Welcome to the Canberra Organic Growers Society web site.  We are a group of gardeners (mainly urban) dedicated to growing our own organic fruit and vegetables, either in backyards or community gardens.  This web site contains information on various practical aspects of organic gardening and is particularly relevant to the Canberra region.  It also contains information about our community gardens, notices of coming events of interest to gardeners and a blog which includes gardening questions and answers.  The web site will be regularly updated so please subscribe to our RSS feed so that you are notified of any significant additions to the site, new events and breaking news.

News and Events

Upcoming events

26 July 2015 02:00 PM
Snakes and snakebite first aid Ross Bennett Spring/summer of 2014/15 seems to have been a particularly favourable year for snakes in the Canberra region, with many of COGS’ community gardeners reporting sighting them in and around their plots. Ross Bennett will fill us in on the types of snakes you are likely to see in your area, their characteristic behaviours and what to do if you or a fellow-gardener is bitten. Ross Bennett has had a lifelong passion for wildlife with an overriding interest in reptiles. His parents and five brothers survived Ross's childhood in Melbourne despite his ever-growing collection of turtles, lizards, crocodiles, snakes and frogs that threatened to take over the family home. A determination to learn about their life histories, to protect their habitats, and to generate public awareness of reptiles evolved into a career, initially with the Victorian National Parks Service and later with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service. His work in the Canberra region has been complimented by research programs as diverse as crocodile-catching in Kakadu and sexing giant black tiger snakes in Bass Strait. His book, Reptiles & frogs of the Australian Capital Territory and the establishment of the Australian Reptile Centre Canberra in 1998, are tributes to Ross's commitment to bringing the ACT community closer to its reptile and frog fauna. Note: This presentation will be at 2.00pm on Sunday 26 July 2015

23 August 2015 02:00 PM
Healthy Soil—Healthy Food—Healthy People Dr Maarten Stapper COGS—why are we organic? What is organic? What are the roles of compost and soil carbon? How do we generate and maintain healthy soils for healthy food? Soils are the foundation of life on earth and continuous use of synthetic fertilisers and chemicals affects life in the soil, reduces plant health and lowers food quality. A healthy, living soil is self-organising and optimises plant growth by making plants more resistant to diseases and insects, and less susceptible to environmental conditions, while achieving higher nutrient density produce. Maarten will mention some products he is using to support this process. Maarten will also talk about the reasons behind the continued lack of acceptance that organic food is healthier. Organic food is produced in complex biological systems characterised by symbiosis, interdependence, and resulting in synergies which are difficult to quantify with current scientific methodologies. However, more and more scientific evidence is being published. An important skill gardeners, farmers, consumers and scientists need to (re)develop and use is the capacity to be bio-sensitive—that is, to trust nature and to be in tune with and respectful of the processes of life; developing that ‘green thumb’ or having a ‘gut feeling’. Dr. Stapper is a farming systems agronomist who's main focus is helping farmers improve the profitability of their operations by harnessing the power of natural healthy soil processes. Maarten believies that by improving the use of inputs and understanding those practices that negatively impact on soil health farmers can have a positive impact on their land and production. Note: This presentation will be at 2.00pm on Sunday 23 August 2015

Majura Community Centre

Other activities

Organic Gardening for Beginners at CIT Solutions, run by an experienced COGS member (a course fee applies).

The next course will start Semester 1 2015. Each course runs for four sessions of 3 hours each.  Course details and on-line enrolment is available at http://www.shortcourses.cit.edu.au/categories/list.html?page=1%26SubcategoryID=35

Composting and Worm Farms

The next Composting and Worm farming workshop will be held in conjunction with CIT Solutions on 8 November 2014.  Each workshop will be 3 hours (1:30 to 4:30pm).  Workshop details and on-line enrolment are available at  http://www.shortcourses.cit.edu.au/categories/list.html?page=1%26SubcategoryID=35 .  A workshop fee applies.

Organic Pest and Disease Management for Home Gardeners

The next workshop will start on 3 September 2014.  It will provide practical information to enable participants to deal with common pests and diseases encountered in the home garden using organic methods. The main focus will be on pests and diseases of fruit and vegetables in Canberra, but these same techniques are also applicable to ornamental plants. The workshop will consist of three sessions of two hours each.  http://www.shortcourses.cit.edu.au/categories/list.html?page=3%26SubcategoryID=35 .  A workshop fee applies.

Soil, Potting Mixes and Watering Systems for Home Gardeners

The next workshop is scheduled to start on 13 September 2014. There will be two sessions of two and a half hours each. Learn about managing soil for optimal fertility in growing fruit and vegetables using organic principles. Participants are asked to bring samples of their own garden soil for testing. For those growing fruit and vegetables in pots and planter boxes, potting mixes will also be discussed. Advice will be provided on setting up efficient watering systems for the fruit and vegetable garden. To enrol go to http://www.shortcourses.cit.edu.au/categories/list.html?page=3%26SubcategoryID=35. A workshop fee applies.

Introduction to Horticulture

The next workshop is scheduled to start on 22 October 2014. There will be six sessions of two and a half hours each. If you are interested in growing plants and landscaping or want to know more about the best plants for a Canberra climate, then this course is sure to inspire your green thumb. The course offers a taste of what it is like to be a professional horticulturalist. To enrol go to http://www.shortcourses.cit.edu.au/categories/list.html?page=2%26SubcategoryID=35. A workshop fee applies.

Courtyards and Balcony Gardens

The next workshops will be on 9 September and 18 October 2014.  It will provide practical information on building and maintaining balcony and courtyard gardens using organic methods. The workshop will consist of one session of three hours. http://www.shortcourses.cit.edu.au/categories/list.html?page=2%26SubcategoryID=35.  A workshop fee applies.

Compostable Material Available from Tuggeranong Hyperdome

The Tuggeranong Hyperdome has a variety of organic waste available for composting or worm farms including waste from Fresh Life the fruit market, waste from the Food court, coffee grinds, serviettes, some cooked meats.
They would prefer these waste products did not go to the tip.  To access these compostable materials for your compost heap or worms please contact Wayne Hudson on 6293 1000 or email Wayne_Hudson(at)cfsgam.com.au.

The Energy Smart Workshop for ACT Homeowners.

This is a FREE workshop being delivered throughout ACT Libraries. Workshops and places are limited. The workshop runs for 40 minutes per session or 2 hours total and covers
(1) Home Improvements: discover how to make your home more comfortable and less expensive to run;
(2) Energy Consumption: bring along your energy bills and take the guess-work out of your usage; and
(3) Energy Smart Actions: discover free and simple actions that save you money and suit your household.

Take home workbook included packed full of activities, information and options. Prepare for winter today. For session times, refer to www.sustainact.com. Book Mon-Thurs by phoning 6248 0885 or email energysmart@sustainact.com