About Kat Szuminska

designer, educator, gardener, activist, creative problem solver katoombastreetpermaculture.com, mattandkat.com, openaustraliafoundation.org, bluemountainscommunitygardens.org

Friday January 16th: Free Workshop: Learn to Identify Native Bees

Bee Symposium Invite - Jan

Bee Aware of Your Native Bees project finishes with a terrific opportunity to learn to identify native bees.

There will be an ID session held at each of the project sites next week.
This is the final site-related activity conducted during the project. If you can’t make it to the date at the Community Gardens there are alternative sessions around the mountains and Western Sydney region.

Sessions are as follows;

Mamre House, 181 Orchard Hills, 9am on Tuesday the 13th of January.

Australiana Pioneer Village, Rose Street, Wilberforce, 10am Wednesday 14th
of January.

Eskbank House, Cnr. Inch Street & Bennett Street, Lithgow, 9am on Thursday
the 15th of January.

Blue Mountains Organic Community Garden, Harold Hodgson Park, 10 Victoria
Street, Katoomba, 9am on Friday the 16th of January.

(Please note that there may not be toilet facilities as volunteers on site here are on holiday!).

John Irving Park Community Garden, 4 Jordan Street, Rosehill, 10am on
Saturday the 17th of January.

All are welcome, there is no fee. Please bring your cameras and a clean jar to catch some bugs. Site managers will need to ensure the ID kits are available for the day (including the pre frozen ice packs).

but wait … there’s more!
 Wednesday the 18th of February, 2015: Australian Native Bee Symposium

As part of the Bee Aware of Your Native Bees project, the University of Western Sydney and Bees Business will be holding an Australian Native Bee Symposium. This is funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and will be hosted at the UWS Hawkesbury campus on Wednesday the 18th of February, 2015. This event is free.

Check out the Bee Aware of Your Native Bees Symposium – presentations

To book your place at the symposium please use this form to contact the UWS Office of
Sustainability at You should get confirmation of
your booking within a couple of days.

You can find all the information on the project activities at UWS Bee Aware

Upcoming Events: Sunday 14th December

Come celebrate summer and the delight of sharing gifts you craft yourself

Join Blue Mountains Organic Community Gardens, Permaculture, Transition groups

Bring some food to share for lunch. While you’re here, try your hand at random weaving a basket with willow we’ll harvest on site. You can also have a go at making kombucha drinks or even learn how to make a power tower (and why you might want one) for your garden.

Bring lunch to share, along with your excess fruit, seeds, cuttings, plants, tibicos, scobys, sourdough starters, herbs, recipes, preserves to swap and/or share!

If you know how to make a simple gift from natural or recycled materials, or just want to hang out for a Seasonal Celebration: come along to the Gardens on Victoria St Katoomba – All are Welcome. Sunday Dec 14th 11am until 2pm.

Not feeling that crafty, or have a heap of gifts to organise? If you love our carved china teacups and handmade serving dishes, bring some cash along for a rare opportunity to Sian’s Seasonal Sale of gorgeous ceramics either side of our session. Designed, thrown carved and painted at her studio. Open 10am-4pm Sunday December 14th.



Bush Tucker Gardens Grand Opening Tomorrow Thursday 7th November

The Aboriginal Culture & Resource Centre invites you to the official opening of the Katoomba Bush Tucker Garden – unveiling locally designed interpretive signs.

Come and help celebrate this wonderful achievement at the Harold Hodgson Reserve (Community Gardens), Victoria St North Katoomba, at 11:00am Friday the 7th of November, 2014. RSVP essential  Call Paul 0448 025 061

Spring In the gardens:making free fertiliser




Weeding does not quite become a delight today, but it is much less of a chore when i know the weeds are going into a weed tea. This super simple technique makes free fertiliser from many of the plants you dont want.

grab a bucket with a lid, very important, we’re going to starve the weeds we pull of oxygen. Today I pull up heaps of forgetmenots, as well as some greater celendine. They’re pretty but form a solid monoculture quite quickly if left unchecked we could have forgetmenots and nothing else. Some seedheads have formed on these already so I’m careful to pick these off my tshirt before I’m done.

Comfrey is having a huge growth spurt, and its soft downy leaves break down very quickly. I grab outer layers of leaves from a few of our bocking 14 comfrey plants leaving the flowers and younger leaves to carry on growing.

We have a little yarrow, I pull a few fronds of this too, it grows back very quickly and is also part of a well loved group of plants known as compost activators, along with comfrey and nettle. We don’t have an established nettle patch yet, so no nettle in todays brew. Another group has been pulling out dandelion, a plant we love for salads but its so prolific that its easy to have too much in the garden. My eyes light up when I see this on in the barrow. Dandelion is a dynamic accumulator which means it has been building up with nutrients, typically high in phosphorus and calcium, the former helps flowers form and fruit set, while the latter is essential for growing brassicas like cabbages and kale. So in it goes.

I push down weeds deep into the bucket. They come about 2/3 way up a 20L food bucket. Next water, from one of our rainwater tanks. this water has no chlorine, so we wont be interfering with the microbes whose job it is to break down our plant materials. The bucket’s quite heavy by now, so before i fill it any further i move it to where it will sit for a few weeks. I give it a good stir to loosen any air pockets. This process relies on keeping the plants underwater. An oxygen supply might help roots stay alive or even grow.
Because I’m not planning to leave this weed tea for very long, I don’t add the greater celandine. Its roots are quite resilient and thick, and I don’t want to take the chance it might resprout. Once in the shed, I close the lid tight, and on it I write the date and ingredients.

i’ll check back in a couple of weeks to see how it’s going.


And here are the gorgeous blossoms of one of our Medlar trees in full bloom just now.