Pay Your Mortgage with Jam

I met a man on the weekend who pays 6 weeks of his mortgage by selling jam from one tree in his garden. Impressive!

I met Jerry Coleby-Williams, ABC Gardening Australia presenter, on Sunday. He makes 900 jars of jam from one Tahitian lime tree in his suburban edible garden (Bellis) which pays for 6 weeks of his mortgage. He also sells seeds, plants and more, plus hosts open days. 

Jerry's Tahitian Lime jam. As well as selling it, he also makes enough to give away as gifts of thanks. I will enjoy this  on some lovely sourdough soon.
I love community gardens. They are great places to be inspired - to learn how to garden and live simply and sustainably.

I was delighted to be invited to be the MC for the 2016 Open Day at Yandina Community Gardens Hundreds of people came to find interesting new ideas, to learn, to see, to taste, to smell, to share, to meet new and old friends. Parliamentary Speaker and local Independent Member of Parliament, Peter Wellington, officially opened the event.

Jerry Coleby-Williams, ABC Gardening Australia presenter, was the main speaker for the day. He talked about many things, but there were a couple of things in particular that impressed me. His jam-making prowess for one (which he attributes to his Nan's instruction - she had a Dig for Victory garden in London). Jerry's garden in Wynnum Brisbane, is somewhat like an old-style mixed market garden from which he creates many products for home use and for sale.

Secondly , I loved Jerry's deep connection with his garden (a diverse edible oasis in suburban Brisbane) and how closely he observes and documents what happens in it.  He set it up to be a demonstration of sustainability - but it has also become a site of scientific interest.  In his garden he has found many new species of insects and he suggests that if we take time to look, we probably have some too.

Exploring the Yandina Community Gardens with Jerry Coleby-Williams - and searching for new bugs.
How great - being discoverers of new species in your own little garden.  Jerry suggests if you don't know what a bug is, take pictures and send it to BowerBird for identification from leading experts associated with Museum Victoria - you never know! The kids are keen to do this as a homeschooling project.

I presented too about my adventures in getting out of the consumer-waste trap and I enjoyed listening to the other speakers including:

Anne Gibson demonstrating how to make microgreens in a reused strawberry tub. I'll write more about these soon.

Elizabeth Fekonia demonstrated ways to use legumes grown in a permaculture garden. This year is the International Year of   Pulses (legumes).

The kids had a great time too. Maia and I found a couple of extra plants for our garden including sweet leaf. They loved the bicycle-powered smoothie maker organised by Living Smart program of the local Council. They also entered into the photographic competition judged by Leonie Shanahan of Edible School Gardens.

There's a great permaculture nursery at the Yandina Community Gardens. We were delighted to find some extra plants to add to our diverse garden.
Maia and Hugh with Living Smart's, Sharon Stott and Council's bike-powered smoothie-maker. I'd love one of these at Crystal Waters!
Maia's 2 photographic entries above - a bee landing on Salvia in our garden, and the emerging flower of Yacon indicating the swelling of the edible roots below. Both Maia and Hugh were proud to enter pictures of their garden in the exhibition.

Congratulations to Michelle, Cristina and to all the amazing volunteers for the beautiful Yandina Community Gardens and making your second open day such a fabulous event! Amazing effort - thank you!!

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