September 2012 Event Establishing a Sustainable Garden

Establishing a Sustainable Garden – Saturday the 22nd of September

A huge crowd gathered at Brian and Val Park’s house on Saturday to see how they established their sustainable garden. Brian instructed us in ways to improve soil structure and fertility through use of gypsum and recounted how they built up their gardens which are based on solid clay. He demonstrated how he and Val live in harmony with native birds, animals and insects and share the environment. Brian explained how his aquaponics system worked, as well as his wicking systems. Many of us were impressed by the size of the tomatoes already growing in one sheltered garden. Brian has designed and manipulated the areas around the home in order to create microclimates and suitable growing conditions.

Successes and failures were discussed and Brian outlined the trial and error they have undergone throughout the seven years that they have been establishing their garden. Brian had many tricks and tips to share such as his coffee can bird houses, his water tank set up and cheaper ways to set up an aquaponics system. There was a great deal of interest in Brian’s aquaponics system and many of us were inspired to go home and begin one ourselves. The contacts below are the main businesses Brian mentioned on Saturday.

Central Victorian Freshwater Fish (Maldon) ph: 54752898

Machinery & Irrigation Supplies (Castlemaine) ph: 54722007

Val took us on a tour of the native gardens. She explained how they had gradually built up the garden areas using blue metal dust and mulch. Considered and extensive planting have culminated in a wide variety of properous native plants. Many more are are self seeding due to the renewed fertility of the soil. Val pointed out how Brian had set up water catchment and water saving strategies throughout the garden.

Brian explained how their Bokashi bucket worked and recommended it for those who live in uints or flats, or for people who do not want to have a regular compost system. Brian and Val place the Bokashi contents directly into their garden as it does not require extra time to break down. He also added it to the regular compost for an extra boost.

The Goldfields Sustainability Group thanks Brian and Val for their time and expertise. It was an enjoyable, inspiring and informative afternoon. One secret that he didn’t give away was how he organised such perfect warm spring weather!





Goldfields Sustainability Group

Establishing a Sustainable Garden

99 Argyle RoadMaryborough


Saturday the 22nd of September

Presented by: Brian & Val Park & Barry Parsons


The purpose of this activity will be to look at and discuss some ways of establishing a small sustainable garden, while preserving the integrity of the natural environment.


We will look at:

  • Techniques to improve soil structure and fertility.
  • Ways to increase the biodiversity in a garden by growing native plants to attract native birds, animals and insects.
  • The use of raised garden beds, wicking systems and aquaponics to grow vegetables in a small space.
  • Methods for using and recycling green waste.


Tea / Coffee / Cold drinks provided.



Turn East at the corner of Argyle & Gillies Street. (EastPrimary School)

Travel past Frank Graham Oval, 1km out to the cemetery.

At the cemetery DON’T follow the Bitumen  around, but continue straight out along the gravel road, with the cemetery on your right.

400m passed the cemetery on your left is a bone coloured brick house. That’s us!