply affordable, nutritious, organic food for the local population. Scotty also presents long format interviews on the 2XX program “Behind the Lines” where these and related issues are explored in more detail. The interviews are available as podcasts in “Align in the Sound” on Soundcloud.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 6: In this episode Keith talks to Arian McVeigh about the Canberra Seed Savers Co-operative. They discuss the importance of saving our own seeds, selecting seeds from crops adapted to our local environment and preserving the genetic diversity of our food crops. Arian also describes the practical techniques for successfully saving seed, storing seed and ensuring that seed saved will reproduce true to type. The Canberra Seed Savers Cooperative can be contacted through their web site, https://canberraseedsavers.org.au/.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 7: In this episode Keith talks to Meg Clark about the Lyneham Commons. They discuss the aims of Lyneham commons and the importance of growing perennial food plants in communal areas for building a sense of community. The development of the Lyneham Commons was not without difficulties, particularly as it was the first such commons in Canberra. Many lessons have been learnt and the Lyneham Commons group are happy to help others who may be contemplating setting up a Commons area on public land in other parts of Canberra. For more information about the Lyneham Commons and its activities go to their facebook page or call Meg on 045880026.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 8: In this episode Keith talks to Brook Clinton about Capital Scraps Composting. Capital Scraps Composting is a composting service for domestic kitchen waste in the inner north of Canberra. It currently services Hackett and Watson but there are drop off points for kitchen waste in other suburbs and it is gradually extending its service into other areas of Canberra. Capital Scraps Composting is a social enterprise (not for profit) driven by the purpose to reduce Canberra’s greenhouse gas emissions. It provides a low-emissions option for recycling household kitchen scraps and contributes to greening our city. By consolidating scraps from multiple households it is able to carry out hot composting (over 60 degrees C), creating valuable soil amendments in under a month. For more information about Capital Scraps Composting and its activities or to subscribe to the composting service go to the web page here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 9: In this episode Keith talks to Annabel Schweiger and Josie Grenfell about Food2Soil. Food2Soil is a startup which was created about eighteen months ago and creates high quality fertiliser from food waste using a fermentation process, “kombucha” for plants, diverting food waste from landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions entering into the atmosphere. Annabel and Josie describe how this liquid fertiliser is a biostimulant which stimulates and feeds the soil microbiology leading to increased soil fertility and enhanced plant growth. It can also be used as a foliar treatment for plants, as a fertiliser and as a disease control agent. More information about Food2Soil can be found on the website here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 10: In this episode Keith talks to Andy Hrast about the Canberra Organic Growers Society (COGS). Andy is the President of COGS. COGS is a long established not-for-profit organisation in Canberra. It was formed in 1977 and established it first organic community garden in the 1980’s. It currently manages twelve organic community allotment gardens in Canberra. Keith and Andy discuss how COGS has developed over the years into a very active and thriving organic vegetable gardening organisation with several hundred allotment holders. They talk about COGS role as one of the leading contributors to the development of community based urban agriculture in Canberra. Further information about COGS can be found on their website here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 11: In this episode Keith talks to Edwina Robinson founder of The Climate Factory about establishing micro forests in Canberra. They discuss the importance of growing trees, shrubs and other vegetation as micro forests in urban areas. These forests reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect as climate change brings about increasingly hotter, drier conditions in our urban areas. Edwina explains how replacing hard impermeable surfaces with micro forests reduces the impact of increasing temperatures through allowing better water infiltration into the soil to support plant growth which results in cooling from increased evapotranspiration and shading. Edwina describes several micro forests in Canberra and where they can be found. For more information about The Climate Factory as well as tips and courses on how to establish a micro forest in your own community or on your own block, check out the web site here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 12: In this episode Keith talks to Fiona Buining founder of Ainslie Urban Farm. They discuss the ups and downs of operating an urban farm in the suburbs. Fiona talks about the history and design of her garden on a large urban plot, the plants she grows and and how it functions as the Ainslie