Propagation expert Pete Green talks seeds and sowing

Horticulturist Pete Green hosts a propagation workshop at Combine Street Community Garden.

COMBINE Street Community Garden (CSCG) ran the fourth of its free sustainability workshops on Sunday 7 April despite the 150 mm of rain that fell the day before.

Presenter Pete Green discussed the theory of seed and plant propagation and raising seedlings in the garden.

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Importantly Pete shared and showed techniques for plant regeneration and grafting.

“Not just a green thumb, Pete is very knowledgeable in plant propagation and ran a very informative session,” CSCG President Peter Lewis told News Of The Area.

Pete Green is very much a child of the 1963-86 television show ‘Why is it so?’ hosted by Prof Julius Sumner Miller, who revelled in cool experiments and interesting science.

With over 30 years commercial nursery experience, Pete rejoices in exploring possibilities with growing plants.

Much of his working life has been as a nursery manager in wholesale plant propagation.

Today Pete works with community-based projects, introducing plant growing as therapy for those experiencing mental health and people with disabilities.

Pete ran though the best seed raising mediums, pot sizes or trays best suited for what you’re growing and ways to take softwood and hardwood cuttings and grafts.

“Growing your own food saves you money but saving seeds saves time, money and varieties that have been winners in your garden,” he said.

Now the president of the Combine Street Community Garden, Peter Lewis had his own unique entry into the world of seed saving.

“We bought a second-hand washing machine from Lennox heads years ago and, noticing his veggie garden, we commented on the seller’s beans.

“He told us he’d been growing and saving those seeds for 50 years and they were a tasty, easy to grow variety.

“We labelled those beans ‘washing machine beans’ and have been very happy with them ever since.

“Vegetable seeds sometimes have certain qualities you want to preserve,” said Peter.

“They might be resistant to insect attack or disease or fruit earlier or later or have a superior taste to store bought varieties.

“So apart from saving money you avoid genetically modified crops or plants grown for commercial success but low on taste,” he said.

The Composting Household Waste workshop held at CSCG on Sunday 17 March was also well attended and the presentation by Elizabeth Scott was very practical in its content.

“Liz brought multiple sources of compost material, mostly obtainable at no or little cost,” said Peter.

“The demonstration was directed to both apartment dwellers and those living in stand-alone housing.”

The next free workshop in the program is ‘Building Insect Pollinator Biodiversity’, to be held on Sunday 21 April.

In this workshop Steve McGrane (ABC gardening talk-back host, presenter, teacher, writer and consultant) teaches participants how to get more bang for their pollinating buck.

The workshops are part of a series of sustainability workshops funded by envirofund through the City of Coffs Harbour.

Digital recordings are being made at each workshop which will be available online.

You can register for the free workshops through the Coffs regional community gardens website at


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