Issue 69
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong Issue 69

This month's newsletter includes articles on: 

  • Grow Local - Pest and Disease Management
  • Earth Day 22nd April
  • Sustainable Easter
  • Explore the No Butts Trail and Enter to Win!
  • What's On: Succulent Frames Workshop
  • What's On: Wicking Beds Workshop
  • Help Us: Feed People, Fight Food Waste
  • Sustainable Fashion: Enviro-Friendly Winter Wardrobe
  • Did You Know? How to Make a Worm Farm
  • Threatened Species Profile: Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion

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If you would like to make any comments or suggestions please contact us at

What's On Sustainable Wollongong - activities from backyard chook keeping workshops to cooking classes, bushwalks and education activities

Click here for Calendar of Events

Grow Local

Pest and Disease Management

There is nothing more disappointing than putting in all the effort to set up, look after and grow your own fruit and vegetables for them to be destroyed by garden pests and diseases. There is no magic solution to completely stop this from happening, but there are many things you can do to minimise the impact.
One of the best things you can do to protect your garden from pests and diseases is to make sure you have healthy soils. Healthy soils support the growth of healthy plants that are better prepared to fight off pests and diseases. Having a diverse range of veggies will help to create resilience and the ability to adapt to change, and by rotating veggies of the same family to different parts of your garden, this will help to break the pest and disease cycle in the soil – otherwise known as crop rotation.

It is also important that you research what plants are best suited for your local conditions and when is the best time to plant them. This will help to ensure that they are less vulnerable to pests and diseases. Open pollinated, heritage and heirloom vegetables generally tend to be more resilient compared to modern hybrids in small scale organic veggie gardens.

Not all insects and bugs are bad for your garden, many provided helpful garden services including lady beetles and spiders which eat pests, and bees which help to pollinate plants. Therefore it is important that you avoid synthetic chemical sprays and even organic sprays such as garlic or chilli which can still harm insects. It can also be helpful to have chickens or ducks and encourage native animals in your garden to control garden pests. You can also manually remove pests and put physical barriers in place such as exclusion bags.

Harvest Now:
FRUIT: Apple, Banana, Carambola, Cherimoya, Cherry of Rio Grande, Chestnut, Feijoa, Fig, Lemon, Lime, Longan, Macadamia, Mango, Olive, Panama Berry, Paw Paw, Pecan, Persimmon, Pomegranate, Acerola Cherry, Brazilian Cherry, Finger Lime, Guava, Jaboticaba, Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon, Dragon Fruit, Kiwifruit, Passionfruit.

VEGETABLES: Shallots, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Carrot, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Cucumber, Pumpkin, Squash, Zucchini, Green Bean, Capsicum, Chilli, Eggplant, Potato, Tomato, Asparagus, Corn, Lettuce, Sweet Potato, Warrigal Greens.

HERBS: Basil, Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Chives, Ginger, Mint, Lemongrass, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.

Plant Now:
VEGETABLES: Garlic, Leek, Onion, Shallots, Beetroot, Silverbeet, Spinach, Carrot, Celery, Parsnip, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Chinese Greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Radish, Rocket, Broad Bean, Pea, Tomato, Lettuce.

HERBS: Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Chives, Mint.

Prune Now:

Check out our Grow Local Illawarra Edible Garden Guide and Grow Local Illawarra Native Garden Guide.

Earth Day 22nd April

Earth Day was established in 1970 and occurs on April the 22nd every year, with over 190 countries having participated in the environmental movement. The event begins on April 20th in the lead up to Earth Day on the 22nd, and this year’s theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’.

There are many ways you can help to celebrate this global event, not just on this day but year-round, such as:
  • Reduce your waste: reuse items, recycle, avoid single-use plastics, compost your food scraps, join Terracycle in taking the pledge to recycle more
  • Walking, cycling or taking public transport instead of using your car
  • Switch off non-essential lighting and appliances where possible
  • Volunteer: check out our website for local volunteering opportunities such as Bushcare, the Picitup program and the Rise and Shine program
You can register for and find an event, sign up for email updates and many more activities, visit the Earth Day 2021 website for more information.

