Gardening and DIY

In the garden

Gardening Australia has some great tips on fast growing veggies that you can harvest and eat in 6 weeks.

The Turramurra Lookout Community Garden is also a great place to visit and learn to grow your own plants and vegetables.

Weeds

Find out how to Identify and remove any weeds and keep your green spaces strong and healthy.

Plant for Pollinators

Bees Business have a great list of native plants to include in your garden to attract bees and other pollinators.

Composting and worm farming

Around 45% of the waste in red bins in Ku-ring-gai is food waste. This food waste becomes landfill where it rots to form harmful greenhouse gases.

Food waste material can easily be returned to the soil as rich fertiliser, compost and mulch. Compost improves plant growth, increases soil nutrients and helps plants to resist disease.

Join the Compost Revolution

The Compost Revolution is a free and fun online resource available to Ku-ring-gai residents teaching you the skills of composting and worm-farming.

Complete the online tutorial and the short quiz that follows and you'll be eligible for up to 40% discount on the Compost Revolution worm farms and compost bins.

Your compost bin or worm farms will be delivered to your door for FREE.

More information on composting from our Waste & Recycling Team.

No compost? No worries

ShareWaste provides friendly neighbourhood drop-off points for your organic waste. Recipients will compost them for you (or give them to their chickens or worm farm). Check your suburb now. (Best to wait until social distancing restrictions are lifted to take part in this.)


DIYs at home

Build a terrarium

Create your own mini garden in a bowl with minimal materials to make your living space that little bit more green.


Natural cleaning and toiletries

Use simple household items to create your own luxurious, chemical-free toiletries and cosmetics.

DIY disinfectant spray

Please be aware the COVID-19 advice is to use a cleaner with at least 70% alcohol,

Mix and pour the below into a spray bottle:

  • 1 1/4 cups boiled, cooled water.
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar.
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol).
  • 30-40 drops essential oils – eucalyptus, lemon, lavender or tea tree are all antibacterial.

Also eliminates odors, fights mould and mildew and is antimicrobial. *Don't use on granite or marble.

DIY air freshener/deodoriser

Mix and pour the below into a spray bottle:

  • 3/4 cup boiled, cooled water.
  • 2 tablespoons vodka or rubbing/isopropyl alcohol.
  • 20 drops of essential oil of your choice (lavender, geranium, orange and peppermint are all lovely and antibacterial).

Browse below to create your own products

Body products

Bath bomb fizzies

Natural and perfect fun for kids and adults. If you place a bath bomb at the bottom of a shower, the bicarb and citric acid will also cleanse your shower tiles and smell great!

Recipe

1 cup citric acid.

1 cup bicarb soda.

½ cup cornstarch.

½ cup fractionated coconut oil.

8–10 drops favorite essential oil (try lavender, eucalyptus or peppermint).

Place citric acid, baking soda, cornstarch, and oil in a bowl. Add essential oils of choice. Mix well with until soft dough is formed. It should have the consistency of damp sand. Note: If mixture is too wet, add a little more bicarb and cornstarch until consistency is correct. Add food coloring, dried herbs such as lavender flowers, or flowers from the garden to the mixture. Once moisture holds together in your hand without crumbling put straight into small muffin tin or silicone molds. Let sit 24 hours before removing, then pop out and store in airtight container for use within 2 weeks.

Christmas Gingerbread Body Scrub

Ingredients

1/4 cup white sugar.
3/4 cup brown sugar.
1/2-3/4 cup melted coconut oil.
2 tspns cinnamon.
1 tspn vanilla essence.

Method

Mix the sugar and oil to the consistency you want – the less oil you add the more textured your scrub will be. Add in the cinnamon and vanilla and mix together. Spoon into an airtight container or gift jar and tie with twine or ribbon. For other fragrances simply replace the cinnamon and vanilla with your essential oil fragrance of choice (orange & mandarin, peppermint & lavender).

Facial Serum (normal/combination skin)

Massage in a few drops after cleansing and before moisturising at night. The jojoba mimics the skins natural moisture barrier, rosehip reduces scars/pigmentation and lavender soothes and relaxes. (Frankincense and geranium oils are great for dry skin and tea tree for acne-prone skin).

Add all ingredients to a small, amber dropper bottle.

2 tbsn rosehip oil.

2 tbspn jojoba oil.

15 drops lavender or other essential oil (per 56ml).


Get crafty

Beeswax wraps

A great alternative to single-use plastic cling wrap, these can be used to cover bowls of food and wrap vegetables to stay fresh twice as long - plus they are reusable and can easily be washed in soapy water. Why not make your own? Read instructions from One Million Women or purchase from any healthy living store.

Japanese cloth wrapping

Heard of Furoshiki? This Japanese craft eliminates plastic wrapping and bags. It uses fabric of different shapes and patterns to wrap a range of objects for gifts and other reasons.

Learn to knit and keep yourself warm this winter while gaining a valuable skill.

Follow step-by-step instructions here. If you’re unsure about starting from scratch, try looking for starter kits online.


Kids in Nature

Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre

The new Lessons in Nature website provides engaging themed tasks that can be taught in the classroom or at home. Explore the inside of a native bee hive, insects, local birds and the changing seasons according to Indigenous Weather Knowledge.  Activities are curriculum-based and include an offline option.


Junior Landcare

Landcare are providing fun, easy online learning for kids of all ages:

  • 30-minute activities aligned to the school curriculum.
  • Step-by-step instructions with background information.
  • Useful links and resources.
  • Did you know? section with useful tips.

Explore now 


Taronga Zoo

Get up close and personal as Taronga presents live chats with zoo experts. Get up close and personal with a range of animals and download learning tasks to do at home.


WilderQuest

Jump online and download the National Parks NSW Wilderquest. An adventure game for kids of all ages to discover the world outside with tips, clues and prizes to find.


Backyard Birds

Birdlife Australia have the perfect opportunity to become acquainted with your birdy neighbours. Download the app and track the various birds visiting your garden.


What to plant

Visit Grow me Safely and discover the best plants and learning features for growing kids and what not to plant (toxic). Developed by Kidsafe NSW.


Expand your knowledge

  1. Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA) has some fantastic recommendations on what’s out there in the virtual world including upcoming webinars and workshops.
  2. One Million Women has a great list of Eco films. Getting your environment and sustainability fix is as easy as curling up on the couch with a bowl of popcorn.
  3. The Guardian has suggested books for all ages

  4. Planet Ark has suggestions for webinars and training opportunities to improve your skills, knowledge and understanding of our environment.

  5. ABC Life has some great sustainability stories to inspire you.


Support a local charity

Ku-ring-gai & Hornsby Meals on Wheels is helping deliver meals to those vulnerable communities and could always use your support. You can either donate, or if it is safe for you to do so, volunteer in their kitchens to help deliver this much needed support to those who need it.

OzHarvest is continuing to salvage food and distribute it across Australia. Help support this movement by donating to them today.