May 12, 2015
Since then I have learnt to research better, so I probably wouldn't be planting such big trees. I have also learnt as much as I feel I can for now about growing plants in Perth and am really uninterested in horticulture anymore. The harsh sun and the hard yakka are not something I can put up with these days. Summer never helps and now that is over, maybe a few volunteer food plants will sprout and encourage me to do more, if it ever rains.
There are of course all the other aspects of permaculture that are important, the environmental ethics and efforts we can all make to make ourselves feel better while the government fritters away time that could be used to leave less of a mess for the next generations to cope with. Resilience and resource guarding, learning how to live more with less stuff is where it's at now. Coz the shit is gonna hit the fan in some way or another and there's an awful lot of folks who aren't ready, sadly, including myself.
I always thought (and still do) that growing food and trees is the most important thing anyone can do in the city or anywhere, to provide two of the most vital things we need for life: food, water, shelter.
People expect that we have an amazing vegetable garden, but it's pretty sparse as far as edibles go. We have two trees we need to remove to get more sun on the vegie beds. Hopefully that will be enough to allow food to grow again. Luckily the framework of the natives and the trees harbour many birds which are uplifting to watch as they come and help with the clean up of insects we can't even see.
We also have an endless supply of rodents that eat anything even slightly tasty. I guess they know where we live after so many years. Slowly slowly I remove the piles of potential breeding sites, exposing more ground for the lanky long dog to be able to explore - so far he has found the same cat twice and no mice or rats.
Trying to figure out what to do next. Education about how to live more with less stuff sounds good.
May 11, 2015
BUILDING A COB OVEN One of the most exciting things about a cob, is that it is using materials collected from the property including, clay, sand, straw, rocks and recycled materials. It is one of the oldest building methods on the planet and has a tiny carbon footprint. It also can be made with unskilled labour, […]
May 07, 2015
Terra Perma Design — THE SOIL HUGGER'S JOURNEY - PICK A PLANT DAY - KLIP DAGGA (Leonotis Nepetifolia)
Today it’s the one I’ve been most curious about….. what is its purpose?
The Guru is definitely thinking past its beauty as I have seen it pop up in our past blogs, but never as the lead role.
Well now it’s her time to shine – introducing The Lion’s Ear or Klip Dagga (Leonotis nepetifolia)…… But watch out for the elephant in the room ;).
Once you've read the blog, you'll understand why I want a bunch of Klip Dagga flowers for Mother’s Day (which should be everyday by the way!) ........ but I want them still on the plant and preferably with a bird, a predatory mite and a climbing purple king attached, please!
May 06, 2015
Autumn in the vegetable garden is such a productive time. Early rains, cooler nights and days, plenty of sun and warm soil makes for happy plants and even happier gardeners. We thought we would share 6 things we are loving about autumn in the Fairharvest garden. Compost The cooler months are when we make […]
April 29, 2015
April 28, 2015
Swap Shuffle Share in the Old Barn Next Swap May 16th …….. 10am till midday Swap Shuffle Share is a growing movement for sharing excess seed, plants and produce. Everyone seems to have a little too much of something in their garden and not quite enough of something else. Put your excess on the table and […]
April 22, 2015
April 20, 2015
April 07, 2015
International Permaculture Day 2015: In Support of Soil! Sunday 3rd May Fair Harvest Soil Celebration Day 10am till 3pm Admission FREE Come and join us on the farm for an informative day all about soil. The farm will be open and we’ll have a range of speakers and displays with a focus on soil. Wholesome […]
The post International Permaculture Day 2015……..in support of soil appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.
April 04, 2015
Terra Perma Design — THE SOIL HUGGER'S JOURNEY - Permaculture Design - The Client Interview Sheet Part 2
March 22, 2015
March 19, 2015
March 18, 2015
Terra Perma Design — The Soil Hugger's Journey - PLANTING IN SPRING…. SURVIVING THROUGH SUMMER – WICKING BED SUMMER FOLLOW UP (DID WE SURVIVE?)
