The Final Post: Reflection

This is it! The end of our production. But for me personally this is a whole new beginning!

Every week I am finding myself more and more involved in the community surrounding organic and edible gardening and I will certainly continue to adapt this lifestyle. This has been more than a 12 week journey for me, this is a new beginning and I now aim to influence others into becoming involved in organic gardening. I have already donated some chili plants to my brother and he is looking into growing more things himself.

Challenges and achievements:

The biggest challenge that we have faced would have to be arranging interviews with organizations and individuals. Many groups weren’t very interested or just didn’t respond or get back to us at all. These groups were obviously only interested in doing their own thing and this was disheartening as this wasn’t what we expected from the community that we were reaching out to.

Looking back though, I am glad that things didn’t work out with the initial, commercial companies and organisations. Our biggest challenge effectively led to our greatest achievement: finding Geelong’s community of organic gardeners.

There were a few groups that we came across such as Geelong Organic Gardeners but this group was just a small part of the growing edible gardening/ organic growing/permaculture/self sustainable community.

In terms of the project itself I believe we managed our time and workloads quite well and this has helped us complete everything to our own satisfaction and on time, nothing has been rushed or unplanned.
Cloverdale_21-09-13_001

This is the link to our final website from which all of our documentary content can be accessed:
http://www.organictronic.host56.com/

And finally, here is my reflection video where I briefly analyse our challenges and achievements during this production

Week 12

In my own garden FINALLY my chili are coming through which is awesome! I also transplanted some lettuce seedlings that I got from a food swap recently but strong winds and one very hot day killed most of these young plants. Anyway here are the chili:
DSCN1334 DSCN1336

Now that the weather is finally heating up my in ground garden bed has had some action. Some unexpected action too! I had included many vegetable scraps in my compost including potato peels. I have been adding compost to my garden bed and a few potato plants have popped up! See below
DSCN1338 DSCN1339

In terms of the production itself everything is falling in place now. We have the website to finish, the final video to finish editing and we need to keep active on the twitter account and finalize the photobucket slideshows…

Click here to view our slideshows
Click here to see the website
Click here to see our tutorials

I myself am often attending food swaps and the magic meadows farmers market. One key lesson that I have learned from all of this is that not only can eating and growing organic food be surprisingly cheap and easy, but there is a massive community surrounding the idea of an organic and sustainable lifestyle and the more you look the more you find… this is proven with how many free seeds, seedlings and tips I have been given. Not to mention my new local egg supplier 🙂

Week 11:

As we near the end of our production I am starting to step back and see how much I personally have learned about the organic gardening community and how I have become more involved in it myself – without meaning to do so. I am finding myself attending more food swaps and the local farmers’ market  without the intention of gathering footage or photos for this documentary. I now have become associated with a woman who lives near me who now supplies my eggs. Also, I am receiving a lot of advice when I ask questions on Facebook pages for organic gardener in my area. Some of these pages are as follows;

Geelong Seed & Plant Swap
Geelong swap and sell natural produce
Geelong Organic Gardens.

In terms of the production itself everything is falling together smoothly now. I believe this is due to how much effort we put into the earlier stages of pre-production. Ironically this is much like what we have discovered with organic gardening, where a little bit of planning and effort earlier on saves a lot of work in the long run. Also we have received a lot of views on our tutorials (over 1,000 already!) and gained some followers on both our twitter account and instructables.

We now need to finalize the website, keep up the blogging and twitter feeds, put some final tutorials together on our Instructables page  and edit the interview footage.

Mind the pun but everything is getting exciting now and we are starting to enjoy the fruits of our labour.

I can’t wait for the final product!

Week 10: The end is nigh

Okay so this week I attended a food swap and went to a private farmer’s market type farm. At the swap I took Lemons, Chives and some spare chili seedlings (that I grew from cuttings in water that sprouted roots) and I obtained:

– Pumpkin
– 6 Organic home-grown Eggs
– A Mustard Seedling
– An Artichoke
– A large seedling Tray of lettuce seedlings
– A bottle of cooking oil with chilies in it
– Some silverbeet

I then took the remaining lemons that I had to the local private farmers market called Magic Meadows. There I obtained:

– 2 strawberry seedlings
– 2 Zucchini seedlings
– 1 Black Cherry seedling
– An Artichoke seedling

This was really exciting in exchange for less than 10 minutes of picking lemons from my tree.

