A high school teacher has started a business at Fairlight to bring sustainable gardens to balconies.

Shrinking a sustainable garden into a planter box is the idea of St Luke’s Grammar Geography and History Teacher Oliver White. Having established sustainable gardening systems at the Dee Why school, Mr White said he wanted something similar for the balcony of his apartment but could not find it.

Oliver White

Oliver White

“I grew up in Tamworth around farms and agriculture. Coming down here and living in the city I’ve got a deck on our two bedroom apartment. I thought it would be good to have a product that can sit on a balcony and people can grow food on it,” said Mr White.

Mr White wanted to take the principles he was teaching students about sustainable agriculture to allow people who are time or space constrained to have a sustainable garden. He shrunk the principles of sustainable agriculture, composting, vermiculture, water conservation and food production, into the WickWorming planter box.

Food placed into the composting area of the planter box is composted by worms, releasing nutrients into the soil and water reservoir. The watering design harnesses capillary action and saves up to 80 percent of the water used traditionally, also reducing the need to water plants from daily to monthly.

“The worm farm will process about 2-3kg of food waste once the worms are fully established. The average Australian family produces about 7kg a week, so it’s not going to cover everything but something is better than nothing in terms of food waste going into landfill. This is a starting point for families and households to look at composting and worm farming and reducing food waste,” said Mr White.

To get his business up and running, Mr White has launched a crowd funding campaign to seek support and provide special offers to early adopters on the Northern Beaches, with up to $155 off the full price of a planter box. To get the new business started, he is making the WickWorming planter boxes to order.

“I’m making the planter boxes in my garage. My wife and I have just had our first child four months ago, so time is a bit of a juggle. My wife is hopeful the business will take off. She’s an accountant and she’s helping out where she can,” said Mr White.

The new business has four aims:

  1. Encourage people to grow their own food
  2. Promote water awareness and conservation
  3. Encourage household composting to minimise food waste
  4. Provide sustainable solutions to environmental issues

Images: WickWorming