Issue 80
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Welcome to Sustainable Wollongong April Issue 80

This month's newsletter includes the following articles:

  • Grow Local: Pest and Disease Management

  • Wollongong Online Farmers Market

  • Poem Forest

  • International Compost Week Means its Time for a Garden Party

  • Flies Around Your FOGO?

  • Did You Know? How to Make A Worm Farm

  • Sustainable Fashion: Enviro-Friendly Winter Wardrobe
  • Threatened Species Profile: Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest 

Feel free to forward this newsletter on to interested friends and family.

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

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, Grape.
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, Lettuce.
HERBS: Coriander, Dill, Parsley, Chives, Mint.
Prune Now
FRUIT: Fig, Olive.

Wollongong Online Farmers Market

We are here! Wollongong Online Farmers Market provides an additional pathway to grow a more resilient, sustainable and local food economy TOGETHER for Our Community, Our Producers, Our Environment. 

This non-profit initiative by Healthy Cities Illawarra and Food Fairness Illawarra is here to be your weekly click and collect for local and sustainable food. Fill your cart with goods from over 20 local producers and collect the following Thursday from our Fairy Meadow hub. 

Note: Due to the recent extreme weather conditions, some of our producers have experienced significant damage to their farms which means we have limited fresh produce until they have re-established and grown mature crops. 

Despite all the challenges, we are determined to launch the Wollongong Online Farmers Market. At times like these, it's only by coming together, that we can support our local community. 

Together with our producers and volunteers, we look forward to growing a resilient, sustainable and local food economy with you. 

Poem Forest

Wollongong City Council is proud to be partnering with Red Room Poetry to bring POEM FOREST to local students and help grow Wollongong’s urban forest!

 Local prizes for Wollongong entries include:
  • $500 cash
  • $100 book pack
  • $50 Greenplan voucher
  • Excursion at Wollongong Botanic Garden
  • Free plants from Greenplan Nursery
To get involved all you have to is be a local student, write a poem and plant a tree.
Find out more > POEM FOREST

International Compost Week Means It's Time for a Garden Party

Wollongong City Council is celebrating International Compost Awareness week and you are invited. We have four ways to help you celebrate.

1/ Free Composting workshop - where participants will learn how to compost, maintain, do’s and don’ts as well as how to use compost on your garden. Best of all, residents of the Wollongong Local Government area who attend the workshop will be given a compost bin*.
*Terms and conditions to be met.

When: Wednesday 4th of May
Where: Wollongong Library upstairs in the Learning Lab
Time: 6pm-8pm 
Cost: Free 

2/ Kiss the Ground movie screening at Dapto Ribbonwood Centre. Discover the healing power of soil which could offer a solution to the climate crisis. Find out more about local solutions such as our FOGO success, home composting, verge gardens and tiny forests.
When: Friday 6th of May
Where: Kurrajong Hall 1, Dapto Ribbonwood Centre
Time: 7pm-9:30pm
Cost: Free 

3/ Free Worm Farming workshop – where participants learn all about worms as amazing pets, what to feed them, where to keep them and how worm castings can be used to give your garden a boost. Great to get that ‘Garden Party’ started at your place. Also, residents of the Wollongong Local Government area who attend the workshop will be given a worm farm* (worms not included).
*Terms and conditions to be met.

When: Saturday 7th of May
Where: The Laurel Room, Dapto Ribbonwood Centre
Time: 3pm-5pm
Cost: Free 
4/ School Competition
To celebrate International Compost Awareness week, we’re looking for passionate FOGO-ers to -Design a poster* to promote how great FOGO is, and why it’s fantastic for our planet.

Visit - to find out more and to download the competition poster details.

*Your poster must contain the words Grow with FOGO and International Compost Awareness Week, May 1-7, 2022. The best poster design will win a visit to your school from Eton Gorge Theatre Company to present FOGONE CONCLUSION, an environmental play for your whole school to enjoy.  Council’s Green Team will also deliver and install a compost bin and worm farm to help you recycle all your school fruit and vegie scraps. Prize money for the winning student and runner up.

Entries must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 31 May 2022

For more information contact the Councils Green Team on 42277111 or email

Hope to see you at one of our Garden Party events. Remember, Gardeners have the best dirt!

Flies Around Your FOGO?

Some people have been letting us know that they are getting little vinegar flies (fruit flies) around their FOGO caddies and green-lidded FOGO bins. The first thing we ask is when they used to place their food scraps in their kitchen garbage bin, did they also get flies? The answer is often “No”. So, what has changed and what can be done about the flies?

Your kitchen garbage bin was usually lined with a plastic bag and the lid was always on the bin. On top of that, the kitchen garbage bin was emptied frequently.

Flies are attracted to food and moisture. Here are some tips to keep the flies far away from your kitchen caddy and green-lidded FOGO bin:
  • Close it - 
    • Keeping your kitchen caddy lid closed and stored out of direct sunlight will help prevent vinegar flies from entering and stop odour from escaping your caddy. Placing the handle to the front will lock the lid into place.
    • If you do get flies, we’ve been told that a vinegar fly trap can help.  These can be easily made at home using a jar, a cup of apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid.  Leave out until all flies are removed.
  • Line it - 
    • Food waste can be placed loose or wrapped in paper into your green-lidded FOGO bin, but to make it easier Council has provided residents with compostable kitchen caddy liners.
    • The liners supplied are a singlet style to make it easy to tie the bag before placing in the green-lidded FOGO bin.  Take your caddy to the bin to prevent any spillage.
    • Lining the bottom of your caddy with paper towel or sprinkling in some bicarbonate soda will help to absorb liquids and odours.
  • Empty it -         
    • Take your caddy from the kitchen to the bin to prevent any spills when emptying it.  This should be done two or three times per week to prevent the liner from splitting and to reduce flies and odour.
    • Smelly leftovers can be placed in a container or a compostable liner or rolled in newspaper and placed in the freezer until bin night.  This will also reduce flies and odour from your kitchen caddy and the green-lidded FOGO bin. 
    • After emptying, give your kitchen caddy a regular wash and clean in warm soapy water. 
  • Place it -
    • To prevent your food waste and FOGO from heating up and sweating, store your caddy out of direct sunlight and, if possible, store your green-lidded FOGO bin in the shade in a well-ventilated location. 
    • Make sure your food waste is layered with garden waste in your green-lidded FOGO bin.  Mixing your food waste with garden waste will help minimise flies and odour in your green-lidded FOGO bin.
  • Kerb it –           
    • Place your green-lidded FOGO bin out on the kerb for collection every week, no matter how full it is.
    • Every small amount of food waste which is converted into compost makes a big difference by reducing the amount of decomposable waste that is going to landfill.  This is turn reduces the amount of landfill gases including methane that is emitted to the atmosphere from the disposal of waste.  This helps to reduce the impacts of climate change on our community.
Remember, if the caddy doesn’t work for you, it is about finding a container with a fitted lid that can hold onto your food waste. It is just holding the compostables until you can empty it into the green lidded FOGO bin.

By using FOGO, you are helping the environment and as a community, we are making a difference.

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.

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 it 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.

Threatened Species Profile

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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