Leaky drains, stink bugs and fun with dirt on our hands

Rosie and Nigel, who came on the first Urban Farm Working Tour at Sydney’s Sustainable House last Saturday, have kindly sent these photos and questions in.

Firstly, the photos.

Digging trench beside path for leaky drain


Cutting the agricultural pipe to fit the length of the trench; note the geofabric covering the pipe

One length of leaky drain runs beside path edge and directs rain water to either side and also to drain at the T-section

We also pruned a Tahitian Lime on the  road garden then put compost over the prunings.

Compost before being spread over the fruit tree prunings

Finally, after we’d worked up a healthy sweat on the 35 degree plus day Karlie took a shot of Rosie, Nigel and me all aglow from our labours.

Me (Michael), Rosie, Nigel

There are drawings and photos showing how to install a leaky drain in my book, Sustainable House.


Secondly, the questions:

“Hi Michael – a very big thank you for a great morning of leaky drains, stink bugs, espaliering, bees, vertical gardens and all things to make the heart sing.  We loved our time with you.  here are the photos as promised and I have thrown in one of our earth oven to encourage you to visit us at Laguna one day. Maybe you could join us for a cook up with one of the the Youth Food network weekends.

I mentioned some questions and I think one of the biggest is to help allay people fears especially around regulations and councils. We have done it both ways and regret now getting council involved up in the bush. But many won’t do illegal things. A hard one. As you said – trying to take council with you involves years often and we don’;t have that time to waste.
Last thing – do you have any recommendations for  green plumbers in eastern suburbs area?  We are about to do a bathroom reno in Bondi.

Warm wishes   Rosie
PS   I will make a stink bug juice and let you know the outcome!!!”


Rosie, great questions and my answers are:

- getting Council approval; we don’t have time to get formal approvals; the ice is going, the weather is broken and we need to show leadership; do it, do it well, and then get the media and your neighbours support – and only then invite your Mayor and councillors out to show them, with pride, how you’re loving our lovely Earth back to health;  stand tall, be proud of your passion, know you’re doing the right thing and no council will sue or punish you – the roads are our land, held on trust for us by council and all we’re doing, with care and thought, is improving what’s outside our place.

- details, examples, precedents where councils are approving road gardens are in my book, Sustainable Food – use it’s examples to convince yourelf, your councillors, mayor and the media that we citizens are entitled to act now, today, to protec Earth from pollution otherwise caused by sterile, hostile, polluting road designs which we overcome with road gardens

- build your road garden at Bondi and stand tall


I’ll email you separately suggesting some green plumbers for Bondi.

And I’ll try to arrange a video of how to install a leaky drain using the next working tour.

You were terrific first-timers on my inaugural working urban farm tour and I was lucky to have you walk in the door; go you good gardeners!


One Response to “Leaky drains, stink bugs and fun with dirt on our hands”
  1. ibika says:

    thanks for sharing..

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  • Michael Mobbs

    Michael is a former Environmental Lawyer who is uniquely placed to consult in four main areas:

    • Sustainability Coach and Speaker,
    • Sustainable Urban Farm Design greening, watering and cooling the cityscape, roads, parks, suburbs,
    • Major Projects Consultant Commercial and Industrial,
    • Residential Sustainability Consultant.
    For permission to re-print any articles or to book Michael for a speaking engagement go to Contacts. Please ensure all quotes from Michael's blog include a reference to sustainablehouse.com....au.