Urban Farm. Fiona also provides advice about some of the hurdles and constraints of urban farming for those considering setting up their own urban farm. Keith and Fiona discuss more generally the role of urban agriculture in our cities and some of the constraints that urban farmers face. One of those constraints is access to appropriate training for aspiring urban market gardeners. Fiona talks about her vision for a more formalised training system which she is currently exploring through a Churchill fellowship she was recently awarded. More information about the Ainslie Urban Farm can be found here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 13: In this episode Keith talks to Christopher Smith of Tinderry Mountain Herbs where he grows herbs using biodynamic methods and Wendy Dumaresq founder of the Natural Woman Network. Christopher is a horticulturist and a herbalist in the western medical tradition and Wendy is also a herbalist. Christopher and Wendy explain their approach to herbalism and healing and touch on some of the differences between various approaches to herbalism in different cultures. Wendy also outlines the work of the Natural Woman Network which she founded. It is a knowledge sharing platform and more information about this network can be found here. Emerging from this work was a series of courses offered under the banner Herbal Medicine Secrets aimed at enabling people to grow, make and use their own herbal medicines. More information about these courses can be found here. Christopher then explains his approach to growing herbs at Tinderry Mountain Herbs and the impacts of the drought and fires on the range of herbs he grew. More information about Tinderry Herbs can be found here. Christopher’s herb growing and interest in herbalism intersected with the work of Wendy and the Natural Woman Network resulting in their collaboration on the project to develop the series of courses offered by Herbal Medicine Secrets. Finally, Wendy and Christopher provide some useful practical advice for distinguishing between sources of good and bad advice in relation to the use of herbal medicines.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 14: In this episode Keith talks to Emily Yarra, who with her partner Michael Kobier, produce a diverse range of heirloom vegetables on under an acre of land at their farm Brightside Produce. The farm is about an hour and 20 minutes south-east of Canberra. They also produce eggs from their free range laying hens on their pasture. The farm has a cool temperate climate and is about 950 metres above sea level. Emily discusses the challenges of market gardening in such a cool climate with a relatively short growing season. Emily and Michael practice biodynamic growing methods and have recently started experimenting with other regenerative growing techniques. Emily also provides some advice for those who are considering starting their own market garden or small holding farm. You can find more information about Brightside Produce, the farm and the products Emily and Michael grow at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 15: In this episode Keith talks to Walter Steensby, Convivium Leader of Slow Food Canberra. Walter and Keith discuss the work of Slow Food. It is an international movement with its headquarters based in Italy where it was formed. It has branches (convivia) in many countries, including Australia. Within in each country there are many local convivia. Walter explains the relationship of the local and country convivia with the international headquarters. Walter also describes the work undertaken by the local Canberra Convivium. More information about the Slow Food movement internationally can be found here. The work undertaken by the Canberra Convivium can be found at their website here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 16: In this episode Keith talks to Ruth Gaha-Morris about the work of the Southern Harvest Association. The Southern Harvest Association is a farmer and volunteer led non-profit organisation working to foster the sustainable growth and availability of local produce within the Southern Harvest region. The Southern Harvest Association is well known in the Australian Capital region for its weekly Bungendore Market on Saturday mornings. Ruth talks about how the markets operate and discusses some of the challenges and opportunities Covid-19 created for the markets. Ruth also talks about the popular Southern Harvest multi-farm produce box scheme which follows the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, and aims to, as directly as possible, connect local Farmers with local Eaters. Other activities of the Southern Harvest Association that Ruth discusses includes the annual Bundendore Harvest Festival as well as its education program for farmers and the general public. More information about the Southern Harvest Association and how you can join the multi-farm box scheme or purchase produce from the market using their online shop, even if you can’t get to Bungendore for the market day, can be found here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 17: In this episode Keith talks to Greg Dojchinov, Vice President of the Canberra Region Beekeepers Association. Greg describes the role of the Canberra Region Beekeepers apiary, hosted by the Canberra City Farm at 2 Dairy Road, Fyshwick, as a training facility for