Sustainable Easter

We have just celebrated the Easter long weekend, a time full of yummy treats such as chocolate and hot cross buns! This celebration also produces waste such as foil and plastic wrapping from Easter chocolate and Easter decorations. You can still enjoy all of these yummy treats and the fun while also being sustainable.

There are many ways you can minimise your impact on the environment during and after Easter, such as:
  • Make your own treats such as chocolate and hot cross buns. Place food scraps in your FOGO bin. 
  • Recycle foil and hard plastics in your yellow recycle bin and recycle soft plastics at a REDCycle drop off point. Make sure you scrunch foil into larger pieces. Visit the Wollongong Waste website to find out more about what you can put in each bin. 
  • DIY your decorations: you can make paper egg baskets, paper garlands, bunting and many other fun decorations that avoid the use of plastic. Hold on to these decorations for next year or if you have to get rid of them, make sure you dispose of them appropriately.
For more tips and information on making your Easter sustainable, visit Clean Up Australia.

Explore the No Butts Trail and Enter to Win!

Council is renewing its effort to eliminate cigarette litter with the installation of 30 new cigarette butt bins at popular waterside locations – not to encourage smoking, but as a visual reminder to dispose of cigarette waste responsibly.

Look out for the fun chalk drawings installed at eight of those locations as part of the No Butts Trail and enter our competition to win a double movie pass#.

You can also learn more about helping our environment with the Green Team and meet the pesky Litter Bug over the school holidays (meet the Litter Bug on the dates highlighted with an*):
  • Wed 7 April, 10am-3pm @ Stanwell Park Beach Reserve
  • Thursday 8 April, 10am-12pm @ Windang (east side of bridge) *
  • Thursday 8 April, 12pm-2pm @ Judbooley Reserve, Windang (west side of bridge) *
  • Saturday 10 April, 10am-12pm @ Stuart Park (overlooking Puckey’s Lagoon) *
  • Saturday 10 April, 12pm-2pm @ Towradgi Beach Park*
  • Monday 12 April, 10am-3pm @ Austinmer Beach foreshore
  • Wednesday 14 April, 10am-3pm @ Bulli Beach, near Ocean Park
Find out more and enter to win
#Terms and conditions apply. This project is a NSW Environment Protection Authority, Waste Less Recycle More initiative funded from the waste levy.

What's On: Succulent Frames Workshop

Friday 16 April, 10am-12pm
Dapto Ribbonwood Centre

Learn how to make quirky succulent gardens in your old picture frames. This is a Seniors Festival activity, however all ages are welcome to attend. Bookings essential.

What's On: Wicking Beds Workshop

Friday 23 April, 10am-12pm
Corrimal Library

How do you keep your plants happy when you go on holidays? Wicking beds transform your garden bed or pot into a self-watering wonder and are easy to make yourself. This is a Seniors Festival activity, however all ages are welcome to attend. Bookings essential.

Help Us: Feed People, Fight Food Waste

Food Fairness Illawarra is calling all food businesses of the Illawarra to start donating their surplus food to one of the local food rescue and relief organisations.

Approximately 21,600 Illawarra residents face food insecurity, meaning they are not able to access food that meets their health and cultural needs. Meanwhile, tonnes of edible food end up in landfill every week.

Saving quality excess food will not only save the environment and reduce waste disposal costs, but greatly assist the people in our community that need it.

How you can help:

Sustainable Fashion

Enviro-friendly Winter Wardrobe

We are slowly moving into the cooler months of the year, what better time to start thinking about how to make your winter wardrobe not only practical and full of styles you love to wear, but also so that is has a lower impact on the environment.

Winter clothing includes many staple items that you can wear time and time again; this may be a great opportunity to look at obtaining pieces such as boots and jackets that are good quality and therefore don’t need replacing every year. This is also a good opportunity to minimise your wardrobe, instead of buying several items that you may only wear for one season, buy one or two good quality items that you will love for years to come.

