Growing your own natives

Ever wanted to grow your own native plants? Do you know how to tell a healthy, viable seed from an unhealthy one, when is the best time to sow, and how to give your newly emerged seedlings the best conditions to ensure success?

Watershed Landcare will be hosting a seed collection and propagation workshop on Sunday 6 May and have invited local ecologist, David Allworth, and local botanist, Christine McRae, to share their extensive knowledge on the subject.

“Collecting your own seed and growing the plants yourself for either re-vegetation projects, farm windbreaks and shade trees, or the home garden can be extremely satisfying. The ultimate DIY project that will outlast a lifetime.” said Ms McRae.

“The purchase of seed to grow native plants is relatively low cost. However, collecting your own seed from close proximity to where it will be used can add to the survival rate of the plants.” she continued.

The reason for this is that local plants are more suited to the local environment. They would have evolved over time to cope with environmental variables such as rainfall patterns, frosts, winter and summer extremes, soil types and landscape position. Provenance is a term meant to describe the origin of a seed source. Local provenance equates to genetic adaptation to local environmental conditions.

“Another good reason to collect your own seeds is that there are many native plant species out there and commercial suppliers will not be able to supply everything when required, if at all. Growing your own local native species is the best way to aid their survival.” said Ms McRae.

The workshop will cover basic identification features of some commonly found local plant species; why collecting locally is best; safety, permission, timing, methods, storing collected material; equipment and processing of collected material; methods and materials for propagation and the best time to sow seed.

Workshop participants with gain knowledge and skills to select for viable seed, ensure successful germination and give seedlings the best start.

The seed collection and propagation workshop will be held from 9am to 12 noon on Sunday 6 May at the Straw Bale Shed, AREC. The workshop is free to attend with morning tea and lunch provided.

All welcome. For more information or to book your spot please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Michael King and Landcare Australia.

Are we going to drown in waste or plan for the future?

Over the last three decades the bin with the yellow lid has become a common sight in the streets of our towns and suburbs. After the introduction of kerbside recycling in the 80’s and 90’s, it took some training but Australian households have become pretty good at separating trash from recoverable materials.

According to the latest national waste report, we generated 64 million tonnes of waste in 2014-15, that’s 2.7 tonnes each! But we did recycle 60% of that.

That means waste streams such as paper, various types of plastic, glass, aluminium and steel aren’t ending up in landfill and recycling produces less greenhouse gas emissions and uses less raw resources.

With the decline of manufacturing and reprocessing industries in Australia, we have been relying more and more on exporting our recyclable material overseas.

Up until last year China was the world’s largest importer of recyclable material, and for the last 10-15 years we have been shipping our recyclable waste there for sorting and reprocessing. In mid 2017 China announced a ban on 24 categories of solid waste to protect their environment and public health.

This has had major repercussions for the recycling industry globally, with prices paid for recyclable material greatly reduced and access to markets diminished. Cheap prices for virgin plastics and metals have also shrunk the margin out of recycling and reprocessing, with the cost of obtaining recyclables often more expensive than buying virgin materials. Some waste streams are even being stockpiled as they are currently unsaleable.

With China no longer buying our reusable material, picking up recycling bins from the roadside is no longer the profitable business it once was.

At this stage there’s no sign of the yellow lidded bin disappearing from our kerbsides but the Australian recycling industry is certainly facing some challenges. But there is also an opportunity here, not only to close the recycling loop by establishing new onshore recycling facilities and developing novel, innovative uses for these waste streams but also to have a national discussion about the waste we generate and how we deal with it.

For more information on what your council does with your recycling and how they plan to limit the landfill visit