hobby beekeepers in the Canberra region. The apiary consists of a variety of hives including Langstroth, Kenyan top bar and Warre. Keith and Greg discuss the importance of bees for the agriculture and the relationship between European honeybee (Apis mellifera), Australian native bees and other nectar and pollen eating native animals. Greg also describes some of the pests and diseases which commonly affect hives and the importance of regular inspection of hives to ensure bees remain healthy. He also provides advice on what to do if a swam of bees invades your garden. For more information about the Canberra Region Beekeepers Association or to enrol in a beekeeping course, visit their web site here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 18: In this episode Keith talks to Zoe Anderson, acting Director as well as Workshops and Events Coordinator of the Canberra Environment Centre. The Canberra Environment Centre is not for profit environmental education centre that empowers people to create a sustainable future for the Canberra community by supporting lifelong behavioural change. Keith and Zoe discuss the wide range of activities undertaken at the centre including the community garden, the recyclery, the environment centre podcast and the wide range of workshops the centre offers both face to face and via Zoom. The Canberra Environment Centre can be found on social media and more information about their work can be found on there website here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 19: In this episode Keith talks to Trish Talob founder of Canberra Fed. Community Fed is an interesting, relatively new enterprise in Canberra founded by Trish Talob. It aims to provide educational resources about eating sustainably within the local food system. It also provides online spaces where communities can connect, converse and collaborate to enable access to sustainable food and address food insecurity issues. It provides digital tools that help consumers discover, learn about and implement sustainable food behaviours and as well, it provides services that help community groups/enterprises and small businesses reach consumers. Keith talks to Trish about the progress of Community Fed, the two community hubs, Canberra Northside and Canberra Southside, she has created on the web site and her plans for its continuing development. More information on Community Fed can be found on the web site here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 20: This episode features SEE-Change representatives Leigh Duxson, Audrey Severino and Peter LeCornu. SEE-Change – Change for Society, Environment and Economy is a well known and very active not-for-profit organisation in Canberra. Keith talks to Leigh, Audrey and Peter about the aims of SEE-Change, a little of its history and the many and varied projects they have been involved in as members of the organisation over many years. The Low Energy Super Shed (LESS) at Canberra City Farm is an example of just one of their projects. Anyone who may be inspired by their work after listening to this podcast is urged to contact SEE-Change though their web site which can be found here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 21: This episode features Karina Vennonen, founder of Patchwork Urban Farm. Keith and Karina talk about some of the issues faced by small market garden start-ups in Canberra. Karina describes Patchwork Urban Farm and how it operates in Canberra’s suburbs using under-utilised backyards to provide high quality, spray free produce to customers. To find out more about Patchwork Urban Farm and to enquire about their produce box scheme or to contribute your back yard to the Patchwork Urban Farm network, click here.
Sustainable Living Podcast – Episode 22: This episode Keith talks to Tom Tanhchareun, general manager of Farmer Incubator about the work of Farmer Incubator and their Pop Up Garlic Farmers program and its role in training farmers of the future. While Farmer Incubator is a Melbourne based not-for-profit organisation, negotiations are underway to run the Pop Up Garlic Farmers Program in Canberra for 2023. More information about Farmer Incubator can be found at their web site at here and their Facebook page here.
August in the Canberra Garden 2020: It’s still cold outside, but there is a whisper of Spring in the early blossoms and wattle. So what can you do in the garden?
If you want to find a specific topic, here are the relevant time-stamps:
00:00 – Welcome
00:27– Keith’s background and experiences
05:01 – Future podcasts
08:25 – What to do in a Canberra garden garden in August
16:40 – What vegetables to grow in sun and shade
17:50 – Organic gardening
24:25 – Pollinator attractors
27:50 – Compost
September in the Canberra Garden 2020: Well August has seen lots of rain, so where are we up to for early Spring? Keith and Vanessa talk about what we can do now in our gardens.
Looking for a special bit? :
- 00:30 Wet weather
- 02:10 Work to do in the garden in September
- 09:00 What to plant in September
- 20:40 Soil and soil-less growing media
- 26:25 Green houses
October in the Canberra Garden 2020: Spring so far has been quite mild and with plenty of rain our gardens are bursting into life. Keith and Vanessa talk about fertilising the garden to support that rapid growth as well as the challenges of dealing with some of the pests the warmer weather brings.