March 16, 2015
We have been fortunate lately to work with some inspired nature artists, in particular Cynamon Aeria and Elaine Clocherty. these women have brought with them a way of interacting with nature that goes beyond our normal working, growing and tending the land. Elaine and Cynamon see nature itself as a pallet of colours, shapes and textures, weaving and layering them […]
March 14, 2015
- Eradicate the lawn, and
- Grow food.
“Nooooooooooo. Where are your children going to play? They need a lawn to run and play and be kids!”
To be continued ...
A Garden Salad - with some important community connections. Parmesan cheese and Macadamia nuts from the Albany Farmer's Market, and smoked garlic from a friends gardening and preserving efforts. Everything else came out of our own garden.
March 11, 2015
March 03, 2015
March 02, 2015
But hang on something seems to be missing….
Meet our next guest - the Tiger Crane Fly (Nephrotoma Australasiae).
Find out just how much we should be fearing this garden visitor!
Biointensive Growing in a Permaculture System
Before I found out about permaculture, I was studying up on the bio-intensive method of growing food, and was about to dedicate the whole property to a biointensive farming system. As it happened, permaculture swept me off my feet and into a swirl of fascinating ideas and possible directions. As the dust settles now – as my head drifts gently out of the clouds, the bio-intensive idea is still glowing, but not as something separate from permaculture, but as an integral part of it.
The biointensive growing method is an organic small-scale farming method designed to allow a maximum yield for a given area of land. The beds are rectangular and just wide enough that you can reach to the centre from either side without stepping into the bed. The soil is prepared by ‘double-digging’ – loosening the soil to a depth of 2ft whilst involving compost and other organic amendments. Loosening the soil to such depth allows the roots of plants to extend effortlessly, enabling them to take up more water and nutrients. The extra vertical space also enables you to plant with a much closer spacing, which means more produce from a smaller area of land. Finally, the beds are mounded up (raised), with a 45deg slope around the sides, which is also planted into. By the time crops are established, the soil is completed shaded and maximised.
Now this method is quite removed from any pattern in nature, and there’s probably permies out there who would contest the biointensive method, but I think biointensive growing beds can integrate nicely into a permaculture system, and I’m going to find out for sure.
There’s a flat area of land in the front yard which was sheet mulched 3 years ago. It’s since had a few trees put in and they’re taking off slowly. I had paved a narrow pathway dividing the area into biointensive-sized plots before I got involved with permaculture, but after crop failures due to the poor quality of the soil (and the farmer), I mulched right over the area and left it. Now, the soil is ready, and so am I.
I’ve excavated the paved path, and double-dug a single bed, adding copious amounts of clay (could probably add a lot more), worm castings and partially cured compost. Due to the enormous amount of mulch being mixed into this soil (enough to call it hugelkultur!), I’m likely to run into a ‘nitrogen draw-down’ situation where microbes breaking down all that mulch will temporarily take up all the nitrogen in the soil, leaving none for plant growth. That’s okay for now, because the first crops are going to be nitrogen-fixing legumes, which take much of their nitrogen from the air and actually make it more available in the soil. I will experiment with some other veg too, but without any lofty expectations.
As mentioned before, I see a spectrum spanning from unmanaged wilderness to the other extreme of petro-chemical agriculture, and permaculture is anywhere along that spectrum that’s sustainable or regenerative. The core goal of bio-intensive growing is closed-system sustainability. So while it’s closer to the artificiality of industrial agriculture (something permies try to steer clear of), it’s only artificial in its soil preparation and plant spacing – the rest is left to natural organic processes. The results, well, I’ll post an update and let you know…
If you’re working at establishing a permaculture system in your backyard, but want to dedicate an area to intensive annual vegetables, consider the biointensive growing method, established by Alan Chadwick and further developed by John Jeavons and Ecology Action.
Permaculture has always meant heading in a direction – a direction toward sustainability, both in agriculture and culture. But what is it doing to us in the meantime?
