Community News

Living Sustainably Inspo

Lynette and Brent are certainly living the sustainable life!

What started as a blank canvas for the couple 18 years ago is nothing short of an oasis of sustainability within the suburbs! It’s a half acre block bursting with life and colour and goodness every where you look! Part food garden and part habitat garden Lynette and Brent’s half acre patch demonstrates the perfect symbiosis of human self-sufficiency and critter habitat.

All of the garden beds, compost bays and planting spaces have been constructed with preloved materials and very little, if any, organic material leaves the site. Lynette makes her own bees wax wraps for food storage and used coffee is dried and stored for use as slug deterrent around young seedlings. Kitchen waste is added to the worm farms creating worm wee and castings which are added to the soil. Any non worm compatible waste is added to the 4-bay compost system.

3 garden beds, 4m x 1m are used for rotational planting and another bed is a permanent pineapple patch. Yet another large 6m x 3m bed is protected by fruit fly proof netting which enables Lynette and Brent to grow susceptible crops such as broccoli, bok choy and tomatoes without the need for chemical sprays. All of their vegetables are grown organically, using only worm castings and compost and sometimes seaweed solution.

This Autumn they have planted: broccoli, cauliflower, bokchoy, wombok, brown onions, spinach, leeks, ginger, strawberries, peas, snow peas, garlic, lettuce, shallots, tomatoes, eggplant, asparagus, rosemary, lemongrass, basil, parsley, thyme, marjoram and, of course, flowers for the bees!

Also on the block are lemon, orange, tangelo, macadamia, mandarin, lime, lychee, olive, avocado, fig and dragon fruit trees.

As outstanding is the habitat that has been created which has attracted around 77 bird species and countless critters including eastern water dragons, blue tongued lizards, burtons legless lizard, water skinks, an echidna, brown snake, red bellied black snake, white crowned snake, common tree snake, carpet python, Perons tree frog, green tree frog, eastern dwarf tree frog, striped marsh frog, burrowing frog and thousands of native bees.

Repurposing and recycling continue inside with a 6-tub system which includes bins for the worm farm and compost, soft plastics, a cash back return tub and an ‘anything that can’t be recycled’ bin for landfill. Strings from tea bags, plastic bottle tops from milk bottles and other condiments are also diverted from landfill and given to projects such as Knitted Bears and Plastic Prothesis.

Glass bottles are reused to hold home made jams and pickles made from excess in the food garden.

The half acre is watered from 4 rainwater tanks, which combined, hold 35,000lt. The house and outbuildings are powered by a 5.8 kw solar system which supplements power consumption.

Lynette and Brent agree that you don’t need a lot of land, (or a lot of money), you just need a little patience, some spare time and a passion to leave smaller footprints on the earth.

Hoping this story has given you some inspiration to achieve your sustainability goals or consider entering the Clarence Valley Council Living Sustainably awards. Nominations have been extended until May 6.

Suzanne Lynch