Sustainable Chippendale

A Sustainable Suburb In the Making

Sustainable Chippendale is a community initiative setup to support the Sustainable Streets and Community Plan in Chippendale. If you are passionate about sustainability we'd love you to join us in getting behind this ground breaking project to establish a practical model for sustainable inner city living in Sydney.


By Jessica Tang


The alpine strawberries (Fragaria vesca) are shade-tolerant ornamental edibles with beautiful small white flowers and sweetly flavoured fruits. They are easy to grow and well behaved in the garden. With the help of this instruction you can have this beautiful fruit growing in your own garden!


·      Get the seeds from local Nurseries or online shops.

You may check out the website we bought our seeds from:


·      When and where to sow the seeds?

The alpine strawberries are best planted in early Spring. They can grow in full sun, and in warm areas like Sydney, they also thrive in half day sun and shade. They love the rich, fertile and well-drained soil with consistent moisture.


·      Sowing the seeds in seed bed tray/seeding pot

Placing a sheet of permeable fabric at the bottom of seed bed tray or small seeding pot. This allows the water to drain without losing soil. Fill two-third of the container with fine seed-starting mix and sow seeds 3cm apart and 2cm deep. Keep the container evenly moist but not soggy, and maintain a temperature of approximately 15 Celsius.

·      Feeding and Planting

Feed the seeds evert two weeks. It often takes 2 to 8 weeks for germination. When 3 leaves have appeared, the plants should be planting out into pots in the depth of 10-15cm. Transplant to garden when well grown (approximately 2 months), and spacing plants about 30-60cm apart.

·      Harvesting

It usually takes one year for strawberries to bear fruit. Matured alpine strawberry will form low-growing, leafy plants with the height of 15cm and spread to 50-100cm. They have lovely white or pink flowers, followed by red juicy fruits grown in early spring. Enjoy the fruits of alpine strawberries!


Further instructions on planting from seeds:

Video instructions on growing strawberry plants:

Gennaro’s Italian Risotto with Strawberry & Balsamic:

Cover Image Reference:

Weekly Report 20/09/2016

By Jessica Tang


This week we welcomed our new volunteer, Mia, to give a hand in our community garden. It is happy to see our sustainable ideas and work have been known by more people. Gardening has the magic to bring people together, and thanks to the enthusiastic volunteers, our garden has become healthier and beautiful.


Our weekly task for garden maintenance usually started with removing compost. Compost is essential to our productive garden and it needs regular maintenance. It is made up of leftover fruit and vegetables, papers, barks and leaves. We also chopped the unwanted stems from Fan Palm and Pawpaw to make the compost juice. They need to be augured to get mixed with air and settled in regular temperature in order to decay. During a few weeks the mixture will be decayed and formed the soil texture, which is the nutritional fertilizer for plants. Luckily, the compost on Myrtle Street has become better under the help of volunteer and neighbors.


We also removed the banana tree on the verge garden opposite to Peace Park. Because each pseudo-stem of banana only fruits once, their root system constantly puts our suckers that form new plants to replace the dying part of plants. The extensive root system of the plant keeps spreading and sucking the nutrients, which made it aggressive to the surrounding herbs and trees.


With sharp shovels, secateurs and lots of energy we dug out the mushy roots, trimmed into small pieced and put in the compost bin. It is amazing that plants never give up to survive. It is their nature to take care of themselves as much as possible. In order to make the garden sustainable, we should not only look at individual plants, also we need to make sure the lives in garden are balanced as a group. Thus, it is our job to organise the plants in a productive and healthy way.


Being sustainable is to respect the cycle of life. During this 3-months volunteering, I have seen the strong connections between our life and the life of nature. Living in the city we sometimes ignored this ligament that human being shall always live with nature. Things we did will subsequently impacts every part of the cycle, and it is going to influence ourselves as return. We have to be very responsible and considerable to the decisions we make. The good decisions can be as simple as putting leftover food in compost, harvesting rainwater for drinking, recycling the waste water for irrigation, growing your own food from seeds…Being sustainable will benefit both of nature and us. 

Mia's First Day in Sustainable Chippendale

By Yulan(Mia) Li


As a green hand in gardening, my first time working in Chippendale road garden was absolutely a rich and helpful experience. The skills I learned include watering, pruning, composting.  I also got some knowledge about how to achieve sustainability through gardening.