Anyway in regards to the website we are drawing closer to the final design and I have put together all of the content for a second instructables tutorial. The new tutorial is about transplanting seen on the organictronic instructables page at:

http://www.instructables.com/member/Organictronic/

And here is a picture of the final result of my seedling transplanting. My garden bed is really coming alive now

DSCN1328

 

Week 9

Okay so this has been quite an exciting week. Everything is starting to come together and the warm weather has boosted the growth of our own plants! I have a couple of dozen chili bulbs throughout my plants now as well as capsicum ones on my capsicum plants. Plus my Upside-down tomato plant is flowering and my cucumber seeds have now germinated.

Most importantly we have completed our first interview and now have plenty of video, audio and photos from the shooting day last Friday. We interviewed Emily Swanson who is a keen organic gardener and who plays a major role in the food swaps around the Geelong area and she both entertained and educated us. She has developed a very sustainable lifestyle where she rarely buys and vegetables. Her garden waters itself whenever her family use the shower or the washing machine. Also, she has designed her garden so that her Chickens play a vital role in clearing areas and turning plants to mulch as well as fertilizing the soil. She rotates her chickens through sections of her yard accordingly. She doesn’t have to weed or water her garden nor does she have any pest issues. She uses natural methods of planting specific plants to attract certain flying insects that fend off pests.

int_01
(Emily Swanson showing us her edible flowers, they were YUMMY!)

Also this week we have taken a step back and looked at our own progression and current stage in production. We are both working on post-production and pre-production at the moment. In the sense of post-production we are organizing our content, developing our website and preparing both our slideshow images and ‘Instructables’ tutorials.

Below is a screen capture of me organizing images and text content in preparation for the ‘Instructables’ tutorials:

instruct

Week 8

Getting more into the production stages of our project we have set our website up at http://www.organictronic.host56.com/ and we have mapped out in our shared dropbox folder the sitemap design of the website. We now know exactly what is going where in the website and are collecting content. It will just be a matter of putting it all together from now onward!

Also we have organised an interview with an organic gardener on Friday, Emily Swanson. We believe she has a lot of experience and seemed to know what she was talking about at a recent food swap. I have made two compact compost bins now and I am getting used to how they work and what to use. As they are compact to suit our theme I have gone with the Hot Compost style of composting (see link below).

http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s3301097.htm

 

This style requires the perfect balance of Carbon and Nitrogen to create the ‘Hot’ effect. This gave me a few good shovels worth of top soil in this small container in just 4 weeks! The great thing about this is that it’s easy! Carbon can some from torn up newspapers, shredded paper, cardboard, or dry leaves and nitrogen from vegetable scraps, fruit, grass cuttings and any plant waste.

This shows that there is no excuse not to do it, even if you live in a small apartment in Melbourne all you need is a tub and a balcony! (and probably some plants!).

 

Photo 2-10-2013 6 22 40 pm

 

I have read that using larger tubs and quantities of materials develops a higher level of heat and in effect speeds up the process. I went and obtained two (second-hand) tubs and I have already started to make a compost out of one of them. I will be using the remaining tub to create an Instructables tutorial on how to do this. Not only is composting great for your garden, but it is a great way to recycle and reduce landfill.

1376285_430597643718350_1676190020_n

 

 

Week 7: experimentation

10 Days ago I planted some heirloom tomato seeds. Using the recycled water bottle seedling pots I made earlier I sowed 2 inside and 3 outside. Each pot (I thought) contained 2 seeds.

After 7 days the indoor seedling pots on the window sill had germinated:

Photo 26-09-13 11 40 45 AM

And then after 9 days the outside seeds had germinated:
 DSCN1182

I have shot some video footage comparing the results and this may be included in the final documentary.

 

My compact compost bin is doing well now that I drilled holes in the sides to allow air flow. When I open the lid I can feel the heat! And I am really starting to produce some ‘Black Gold’.