As we move toward that common goal, each of us experiences many shifts in our perception; changes in the way we see the world, what’s important to us, and what we expect out of life. But what’s happening underneath is something much more subtle and (pardon my bias) something much more beautiful than just rewriting our coding or changing plans. It’s a shift toward a more peaceful way of life.
When we think of peaceful moments in our lives, we tend to think of brief moments of calm, usually after something has been accomplished. When we’re asked to think of a peaceful lifestyle, we can’t quiet get our heads around it, because we’re so used to a frenetic perpetuation of struggle, which is seen as a kind of requirement for success, and success with little or no effort is seen as either a kind of laziness or exploitation – not something to work toward, perhaps even something to avoid. But permaculture does offer us just that – that we can live quite harmoniously with nature, and have our needs taken care of with far less effort than we’re used to. Is that laziness? Is that exploitative?
Working with nature at first seems like a kind of utility; a sense that once we know nature’s patterns we can control and exploit her for all her worth, but in practice this attitude gives way to a more humble perspective – that we are just playing a part in the process, and that nature is much larger than anything we could ever control. With that comes a relinquishing – a lessening of our grip, as we begin to take part in those natural processes we once sought to control. To give up is something we often shun as a weakness, but, giving up our relentless struggle for control, we find peace.
As I look at the backyard, it becomes unclear to me how much of this was really me, and how much was nature having her way with me.
February 17, 2015
This handsome chap and his siblings will hold the limelight (from the salad bowl) for many dinner parties to come…. at least until we get around to making cocktails from the African Cucumber - a blog to look forward to!
Introducing: The Slipper Gourd (Cyclanthera pedata)
Read about the plant's origin, preferred growing condition, reported edible/medicinal properties and our experience. He's a real ripper for Perth.
February 10, 2015
Last weekend the Wardan Aboriginional Culture Centre opened its gate to women only and for the 4th time this included all women, not just indigenous women. It was an honour, not only to be welcomed into the space but to be made to feel absolutely a part of the shared culture of this land along with the great […]
The post Weaving with women and International Women’s Day 2015 appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.
February 05, 2015
Terra Perma's own Charles Otway giving us a rundown on the symptoms, historical battle and current measures being tested to control the summer nemesis known as the Bean Spider Mite (Tetranychus ludeni).
This blog features a candid discussion of the decision to import Phytoseiulus persimilis into the Terra Perma garden. Plus some brilliant photos to explain the difference between the good and bad mites.
Congratulations to another group of Permaculture Design Certificate graduates, this course has certainly become one of the highlights of our year and each one just seems to be a little bit better than the last. This year saw two, new, young teachers introduced to the course, Byron Joel from Oak Tree Designs, a passionate and […]
January 29, 2015
Introducing Exhibit C: St Mary’s Thistle (Silybum marianum)
This stunning looking - check out the patterning and edges on this baby! - and stunningly controversial St Mary’s Thistle qualifies for the Crazy Plant Section of this blog on the basis of (A) its beauty, (B) its ease of growth in our climate (a double edged sword - enter the controversy!) and (C) its many uses and (debated) properties.
Love it or hate it - understanding how plus why or why not to introduce/grow/use any plant responsibly is essential for any gardener.
January 26, 2015
January 20, 2015
This time of year is when wicking beds really come into their own, not only do they need less water than the other garden beds but the plants look less stressed during the hot days and the beds on the whole are more productive. We’ve now been experimenting with wicking beds for 4 years with […]
January 16, 2015
December 28, 2014
Another light and fluffy blog day to wish you all a super and safe 2015! I promised you flowers!
To continue on with my few short segments on the strange things I have found growing in my garden….. Hopefully you’ll find a few surprises amongst them and learn a little too! Thanks go (yet again) to the guru who has planted many strange things over the years and found, by trial and error, which are the “fittest” for our climate and soil!
Introducing: Exhibit B: Bergamot (Monarda Citriodora)
I could give you details, but I think the picture says it all!
Happy New Year, thanks for being part of our journey and for supporting Terra Perma Design through a year that has seen so many changes.
