Compost and Worm Farm
Gradually the farm's hard, compacted back clay soils are being turned into fertile community beds with the help of many worms and the rich humus from our compost-making efforts. And over the last couple of years we have also been trialing different green manure cover crops to help up-scale the remaining growing area.
One of the first in Brisbane, it is not connected to the sewer system and recycles 100 percent of the waste.
In the warm, moist environment of the bio-reactor, special worms (tiger worms and composting worms) convert the solids into worm castings on a filter bed while liquids pass through the filter. Further flushing dissolves the worm castings, which also go into a trickle bed below.
Bacteria act quickly and compost this liquid, which then passes into a below-ground activated sand filter. A solar pump transfers the emerging cleaned and odourless effluent into a constructed wetland.
A much loved addition to the farm. Firstly the base was constructed with bricks and concrete. Using a combination of clay, finely cut straw and sand, layers were then placed around and over a temporary frame. After a short drying period, the oven was ready to cook yummy breads and pizzas.
The oven is used for numerous activities which are run at the farm and of course to feed the hungry workers.
Raised garden beds
Close to the meeting house a raised bed has been built for people to access without bending. Disabled people in wheelchairs can tend this garden in the shelter of a shade cloth roof. Being under shade, the plants require less water and are not subject to the full force of the sun in the middle of the day. In a natural environment, trees would provide this shade.
Compost tumblers and grass bays
A number of local mowing contractors supply the farm with almost unlimited grass clippings, which are a fantastic ingredient for compost; fresh green clippings are a good source of nitrogen. A number of bays, made entirely from second hand materials, store the bulk clippings. The tumblers are then filled with a mixture of grass clippings, horse manure, shredded newspaper, leaves, certain weeds and spent veges. They're then turned on a regular basis to promote aeration.
The farm has four rainwater tanks. This has many advantages: reducing demand on our water supplies, reduces water pollution, captured rainwater is free of the salts and pollutants associated with ground and surface water, the natural temperature of rainwater doesn't shock plants, rainwater contains no chlorine and it's free!
The farm uses 100% renewable energy with a solar and battery storage power system that is completely independent of the main power grid. It powers the electricity points for our shed, the pump for our toilet, and the three solar street lights on the farm. Additional solar panels were recently installed thanks to a grant from the Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor's Community Sustainability and Environmental Grants Program.
Nature is abundant. It hasn't taken long for the Beelarong Community Farm to produce an abundance of seeds. Our members are kept excited and busy swapping, planting, growing and eating many different varieties of fruit and vegetables.
We attempt to save and use our own locally adapted non-hybrid seeds, be it at our community farm, in member's backyards or with seeds from Brisbane Organic Growers Inc..
The herb spiral is a highly productive and energy efficient, vertical garden design. It allows to stack plants to maximise space with the centre of the spiral at the highest point. Using the natural force of gravity, the plants on the outside of the spiral will be left with more water. Therefore, we can grow plants that prefer different growing conditions all in the one space. The stones used to build the spiral retain heat absorbed during the day and insulate the spiral at night, keeping it warm when the temperatures drop.
The function of the hotel is to provide a nesting place for insects. Our hotel situated in the fruit forest presents an optimal habitat which stimulates insects diversity. The result of diversity is an improvement of the ecological balance in the garden. The hotel also attracts native bees, wasps and bumblebees.
Beelarong Community Farm | Cnr Beverley and York Sts, Morningside, QLD, 4170 | firstname.lastname@example.org | 0401 168 657