I am getting two more plastic bins tonight that I will be modifying to be compost bins. These will be spatially efficient as well as easy to make and great for the garden.

Speaking of spatially efficient I will also be planting some lettuce in pots this week and perhaps even some radish. Also, I will be shooting some footage on transplanting the tomato seedlings to pots as well as some directly into my garden bed.

We have been making some calls and organizing interviews for late next week with some experts and enthusiasts.

 

 

Week 6

With our document in place and coming into the production stage things are really starting to get exciting. But most exciting of all, our heirloom seeds have arrived!!

I have planted Lettuce and cucumber today and harvested some Beetroot. Now that I have harvested where the old beetroot were I need to work on improving the soil before I go ahead and plant some tomato seedlings. This will start getting easier as I have (Finally) started a compost.
(See Below)

Photo 17-09-13 5 53 09 PM

I have been researching a lot – especially YouTube videos – on what to put in Composts and how to make them.
I have noted a few links below:

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbNxPx5JUtM
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZyox5yLiMU
3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjnVneEfnSM

I will be sowing the heirloom tomato seeds into the seedling pots I made from recycled water bottles. I’ll be doing this tomorrow as I am running out of daylight today.

More importantly we are preparing to attend a fruit swap in Geelong this weekend at Cloverdale Community Center (http://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/directory/item/8cfacb377d1045f.aspx).

Not only will we be swapping excess produce (Lemons, herbs and maybe some chives), but we will be interacting with the organic community in their comfort zone. This will be an ideal opportunity to surround ourselves with people from the community that we are studying so we can learn from the Pros.

 

Photo 17-09-13 5 53 40 PMPhoto 17-09-13 5 06 27 PMPhoto 17-09-13 5 52 47 PMPhoto 10-09-13 3 11 53 PM

Week 5:

Coming up to the production stages we have really started to nail down on the specifics regarding the documentary. One thing we have decided is that we will be attending a harvest swap in Geelong in the coming weeks. (Because Geelong has several each weekend). We will take a large box of lemons as our excess harvest and use them for trading. We are using lemons as I have a large Lemon tree and I have so many lemons that are produced from it that this would really be putting them to good use (see below):
Photo 10-09-13 3 35 00 PM

The swap meets are done on an honesty basis. You leave your excess stock on your table and take some around to other tables, then swap your produce with an equivalent value in another produce. Meanwhile other people do the same for your produce at your own table and we will (hopefully) end up with a wide array of fruits and vegetables.

We have also ordered several packets of heirloom seeds which should arrive this week. We love the idea of sustainability and with truly organic heirloom seeds we can propagate our plants through the seasons. This has been inspired by Geelong Organic Gardeners member, Syama. She has a vegetarian family and hasn’t purchased vegetables in 2 years! This was achieved both through her own large – and very impressive – garden and through attending the produce swap meets.

More information can be found at:

http://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/residents/planning/article/item/8ce62c77d90d9bc.aspx

Week 4:

This week I planted my seedlings. Capsicum, spinach, bok choi, chilli and I planted my tomato seedling in the ‘Topsy Turvy’ upside down tomato planter.

Photo 27-08-13 2 43 29 PM

I have been closely monitoring my plants and in just a few days I have found the best spot to place my potted seedlings. The sealed glass wall and the undercover area shown below work together as a green house climate, this has proven fast growth!Photo 27-08-13 2 43 37 PM

Also, I have been using the idea from Mei’s previous blog post to create small seedling pots. I rinsed the bottles out individually then cut them all in half. I still need to drill a few small holes in the bottom of each for drainage then they will be good to go!Photo 31-08-13 12 07 46 PMPhoto 31-08-13 12 06 05 PMPhoto 31-08-13 12 07 30 PM

We are planning on ordering some heirloom seeds this week from

http://greenharvest.com.au/SeedOrganic/OrganicSeedIndex.html

And these recycled-bottle seedling pots will be perfect for growing some organic seedlings. We all love the idea of propagation and have been researching different propagation and seed harvesting techniques.

Example:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaPre6-bJpc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qv_P3zz2yo