Features of the Source Community Garden

Raised Garden Beds

The site for our vegetable beds consisted of hard sub-soil, so as a result we built raised beds. The garden beds have been built from durable eucalyptus hardwood sleepers and layered with compost donated from the council and straw left over from the building process. They are positioned on a sunny north facing slope, which helps our plants grow, even in winter!

 

Swales

The apple orchard has been planted along a series of swales, constructed with a small excavator which dug a ditch along a contour and piled the dirt on the downhill side. Swales are a landscape feature which catch and store water and nutrients that would otherwise flow off the site. Rainfall is spread horizontally along the contour line, increasing its infiltration into the soil and decreasing soil erosion. Swales are especially useful in arid environments, where vegetation can benefit from the concentration of water.
The apple trees were planted into the mound where they benefit from having friable soil to grow in, as well as the extra moisture and nutrients captured from the swale.
 

The Apple Orchard

Planted along the swales are 12 different varieties of apples, which have been chosen to have a combined fruiting period of 8 months. There are about 7500 different types of apples in the world, which all have unique flavours, appearances and growing needs. At Source the trees are 'espaliered', a method by which branches are trained to grow along wires to form 2 dimensional trees. This allows more trees in a small space and makes netting and harvesting apples easier.
 

The Herb Spiral

The idea of the herb spiral is to create a wide diveristy of environmental conditions, and therefore growing conditions for different types of herbs in a small space. The central part of the spiral is the highest and sunniest location with the driest soil, suitable for herbs such as rosemary, thyme, sage, aloe and oregano. The lower, outer part of the spiral is wetter, suitable for herbs such as coriander, parsley and basil. Some of the spiral will be shaded by neighbouring bushes and there are also warm and dry niches between rocks. The mint has been planted in a bath tub as it is known for overtaking garden beds.
 

The Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

The wood-fired pizza oven was built over 2 weekends by volunteers, with the process lead by Galen Pettigrew, who is known for building durable structures! It has 2 layers of bricks with insulation in between. We use the oven to cook pizzas at working bees and celebrations. The fire is lit at least 2 hours prior to cooking time, and then the coals are pushed towards the back of the oven. Pizzas can be cooked at a high temperature but bread needs a lower temperature, so it can be baked after the pizzas. The oven is very efficient and so far we have been using off cuts from the building process to cook our pizzas. Firewood is a renewable resource provided the consumption rate is controlled to sustainable levels. Properly harvested wood is carbon neutral, however a lot of fire wood is harvested illegally and this poses a threat to biodiversity in our parks and reserves so it's important to obtain firewood from a sustainable source.