August 28, 2015
10 Months of Hot Water from our compost shower Our latest compost shower was our most successful ever, giving us fabulous hot showers for 10 months. Here’s an article I recently wrote for PIP Permaculture magazine about how we build our compost shower. A few years ago we were inspired by Jean Pain’s compost hot […]
August 25, 2015
August 16, 2015
- One of the first things I noticed was the New Holland Honeyeaters were collecting food unusually low to the ground in the nasturtiums and I suspect this is for two main reasons. The first is that there is an abundance of caterpillars, many of which are feeding on the nasturtiums [which is another use for growing them, as the nasturtiums lure caterpillars away from cropping plants]. The second is that this bounty of grubs is also coinciding with the honeyeaters raising their brood of young.
- This is the time of the year when I first dated my wife and I remember it in conjunction with two other seasonal events. The magpies start collecting nesting material and carol throughout the night in lovely serenades. The other being that the freesias begin to bloom.
- There is also a marked increase in the ‘woolly bear’ caterpillars and other similar haired caterpillars which from my observations seem to prefer feeding on the more obscure plants in the garden like borage, assorted weeds like sows thistles…
- Some self-sown tomatoes that endured through winter are now fruiting.
- Down by Eyre Park I’ve noticed the yearly excursions of the Wood Ducks up to higher vantage points such as the neighbouring house roof tops. They are starting to pair up and looking for nesting hollows high in the trees. I always wish them luck as there seems to be fewer and fewer suitable nesting hollows available.
- The first Shield Bugs were seen yesterday.
- Slightly further afield during a trip to Dumbleyung I noticed Shellduck had a clutch of young. Days young by the look of them. Wood Ducks were seen near nesting logs and a Grey Butcherbird was seen building a nest.
August 15, 2015
This past twelve months has not been a particularly easy one. Actually, one of the toughest ever. As a result there have been many changes. Not the least have been the passing of my father-in-law and moving house, TWICE.
August 05, 2015
Day 4 consists of a technical morning of botany, the purpose of trees and how they can fulfill so many roles within a system. This is followed by an afternoon in the field exploring the importance of community and what is possible when like minded people work together. With an understanding of plants of different characteristics work together in a garden context is not so dissimilar to an understanding how individuals in the community work better with support, both for themselves and initiatives which encourage others.
(If you missed Day 1 - click here; Day 2 - click here; Day 3 - click here)
July 31, 2015
This post is a continuation of the previous post found here.
Starting with some form of design creates a firmer commitment to actually implementing your project. And action is what is going to get the ball rolling.
We had a small shed, we had some compost bins and some exotic plants already existing in the garden which we relocated to better positions. We wanted to get chooks, but we started with compost bins and burying our kitchen scraps directly into the soil until we ran out of room. So the chooks we had pegged to go at the back of the shed. We didn’t bite off more than we could chew initially. But that came.
Our backyard faced just off due north which meant the edibles were placed there. Most of our windows were exposed to the north to allow the warmth in. We seldom used extra cooling or heating and usually only just to take the edge off winter chills. In summer extremes we opened the front and back windows to flush hot air out.
INPUTS VS OUTPUTS
July 20, 2015
Everyone it’s time to start KNITTING AND CROCHETING because its winter brrrrrr! So, in conjunction with Arts Margaret River, Fair Harvest are hosting:- ONE DAY mini BEANIE FESTIVAL Sunday, 20 September – 10.00 am – 3.00 pm Entry by Donation Come and join in with:- – Making and Shaking Beanie Fashion Parade – lots of fun in […]
July 19, 2015
Swap Shuffle Share in the Old Barn Next Swap August 15th …….. 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 […]
July 18, 2015
July 15, 2015
Coming soon to Fair Harvest……….. Forage and Feast, Tour and Workshop Saturday 22nd August – 10.00 am – 5.00 pm The workshop will be facilitated by Brooke “Sparkles” Murphy, the author of the Odd Fodder cookbook. Sparkles has over 10 years of experience as a permaculturist, and is a fully qualified naturopath of 15 years. […]
July 14, 2015
So, how do we CONTROL and WORK WITH weeds? WEED CONTROL Timing Cultivation Mulching / Covering Animals Hand weeding WORKING WITH WEEDS Green manure Weed tea Useful/edible Soil indicators Stockfeed Use in Compost As a gardener weeds have challenged me, winter after winter, to become a little less uptight. Yes… weeds happen and they […]
Once apon a time eating was all a part of the joy of traveling, but as my life has changed through knowledge and health (or lack of) the need to find good, healthy, fresh food has turned eating while traveling into a challenge. I love food, I’ve always been a try everything type, I love […]
July 04, 2015
June 26, 2015
Terra Perma Design — The Permaculture Design Course - To Do or Not To Do? On the 3rd day of the PDC.....
Day 3 sees us back to our comfortable base camp looking at all things planty as well as a community adventure to look and discuss the features (and mental climate required for) school and community gardens.
(If you missed Day 1 - click here; Day 2 - click here)
June 20, 2015
June 17, 2015
June 15, 2015
Terra Perma Design — The Permaculture Design Course – To Do or Not To Do? On the 2nd Day of the PDC….
Day 3 sees us head off on a field trip and look at home design for lower energy usage.....
(If you missed Day 1 - click here)
June 11, 2015
|Weird green shavings and leaflets from the honey locust.|
|Rat poo and rat shavings.|
|Poxy rats have chewed all the green part off this cactus stem.|
June 09, 2015
Terra Perma Design — The Permaculture Design Course – To Do or Not To Do? On the 1st Day of the PDC….
But everyone who has been involved with Permaculture (or asked Charles a question) will know that we’ll all get the same answer…. IT DEPENDS.
In this BLOG SERIES we’ll try to explain what is covered through out each day of the PDC and why, so hopefully, you'll have enough information to determine what a course like this can or can’t offer to meet your current needs. First Up - DAY 1
For past PDC-ers, welcome to memory lane..... Plus a treat at the end for those who persist!
June 08, 2015
June 05, 2015
June 03, 2015
Biodynamics in the Garden Good gardening seems a cross between observation, organisation and intuition – recognising and working with cycles and being open to nature’s suggestions. In the Fair Harvest veggie garden we use an Astronomy Calendar to support this process. Activities that need doing in the garden are planned ahead according to the season, […]
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 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!