December 24, 2014
I wanted to send this one out with a huge thanks to you all for your acceptance of me into this world of blogging, and for joining me along the road of what is an eventful journey. I wish you and your loved ones a smile-filled festive season and (now I have to confess another imperfection in the Soil Hugger!) an interruption-free Boxing Day Test! I have a special Happy New Year gift in store for you….. I’ll say it with flowers….. yes, I confess I’m a sucker for flowers, but they have to have to be fascinating or awe inspiring, pretty just ain’t gonna cut it!
Until then, Enjoy.
December 13, 2014
Terra Perma Design — The Soil Hugger's Journey - Pick a Plant Day - Chilacayote (Cucurbita Ficifolia)
It’s light and fluffy blog day! As I am now a few months into this crazy, scary journey, I thought I would write a few short segments on the strange things I have found growing in my garden, now that I have the time to look. Hopefully you’ll find a few surprises amongst them and learn a little too! Thanks go to the guru who has planted many strange things over the years and found, by trial and error, which are the “fittest” for our climate and soil!
Introducing Exhibit A: Chilacayote (Cucurbita ficifolia)
Family – Cucurbitaceae
Genus - Cucurbita
Edible - Fruit, flowers, leaves and seeds.
Growth - In Perth, we’ve found it to be a hardy ground runner like pumpkin, but far easier to grow, with better pest and disease resistance (no powdery mildew, hurray!), and more prolific fruiting (or squash-ing in this case).
Head to the Soil Hugger's Website for full discussion.
December 09, 2014
We also have yakon growing in a few spots this year, so I guess we should actually eat some this autumn when it is ready.
Maybe this year we can trick the pesky rodents and end up with something to eat from our garden for a change.
December 05, 2014
Terra Perma Design — Permaculture 102 - Permaculture Design Part 2: Assessing an Urban Garden's Potential Based on Sun Angles, and other Sources of Natural Energy.
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Following on from Part 1 (in which we identified the layout of the property, prepared the aerial diagram and made some initial interpretations from both the diagram and by doing a little research into the general area’s climate), Permaculture Design Part 2 gives us the first look at real Permaculture thinking - the Sector Analysis of the space.
We'll look at what is outside the design area but has an impact on it – I.e. the channeling, or alternately protection from, one of nature's energy sources – wind, sun, fire, water, frost. One of these will often represents a dominant force in a design – e.g. the sun – pretty dominant in Perth!
November 13, 2014
Terra Perma Design — Permaculture 102 - Permaculture Design: For Rural Only? Not in the slightest! - Part 1
I hope I will adequately reward you for your patience as I take you on a step-wise walk-through of the Permaculture Design process drawing on what I learnt on my course and including some pretty key Permaculture "Rules of Thumb" along the way. Follow the Link and let the fun begin!
November 10, 2014
This page is full of fantastic information about how to design a house to maximise the free cooling and warming that is available by using proper solar passive design.
This is good if you are able to start from scratch. There are also lots of ways to retro fit a home to improve cooling and heating. Planting deciduous shade plants to the ease north and west of a home can prevent it heating up in summer.
Surrounding your house with food plants would also be a great thing to do to save money in the long term.
October 21, 2014
October 11, 2014
The Festival of Forgotten Skills is on again! Join us this Sunday for our amazing festival. For those of you that weren’t here for our 2012 Festival it was a beautiful day of sharing skills ranging from candle making to rope making to cheese making. This year we have a whole new range of skills with even more people […]
October 09, 2014
October 06, 2014
This includes removing food sources, keeping benches clean where ants are indoors and finding gaps and sealing them to prevent incursion of the tiny insects.
Ant rid and other target specific ant baits are available in some hardware or pet stores.
Sometimes outside but mostly inside, the black house ants only have a slight smell and are timid, they are easily discouraged by wiping surfaces with eucalyptus oil. They have no sting.
