Event wrap-up: WA YWPs – Site Tour & Networking Sundowner at Perth City Farm
8 December 2017
Written by Vivien Claughton and Carrie Hopkirk
The WA Young Water Professionals (YWP) sub-committee celebrated the end of 2017 with a final social event incorporating a networking sundowner and water sustainability tour of Perth City Farm on 8 December. Approximately 25 Australian Water Association members and non-members came together to learn more about how Perth City Farm deal with the complexities of managing a farm within the urban landscape to provide a range of social benefits using ethical and sustainable practices, based on the PEACE acronym - Permaculture, Education, Arts, Community and Enterprise.
The afternoon started with a casual networking sundowner before the group was taken on a tour around the farm when the temperature cooled. The tour was guided by the incredibly knowledgeable City Farm agriculturalist, Harry who demonstrated how permaculture principles can be applied to home scale and commercial gardens to minimise impacts on the environment while still producing quality organic produce.
Some interesting facts that were learnt:
- City farm estimates that approximately 400 m2 of garden is required to produce enough carbohydrates, nutrients, minerals and carbon to feed one person for a year while maintaining soil quality.
- Soil amendments (clays, organics) should be applied to garden beds in sandy soils to improve the water retention within the bed, resulting in a decreased irrigation requirement. Using too much mulch without clays can make it harder to achieve the right soil moisture and nutrient balance for plants.
- In sandy soils drip irrigation can result in roots growing directly downwards rather than spreading laterally, multiple drip lines may be required to encourage roots to spread. If crops are planted very densely, spray irrigation can be a water efficient choice for dense plantings where a cooler microclimate is created underneath the crop canopy.
The YWP committee thanks Perth City Farm and all who attended.