Where possible, consider products made from more sustainable fibres such as linen and hemp and avoid those made from synthetic fibres. It is also worth checking out op shops for unique second-hand pieces - check out our Second Hand Shopping page for an op shop guide for the Wollongong area. This is also a time you can get a little creative - get knitting! You can make scarves, beanies, socks, jumpers and many other items, the possibilities are endless!

To ensure your items are wearable for a long time and don't need regular replacement, it is essential to care for them properly. Make sure you follow the instructions on the tags, hang up items, wash items only when needed and where you can, avoid heat damage from washing machines, dryers and irons.

Did You Know?

How to Make a Worm Farm

Worm farms are a great way to dispose of and break down your food waste and turn it into nutrient rich products for your garden.
  • You will need:
    • Worm farm container
    • Bedding: a mix of shredded newspaper, horse or cow manure, worm castings, coco peat or coir peat
    • 1000-2000 worms
    • Fruit and vegetable scraps
    • Hessian sack or old tshirt
  • Choose a location that is shaded and protected.
  • Make your bedding 10-15cm deep, mix and wet the bedding so that is as moist as a damp sponge.
  • Add the worms to the top of the bedding and let them settle in for a few days. Look for worms at your local hardware store or nursery.
  • Then add a thin layer of your fruit and vegetable scraps, don’t cover the entire bedding.
  • Add more fruit and vegetable scraps only when the worms have worked through the previous scraps.
  • You can also add small amounts of paper, cardboard and eggshells.
  • Keep the worm farm slightly damp at all times. Use the damp hessian sack or tshirt to cover the scraps and worms.
  • Once the worm farm tray is full, remove the material, leaving mainly only worms, and use this on your garden or mix with regular soil as potting mix.
  • You can also collect worm juice via the tap or tray at the bottom of the worm farm and dilute this with water to use as a fertiliser on your garden.
  • Make sure you DO NOT add the following materials and items to your worm farm:
    • Meat, fish or dairy
    • Onion or garlic
    • Chilli
    • Citrus fruits
    • Oils and fats
    • Garden clippings
    • Animal droppings
For more information and a video tutorial on how to make your own worm farm, visit our Compost and Organic Waste page.

Threatened Species Profile

Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion

The Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion is listed as an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) in NSW and is considered Critically Endangered by the Commonwealth. It is an endemic vegetation community to the Illawarra, meaning that it is only found in this area.

This vegetation community ranges across Wollongong, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Kiama, and is mainly found in the area between Albion Park and Gerringong, Berkeley Hills and along the lower sections of the Illawarra escarpment. There is the potential for this community to occur in other locations in the Sydney Basin bioregion. It is generally found growing on high-nutrient coastal volcanic soils.

The Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest community is characterised by a number of tree species such as Brush Bloodwood (Baloghia inophylla), Flame Tree (Brachychiton acerifolius), Giant Stinging Tree (Dendocnide excelsa), Native Tamarind (Diploglottis australis), Ficus spp., Brown Beech (Pennantia cunninghamii) and Red Cedar (Toona ciliata). Eucalyptus, Syncarpia and Acacia species can also be found in this community. The Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest has a relatively closed canopy, but this can be more open if sections are highly disturbed. The height of the canopy is highly variable.

This vegetation community faces a number of threats, including:
  • Loss, degradation and fragmentation of habitat
  • Impacts from agriculture such as vegetation clearing and stock grazing and trampling
  • Risk from fire
  • Invasive species such as weeds and feral herbivores
  • Changes to hydrological processes
  • Residential development and hard rock quarrying
  • Illegal rubbish dumping
  • Unsuitable land management methods
  • Need for greater knowledge on the distribution of the EEC over different land ownership and on conservation opportunities
For more information, check out the NSW Government’s profile and Wollongong City Council’s brochure on Endangered Ecological Communities.

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