My first work was watering plants on both side of the road with the help of Jess. We used recycled water(it may also be called ‘greywater’). I learned from Jess that it is the root that needs access to water, not the leaves. Wetting foliage can be a waste of water.


We pruned kaffir lime and comfrey planted on roadside. The key point in pruning trees and shrubs is that always making an angled cut just above and sloping away from a viable bud. In this way we cut some offending branches that have blocked sunlight and take in too much nutrient. Comfrey is a kind of perennial herb and the pruning method is different from that of trees or shrubs. Basically we removed the stems from the comfrey.


Refer to for more information.

Auguring the compost

We moved the stuff in the compost bin on the street to the bins in backyard and aerated them with auger in order to encourage air circulation. The compost system is decaying well. I saw both brown materials such as moistened cardboard, egg containers, dry leaves, as well as green materials such as green leaves, garden clippings, and vegie scraps. They together provide sufficient carbon and nitrogen that are beneficial to balanced compost. It was good to see so many worms in the compost because they accelerate the decay and help function more efficiently.

Refer to and for more information.

Life circle – Turning green waste into composts   

We shredded the fresh green pruning (both limbs and leaves) and broke bulks of banana tree roots into small pieces then added them into compost bins. We soaked the pruning in water and after a few days they will produce a ready-to-use ‘compost tea’ that can be soil conditioner. We add banana tree root into compost bins and stirred well.

Refer to for more information.

Mia and Jess

Weekly Report 20/07/16

By Kathrin Germanous, Christina Gadalla and Bianca Bader

We are doing the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and part of that scheme is community service. For our community service we have been helping Michael Mobbs garden in Chippendale. Today we found out how much privilege we have because we have access to water every day and we learnt that mulch means a lot more to plants than we think.

We started the session by gathering the soil and worms under the hay in the chicken coop which we then mixed with water to make mulch! Then we covered the surroundings of plants with mulch in order to prevent weeds which compete with plants for moisture and nutrients. We also learnt that using organic mulch means there is more organic matter in the soil.  We put the mulch around many plants in an ‘L’ shape in order for the plant to be properly covered.  After that, we had a small photoshoot as you can see in the video below to show what we actually do not just in words. 

Next we had to empty the compost bin and we transported the compost to Michael’s backyard. We learnt that compost can be used again as mulch to be put around trees and shrubs to keep the moisture in and to prevent weeds from growing. The street’s compost bin hadn’t been emptied for only a month but it was already so full, although most of the paraphernalia were old fruits and veggies, there were a few naughty plastic bits inside it!

After we had finished with the compost bin, we got to lay brand new hay for the chickens! They were very happy with our work! Afterward we had to clean Michael’s floor because we had stepped in and out of his house with our muddy shoes way too many times. After we broomed and mopped, Michael challenged our knowledge of world affairs. He asked if we were aware of how many people don’t have access to clean water around the world. He told us to research about it and the results I found were very eye opening. 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water. 37% of those people live in Sub-Saharan Africa. 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related diseases. Half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease. Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. So how can we, knowing all of this take water for granted? We use water for showering, drinking, washing our hands, cleaning the dishes, watering our plants, cleaning the floor and 783 million people can’t even drink it.

At the end of the session, Michael gave us a ‘who gives a crap’ toilet paper roll each and challenged us to make the switch. This brand of toilet paper donates 50% of their profits to wateraid to build toilets in the developing world. This organisation has provided 120,000 people with sanitation access, saved 22,758 trees by selling forest friendly paper products, saved 54 million litres of water by making their products using eco-friendly materials and reduced 4,377 tons of greenhouse gas emission by making products with cleaner processes. 

Overall, every time we come to Michael’s house, we learn something new and it makes us more consciously aware of gardening and of how much privilege we have to live in a country like Australia. We learnt that mulch helps plants to survive, we learnt that compost can be reused for a purpose and we learnt that buying one roll of ‘who gives a crap’ will save lives. 



