Growing the community
We aim to demonstrate what people can achieve on a small suburban block by creating diverse and productive gardens.

The SAGE Garden began as a mass of head-high weeds. It’s almost impossible to imagine when looking at the garden today. After an initial onslaught with machinery, the battle against the phragmites was won with sheer persistence, rhizome disruption and hand-pulling. We’re still pulling them out, years later!

With small steps, monthly working bees and a group of hardworking, inspiring leaders, the garden today is a showcase of how we can grow food for ourselves and also for profit.

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The garden is always changing. For example, since the above photo was taken, a native flowering garden has been planted to attract pollinators.

We are steadily working towards our ambitious goal of installing an accessible composting toilet on site — a vital development to improve everyone’s experience using the garden — an addition requiring significant funding.

Also in our plans when funding is secured, is paving from the front garden, right throughout “the roof” area and into the backyard, which will also improve the accessibility of the garden.

The garden is often used for social events, which are becoming more popular. A mobile, food safety compliant kitchen is also on the wish list to help us better cater for our guests.

The front garden demonstrates how we can use perennial species to create an attractive and aromatic street-facing garden while still producing food, while the backyard focusses on growing vegetables for the kitchen using waterwise wicking beds.

“The roof” area represents the house and is where we hold the theory sessions for workshops, committee meetings, discussion panels such as our annual “Chew the Fat” event and serves as the dance floor for our social events. It also collects rainwater and solar energy.

Another item on the wish list is to fully net the orchard and incorporate chickens into the food production mix.

We’ve come a long way since 2009, but we still have a long way to go.

Credit: http://queenslandfruitflybactroceratryoniinfo.weebly.com/

Credit: http://queenslandfruitflybactroceratryoniinfo.weebly.com/

Each year when springs rolls in, we dream of the abundance we will have in the garden — beautiful red tomatoes, tasty capsicums and fruit trees laden with produce (including citrus) — and each year the fruit fly returns, causing significant losses — the loss of quality food for the home gardener, and a significant loss of income to local farmers and market gardeners.

Over the last 10 or so years, the fruit pest known as the Queensland Fruit Fly has spread further south in eastern Australia than it was previously thought possible. At the very same time, the number of approved pesticides used to control fruit fly for backyarders and commercial growers has decreased significantly.

SAGE recognises that a coordinated community effort is required, both urban and rural, to control this threat to our food supply. As such, we now hold regular information sessions about how you can do your part to fight the fruit fly menace!

Sign up to our newsletter to keep informed about our next session, or check our events page regularly.

In the meantime, download the SAGE Fruit Fly Information Sheet below and start NOW.

Download the SAGE Fruit Fly Information Sheet

THINK LIKE A FRUIT FLY!

  1. QFly spend the majority of time in the host tree in the shade of the canopy.
  2. They need a balanced diet of proteins (manures, bacteria on leaf surfaces) and carbohydrates (fruit juices, secretions from aphids and scale etc) for a long life and to reproduce.
  3. The urban environment suits the Qfly better than rural as there is more shelter, host fruit trees, humid micro-climates, therefore urban areas are going to require more vigilance.
  4. Male QFly usually mate once a night, at dusk during a half hour period and the temperature needs to be at least 15°C. They can survive to -2°C in winter but do not mate in these temperatures. They need a protein source before mating.
  5. A female QFLy needs to feed on protein source before laying eggs which she does at dawn and for a few hours after.
  6. Adult QFly can live for a number of months and the female can lay between 500 and 800 eggs in suitable conditions.
  7. A healthy adult QFly can travel long distances, but up to 1km is more normal.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

There’s a lot we can do to control Fruit Fly, but at the very least, we need to pay attention to HYGIENE.

Pick up all fallen fruit. This breaks the cycle as larvae cannot pupate. Destroy fallen fruit with heat: in a black plastic bag in hot sun, in a fire, or a microwave, then compost them. Without heat treatment do NOT bury, put in your bin or put in your compost pile, as they will continue to pupate to adults.

For lots more information about the Queensland Fruit Fly and what you can do to control it, make sure you download our information sheet.

One of the most ambitious aims of SAGE is to one day employ a Site Coordinator. This role will be self-funded through creative management and utilisation of the home garden, orchard, compost and worm farms, as well as other income-generating enterprises.

ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THE SITE COORDINATOR ROLE

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The Site Coordinator will recognise opportunities for development of the site that promote principles of sustainability and demonstrate how a garden can produce so much more than food.

Through consistent management and  maintenance, they will alleviate some of the repetitive and less inspiring tasks now undertaken by our volunteers, and create opportunities for members to become involved in more challenging and rewarding projects in the garden.

In many ways, the Site Coordinator will be the public face of the SAGE Garden and play a vital role in how SAGE engages with the wider community.