Looking for a special bit?:
- 00:15 What to do in the garden in October
- 10:30 Fertiliser
- 15:30 Leaf curl on stone fruit trees
- 19:40 Grapes
- 23:50 Fruit fly in apricot trees
November in the Canberra Garden 2020: Spring is continuing to be quite mild and with plenty of rain our gardens are bursting into life. This month Keith and Vanessa discuss the importance of keeping a close look out for pests building up on our plants as the weather warms up as well as preparing our gardens for the approaching hot Summer weather.
Looking for a special bit?:
*00:10 What to do in the garden in November
*16:20 Shade cloth
*19:30 Cross pollination
December in the Canberra Garden 2020: Summer has arrived. With a very mild spring and plenty of rain our gardens are bursting with life. Plants are growing rapidly along with the pests. This month Keith and Vanessa talk about what to do in the garden in December, the pests we need to keep a look out for at this time of year, looking after your fruit trees as well as the advantages and disadvantages of polycropping and intercropping.
Looking for a special bit?
- 00:25- What to do in the garden in December
- 5:40- Pests
- 17:30- Fruit trees
- 18:35- Polyculture and intercropping
January in the Canberra Garden 2021: Summer is in full swing. It’s time to enjoy the fruits of our labour, eating our fresh fruit and vegetables directly out of the garden. For those of us who have surpluses, now is the time to dust off our preserving skills by bottling, pickling, fermenting or drying any surplus produce for use during the winter and spring months. This month Keith and Vanessa talk about what to do in the garden in January, the pests we need to keep a look out for at this time of year, the two main types of tomatoes and the pluses and minuses of liquid fertilisers. Keith also provides answers to the questions our listeners have sent in.
Looking for a special bit?
- 00:15- What to do in the garden in January
- 10:00- Pests
- 19:10-Tomatoes (determinate and indeterminate)
- 23:40-Liquid fertilisers
- 27:40 Questions from listeners
February in the Canberra Garden 2021: Summer is in full swing. The weather has been kind to us so far with good rain at the end of January so we are still enjoying abundant produce and preserving our excess for winter. Now is the time to plant our winter vegetables, particularly the brassicas. It is also time to get our compost heaps organised to deal with all the old plant material from our summer crops. This month Keith and Vanessa talk about what to do in the garden in February and the pests we need to keep a look out for at this time of year.
Looking for a special bit?
00:20 What to do in the garden in February
March in the Canberra Garden 2021: Autumn has arrived. Summer has been very kind to us this year, much milder and wetter than last year, so we have all had good crops (apart from a few fungal problems). This is the busy preserving time of the year, bottling, drying, freezing and fermenting our excess for winter. This month Keith and Vanessa talk about what to do in the garden in March and the pests we need to keep a look out for at this time of year. Now is the time to plant our winter vegetables, although it may be a little late from some of the brassicas and other crops which take a long time to mature but it is still worth a try in the early part of the month. Our compost heaps should be in full swing dealing with all the old plant material from our summer crops.
April in the Canberra Garden 2021: Good rain occurred in March nicely setting up our gardens for the remainder of Autumn and winter. This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can still be planted to grow over winter, how to plant out garlic, Autumn pruning of fruit trees and some pests to be on the look out for. Our listeners questions about elderberries are answered and some hints are provided about “hardening’ sweet potatoes after harvest. There is still plenty of time to build compost heaps out of the spent plants which produced the Summer and Autumn harvest.
May in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can still be planted to grow over winter, Autumn pruning of fruit trees and some pests to be on the look out for. It’s the perfect time for building compost heaps using all the spent summer crops, but remember to avoid using diseased material in your compost. It is also time to plant our green manure crops to build soil nitrogen during winter and to provide organic matter to feed the soil biology in spring. We’ve received very good rain during summer and autumn this year but if it does not continue during late autumn and winter, gardeners need to continually monitor soil moisture during the colder months to ensure there is sufficient moisture in the root zones of plants. Heavy dew and frost during winter can give the impression that soil is moister than it actually is around the plant roots.
