Learning Sustainable Living

Bloomfield's Farm

Tamborine’s Sustainable Gardeners Society Visit Bloomfield’s 5 Acre Urban Farm

Bloomfield's Farm
TSGS President Allan Tucker with Doreen and Jamie from Bloomfield’s Farm

Located at Jimboomba, Bloomfield’s Farm was the venue for the July meeting of the Tamborine Sustainable Gardeners Society Inc. Bloomfield’s host, Doreen Jackman had previously given a presentation to the society at a meeting earlier this year, and as her talk was of such interest, members were keen to see for themselves how sustainability was managed at their
homestead farm – a 5 acre ‘land for wildlife’ urban property.

But first, with the minutes of the meeting in hand, all general business discussed – cue yet another Doreen – author Doreen Wendt-Weir. Ninety-three year old Doreen held the almost 100 strong crowd enthralled with tales from her latest book ‘Gardening in your Nineties’. Containing photos taken on an old-time box brownie camera, the book recalls Doreen’s travels
and reminiscences, garden pitfalls and her love of compost, rectifying bad planning and some of her favourite simple recipes.

Whilst still slowly recovering from a lengthy illness, Doreen has managed to complete her book and still involve herself with the Garden Society. An inspirational example of staying engaged in our later years, Doreen’s talk was thoroughly enjoyed by all and capped off with personal book signings.

Tamborine Sustainable Gardeners Society enjoying Doreen and Jamie’s talk

Break for morning tea, “Me and the boys know not to have breakfast on these days!” Bill, a society member, confided, and he knows a thing or two about bulk foods, but too late, this filly had already bolted down a nose bag of oats – how was I to know that a Sustainable Morning Tea would be so lavish? Five stars to all who brought a plate to share – those ginger cookies were to die for!

Moving to the main event – a ‘Tour Of The Farm’. Run by Doreen Jackman and partner Jamie, Bloomfield’s Homestead is now a 5 acre permaculture garden. Doreen grew up in communist Germany where a home food garden was the norm and growing your own food was part of the school curriculum. Having studied horticulture and soil sciences, Doreen travelled to Australia as a backpacker and stayed. Jamie, meanwhile, spoke of a poorer childhood where food was scarce, hence a mindful focus on getting the most out of our food – and life.

Moving to this average lifestyle block in Jimboomba, in 2016, they set about transforming it into the sustainable showcase it is today by paying attention to good design, Hügelkultur practices, copious mulch and succession planting beginning with support and pioneer species. Living in a ‘rain shadow’ zone means water saving is essential. “Slow It … Spread It … Sink It” is the mantra with water saving contours or swales ubiquitous.

With such a large crowd to manage, two groups were formed. Jamie taking one group to see the smoke-curing set up and myself in another group jogging along to keep up with the powerhouse which is Doreen. Our brains nearly exploded with the wealth of knowledge, we sighed in unison with respect for the simple solutions and wondered why none of us had ever thought of the ‘hose clip’ (a simple slice of offcut hose with useful applications).

Doreen and Jamie giving a presentation about their homestead farm

Endearingly insightful – “because when people have an acreage lifestyle block they spend most of their time in the house – yes?” Doreen’s entertaining and engaging commentary kept us all trying to remember every detail for later use – composting, pioneer planting, silt traps, permablitz! How to obtain free overflow/castoff veges for animal food, tons of free mulch – yes please! – do-it-yourself potting mix and making the most of storm run off water – to name a few!

An announcement that a snap lockdown was about to happen at 4pm that day cut the proceedings somewhat short but further etched the thought in our minds that here lay all the skills required for sustainable life.

An annual membership to the Tamborine Sustainable Gardeners Society Inc costs a mere $25 with perks abound. Check out their website www.tsgs.com.au, and Bloomfield’s Farm Facebook page for more information and upcoming events.

By Sue Jobson (Team Reporter)