It’s autumn in Southbank!

Southbank Sustainability Group April 2024

Wow! What happened to summer?

Autumn has arrived in Melbourne with lots of autumn colours and leaves everywhere. It has been a wonderful start to autumn at the Southbank Sustainability Group (SSG) gardens at Boyd Community Hub.

Southbank continues to be a very diverse community. We get plenty of questions from residents wanting to learn more about our vegies and herbs. Enthusiastic residents come up with valuable suggestions and inputs which make our gardening experience very enriching.

We met on the first Saturday of March and planted new seeds: lettuce, silverbeet, rocket, bok choy.

In planted herbs we have now included Thai basil and Vietnamese mint on request of the community. Visitors to our gardens continue enjoying chamomile, rosemary, sage, basil and all our herbs.

The highlight of our gardens for the first weeks of the year were the lovely sunflowers. They blossomed and spread great cheer, attracted admirers from our community and also interstate visitors staying at Southbank during recent Melbourne events. These plants had matured and so for next season our gardening group harvested the seeds and saved them. Look out for them in from December to February 2025.

The tomatoes were harvested, and recipes exchanged for green tomatoes to be converted into chutneys and pickles. Our strawberry plants did yield a few strawberries, saved from young ones and the garden slugs.

An organic jam making day was hosted by one of our dedicated team members Cheryl. Lookout for the recipes in our SSG socials (Facebook and Instagram).

The extreme heatwave during the Labour Day weekend created some anxiety for our group about the health of our young plants due to heat stress. Our dedicated senior volunteers Henry, May and Huguette tended to them with great care and watered during cooler times of day.

At our March 16 meet-up we were thrilled to see most of our new plants thriving having survived the heatwave thanks to the care by these volunteers. The selection of resilient species during our planting will be prioritised so that they are adaptable to weather extremes.

SSG has been approached by some of our Southbank residents to take up nature strip gardening, for which we are in talks with the City of Melbourne. We await the guidelines from the council’s urban gardens team.

In the meantime, we have organised a few workshops in coming months to address topics such as food sustainability, food security and nature strip gardening to attract pollinators.

Our younger SSG team volunteers have been ideating and contributing lots of new ideas/research questions on sustainability during our post gardening coffee session. We love the energy and enthusiasm they bring to the table.

Our April upcoming event

Australian Native Edibles Workshop at Boyd Community Hub – April 13. Admission is free and registration is required via Eventbrite.

About the Group

SSG is a solution-focused community group of Southbank residents, working to bring positive change in sustainability practices. •

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