June in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about jobs to be done around the garden. It’s a good time to check watering systems and to keep an eye on the soil moisture as morning dew and frosts can give a misleading impression of the amount of moisture around plant roots. It’s also a good time to check for overwintering pests hiding in bark crevices, fences and in litter around the garden but there are some pests such as aphid and white fly which may also be active on winter vegetable plants such as brassicas. Frost sensitive plants such as citrus which have not yet experienced a Canberra winter may need some protection. Bare rooted fruit trees will be appearing in nurseries during the next two or three months and there is still time to order some from mail order suppliers. Its time to complete tidying up our gardens after Autumn by removing any diseased fruit and leaves and replenishing much under fruit trees. With fewer outdoor gardening jobs to be done, now is a good time to plan your Spring and Summer garden.
July in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can be started in July for spring and which seedlings can cope with the frost. They also discuss whether or not to mulch seedlings at this time of year. Keith provides advice about which pests to keep an eye out for and where to find them at this time of year. Listeners questions are answered about which are the best tools to buy for those new to gardening, whether or not to wear gardening gloves, what needs to be done in the orchard and what is the best time to water plants in winter. Keith and Vanessa also discuss the causes of brassicas bolting to seed in Spring as soon as the weather starts to warm and how to avoid it, and much more.
August in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can be started in August for Spring and those jobs we may have neglected during the colder months but which need to be completed before the Spring flush of growth starts. Keith provides advice about which pests to keep an eye out for and where to find them at this time of year. Listeners questions are answered about how to avoid the Summer/Autumn glut of vegetables by staging our Spring plantings, how to stop broad beans getting blown over in the strong winds we often get in Spring, and much more. If you have any gardening questions you would like Keith to answer please send them here.
September in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can be started in September for Spring and Summer. Keith provides advice about which pests to keep an eye out for and where to find them as the weather starts to warm up, particularly aphids but also codling moth later in the month depending on how quickly the temperatures warm up. It is also time to cut your green manure crop and dig it in, or crimp it if you are going to use it as a summer mulch for your vegies. Listeners questions are answered about which flowers to grow in the vegie garden to attract beneficial insects, particularly those which will keep your pests under control and those which pollinate your crops. If you have any gardening questions you would like Keith to answer please send them here.
October in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can be started in October for Summer and Autumn crops. Keith provides advice about which pests to keep an eye out for and where to find them as the weather starts to warm up, particularly aphids but also codling moth as the temperatures warm up. Listeners questions are answered about hardening off your seedlings so they survive the transplant shock they experience when planted out. Keith also talks about how to use heating pads to get a flying start for seedlings requiring warmer conditions, how to use liquid fertilisers and what to do about flying insects and slaters in your compost. Watering systems and the efficient use of water in the garden are also discussed. If you have any gardening questions you would like Keith to answer please send them here.
November in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants can be started in November for our main for Summer and Autumn crops, particularly those which are frost sensitive and can now be planted directly into the garden. Keith also mentions flowers which can be planted amongst the vegetables to encourage beneficial insects which help control pests as well as which pests and diseases to keep an eye out for at this time of year. Other topics discussed by Vanessa and Keith include how to deal with green manure crops and the pros and cons of digging them out and turning them in or just cutting them to use as mulch, how to fertilise a garden which has been mulched and when to apply compost. They also discuss various other topics including how to recognise when it is time to to pick your garlic crop. If you have any gardening questions you would like Keith to answer please send them here.
December in the Canberra Garden 2021: This month Keith and Vanessa talk about which plants, both flowers and vegetables, can be started in December. Keith also talks about the pests and diseases which gardeners need to keep an eye out for during December, particularly those which will be encouraged by this year’s damp conditions and high humidity. Keith and Vanessa discuss the importance of thinking about your garden plan at this time of year to ensure you have space for the plants you are going to grow in your winter garden. Some of these plants will need to be planted as early as January and February when your summer plants are still in full production. Keith and Vanessa also talk about the pros and cons of pinching out the laterals of tomatoes and the ends of cucumber runners.
If you have any gardening questions you would like Keith to answer please send them here.