If you still don't know what sort of ant you have you could use this service:
Correct identification of the pest ant is crucial before commencing any control procedures. There are pest ants that can be more easily controlled based on advice appropriate to that species. A free identification and advisory service is provided by the Department of Agriculture and Food. To submit specimens for identification, stick about a dozen ants to a piece of paper with clear tape and enter your contact details on the paper. Ensure the ants are collected from a clean surface. This will prevent picking up sand and other debris which can allow the ants to escape from under the sticky tape, or spray the ants first with fly spray.
When sending or delivering samples, the following information is required:
• Collector’s name, location (where the specimen was found), full address, telephone number and e-mail address, description of the damage and date collected.
Department of Agriculture and Food
Pest and Disease Information Service
3 Baron Hay Court, South Perth WA 6151 Freecall: 1800 084 881
Once you know what you have but still don't know how to control the pest at hand contact Systems Pest Management, Fremantle for advice on the least toxic way to control your pest ants.
Some other resources ..
October 05, 2014
|Torrential down pour at 14:30. The garden is under reconstruction!|
|Twenty minutes later at 15:00 it's bright and sunny|
October 01, 2014
- coconut coir
- a blood and bone mix
- garden lime
- sand - heat treated time permitting
- some fine vermicompost from the very bottom of the worm farm
- what are we going to want to eat this summer?
- what seeds do I need fresh seed of?
- what is the general weather conditions going to be?
- what will do best in these weather conditions?
- what plantings will make the garden different and interesting this year - for myself and visitors?
- what plant group will I focus on?
September 29, 2014
In preparation for the upcoming PDC, someone has been doing their pre-reading..... This Permaculture 101 Series blog presents a high level over view of what Permaculture is, what ethics are upheld and what design principles are woven through every design produced in order to achieve a permanent agricultural system that meets the needs of all life systems contained within it.
September 25, 2014
These chemicals are in a group called Persistant Organic Pollutants. They break down very very slowly and accumulate in the food chain; as each larger animal eats their prey they gather higher and higher amounts of the toxin in their fatty tissues. If you have chickens and they are scratching the soil and eating insects from an area that is still toxic and then you eat those eggs, there may be some of these poisons in your body. There are a number of problems caused by these toxins, from allergies and neonatal developmental changes to nervous system damage, cancer and even death.
You can reduce the risk of ingestion through eggs by siting the chicken run away from fence lines and house foundations and by installing a cement floor, layers of thick plastic or deep enough fresh soil to prevent the chickens getting to the deeper layers.
You can get your soil tested at various analytical soil labs around the city.
Chemcentre WA is the most commonly recommended.
September 23, 2014
Organic pest control talk.
IMPROVING CULTURAL PRACTICES IN THE GARDEN
Ponds. Many birds and insects use ponds in summer. Birdbaths are also frequented by bees, wasps and other flying things.
September 22, 2014
It is usual for me at this time of the year to 're-design' the garden for the coming summer. Each year it takes on a different look and purpose depending on what is required. Last year it was getting a good supply of tomatoes and seeds so tomatoes dominated the scene. I'm actually a little behind in the planning this year, but there is little I can do about that.
September 19, 2014
September 15, 2014
September 14, 2014
|Only sowed a few of each of lots of different varieties|
|I'm hoping that if I start beans off here first then they won't disappear like the last lot seem to have done that I planted direct in the soil.|
September 11, 2014
We continue the "Soil Series" with an investigation of the effect of our "Pieces of Soil Pie" on the Physical Properties of the soil, what affects them, how we might assess them, and what we hope to migrate our Perth coastal sandy / hills clay-ey soil towards. Episode 2.3 runs through soil texture, structure, density, porosity, consistency, temperature, colour and resistivity. Then, if you're not thoroughly exhausted, I've looked at pH just because I was curious. Next time....Nematodes - it takes more than one nematode to make a phylum. Enjoy!
September 09, 2014
Please note…..the last cafe day for the season is May 7th! Why are we open on Thursday? Our gardens and venue are, in true Permaculture style multi functional, that is they provide a variety of functions for a variety of people. They feed us, they provide a place for learning and they are a place […]
September 04, 2014
September 02, 2014
Plus some fancy close up and personal paparazzi photos.... from our new digital microscope!