Community Gardens & Aquaponics

 

The Coal Loader Platform Community Garden

Location: The Platform, The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, 2 Balls Head Drive, Waverton 

Contact: council@northsydney.nsw.gov.au

 

If you don’t have the space or resources at home, you can grow your own food at the Coal Loader Platform Community Garden.

But this community garden is about more than home-grown fresh produce, for you can:

  • learn about, and use, practical organic gardening methods
  • attend site-specific workshops and hands-on training
  • sow, grow and harvest organic produce
  • help reduce household waste through composting
  • meet new people through a shared interest.

Enthusiastic residents have followed environmentally sustainable principles and have been gardening, learning, laughing and enjoying the garden's harvest since day one. 

The garden group meets every Saturday 8.30-10.30 in Summer (but 9-11am in the cooler months), for the formal session, but self-timed participation is welcome throughout the week as well.

The garden is open for viewing any day of the week.

 

Want to Join?

The garden is set in the ex-industrial Coal Loader site, on the old coal loading platform.

We have 50+ gardeners who help out in the garden and anyone is welcome to join.

There is no charge to become a member and basic tools, and sprays, are provided.

Contact: council@northsydney.nsw.gov.au

The garden was officially opened on 24 March 2018.

 

The Coal Loader Aquaponics Project

Location: The Platform, The Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability, 2 Balls Head Drive, Waverton 

Contact: council@northsydney.nsw.gov.au

 

Aquaponics is a combination of Aquaculture & Hydroponics where fish and plants are grown in an integrated system, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two. The waste produced by the fish in the pond below is filtered through the grow bed above and the water is cleaned of excess nutrients and returned. 

On the platform there are two aquaponic beds, managed by a volunteer group that formed in mid-2018.

Once established, Council hosted a series of workshops to provide members with an initial understanding of the requirements and workings of the system.

The only piece of technology in the system is the electric pump. The system then relies on gravity and siphon valves to control the flow. The grow bed uses an expanded clay media to support the plant life which, in turn, hosts the bacteria that converts the fish waste into a form that can be absorbed by the plants for growth. It is important to remove the plant material as it grows to take the excess nutrients out of the cycle. This ensures clean water for the fish, and a steady supply of leafy greens for the volunteers.

Silver Perch, a native to Australia and very well suited to aquaponics, live in the tank below the grow bed. They are a schooling fish that prefer dark water, making the conditions in the tank perfect for their wellbeing.

Every day dedicated volunteers feed the fish, tend the plants, and record various measurements needed to maintain and understand a healthy working system. They have also developed guidelines and an operating manual. These will help all future volunteers, and visitors, to benefit from the group's collective experience.

  

Want to Join?

The aquaponics project occupies two of the raised beds on the Coal Loader Platform and is officially a sub-set of the Coal Loader Platform Community Gardens.

10 to 15 gardeners make up the aquaponics project and anyone who can commit to regular attendance is welcome to join (and receive training).

There is no charge to become a member and all physical aspects of the project are provided by Council.

Contact: council@northsydney.nsw.gov.au or message the group via their Facebook page.