New garden angels

Last week we got some new lovely and enthusiastic neighbours putting their hands up to help take care of our gardens! Our gardens can't survive without amazing people like these two, so a big thank you to them! See what they have been up to:

Tanaya taking care of a compost bin

Tanaya taking care of a compost bin

Tanaya went out with Michael Mobbs and put compost and mulch on the fruit trees on the southern side of Myrtle st between Pine and Shepherd and took out about half of the compost from the rotating compost bin outside 58 Myrtle st.

While they took out compost from it someone neither of us knew walked up and emptied a bucket of food waste into the bin; so they introduced themselves and shared the pleasure of turning food waste into healthy compost for our road gardens! That is what it is all about!

Tanaya and Vince live in units in Dangar place and took home a glass jar with some mung beans in it to grow so that’s a little bit of food she can grow in their unit! It doesn't matter how small your place is, there is always a way to grow some food, which is great for dinner and will also eventually help grow our little community of bees, lady bugs, etc, all essential for our environment!

Tanaya and Vince have also put their hands up to write some articles for our website, so you will be hearing more from them soon! 

Vince getting papayas from the tree on Myrtle st

Vince getting papayas from the tree on Myrtle st

Students go road gardening

We have had the pleasure to have Kathrin, Bianca and Christina back helping take care of our gardens for their Duke of Edinburgh's award and here is what they had to say about their experience:

"Our findings at the Chippendale Sustainable Garden        


By Kathrin Germanos, Bianca Bader and Christina Gadalla

 As part of our Duke of Ed requirement for service to the community we once again partook in volunteering at the Chippendale Gardens. The main thing which we got out of today is “ not to waste” and how we are easily able to minimise our waste as things which we often don’t realise, can actually be re used in new and different ways. In addition, we also learnt how to prune, and the importance of mulch especially during Autumn. 

The session started off with us trying some mung beans, which we then learnt how to grow from seeds. This was particularly interesting as during the colder months it is harder for plants to grow and thus harder to grow food. The mung bean however is one which we learn could be grown by ourselves to produce food. Furthermore, it is also rich in vitamins and versatile thus can be added to provide extra health benefits to a range of means. Michael’s suggestion being a vegetable slice or salad. 


 Next, we discovered another use of oyster shells, which can be added to compost tea, too improve the quality of the compost. We smashed them up using hammers then added them to the tea and went to pour this onto the garden. This tea is made up of a specific plant and then is left to ferment for a couple of days until it becomes aerobic and is rich is nitrogen ( vital for plant survival). This mixture although was quite stinky, was going to help the plants root systems grow during these months. Especially the root system since above ground level doesn’t usually grow so well during this time. 

The fertiliser was then covered in mulch which was raked up straight from the chicken coop. A mixture of chicken excrement, wormsand straw Michael described it as “gold”. This was then placed once again where we had just put the fertiliser. Around the plants – the main area where the roots extend too. 

 As for skills, we learnt how to use secateurs safely as this is a vital tool used for pruning. Pruning must be done to help the plants healthy as it opens up the plants and allows for more sunlight and air to pass through the middle of the plant. It also helps to reduce sickness and competition on branches as then the plant doesn’t have to supply nutrients to both branches- as consequently both will become weaker. It is much better to cut off the weaker one so the stronger one can become stronger. This overall increases the plants fruit production as well as survival rate. 


 We were able to take turns pruning a couple of plants, which we then covered in straw ( at the base of the plant ). This helps it during Autumn and Winter as it gets colder and it acts as a sort of blanket for the plants. 

 Overall we had a very valuable educational experience, which although at some stages may have been a little challenging, was eye opening. We learnt that even the smallest things can make a difference and that most ordinary things can be saved as re used to stop them from going to landfill. We were able to use these new found skills throughout the day and hopefully are able to harness them for better use in the future. "

Very special volunteers

On the 19/March/2016 we had a visit from Kathrin, Bianca and Christina from Meriden School. The girls are working towards they Duke of Edinburgh Award and decided to volunteer right here with us in Chippendale! Aren't we lucky? 

Plants kindly donated by the council

Plants kindly donated by the council

We also had Sarah who is doing her PHd from RMIT University on "life in sustainable places" coming to garden with us.

They worked really hard to help us plant a bunch of new plants we got given by the Council, we also did some prunning and mulching. Below you can see some pictures of our lovely morning!

Thank you so much girls for giving us your time to make our streets that much nicer!

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