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April 10, 2014

Terra Perma DesignPermaculture Design - Site Design Process and Checklists to Help

We have two new items on the resources page to help out those of you that are trying to get into permaculture design. With the emphasis on design here is our summary of the design process and a checklist to help you get all the relevant info. Everyone designs differently, but for those just starting out I hope this helps you find your own style.
Terra Perma's - Permaculture Design Process Summary
Terra Perma's - Site Design and Client Interview Checklist

April 06, 2014

Freo PermiesInternational Permie Day 2014

It’s on again on this Sunday May 4th 2014, and just like last year it will be held at the South Fremantle High School. Freo Permies are planning some great activities right now so do get in touch if you’d like to help, teach or organise. More details soon! How good was it last year?...

April 01, 2014

Fair HarvestFlinders Bay

Even living on the most beautiful permaculture dream farm calls for a holiday sometimes. Dealing with amazing people every day, managing beautiful old buildings, productive gardens, interesting emails and a never ending list of small, boring, necessary jobs can lead to cranky girls. I think we’d reached the point that the farm was as happy […]

The post Flinders Bay appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

March 26, 2014

Freo PermiesBlitz on in Coolbellup Saturday 8.30am 12 April 2014

The next Blitz is on Saturday 12th April at Jodie’s place in Coolbellup. Come to learn about a banana circle and wicking beds. Lunch will be provided. Please register (no cost) so we can work out how many people are going to come. They are great fun. More information can be found at the eventbrite...

March 23, 2014


The soil is dry .. dry.. all the way down. Several drops of rain fell last night. A tease.

This is the time of year I always feel so disheartened by how the garden looks, but it is a good time to see what survived. We have been plagued by pests of all kinds this past summer as well as spending a lot of extra time tending our old dog instead of tending the garden. Time to get some soil building going on again.

There have been quite a few baby frogs this year though and quite a few tadpoles we gave away have become frogs in their new homes.

March 18, 2014

Fair HarvestRunner up RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2014

RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2014 (Runner up)  For the second year in a row I nominated a project for the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award, an award that focuses on women in rural industries and communities,. Last year I was selected as a finalist (based on a project for running workshops for rural women) and was […]

The post Runner up RIRDC Rural Women’s Award 2014 appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

March 09, 2014

HumusBeingsSad times. RIP Gruntle Bucket.

Gruntle Bucket 1999-2014
We were recently devastated to have to put our old boy Gruntle to sleep. He'd had a long life and we did all we could to keep him happy and well to his very last hours. We had him from a puppy and was the son of my previous dog, Rusty Bucket. Gruntle never ate any dog food from a can and was pretty much a raw bones and human leftovers fed animal witha few good quality dog biscuits here n there. When he was younger we would make a blended mash of raw vegies with maybe some canned sardines and/or yoghurt and/or an egg and/or crushed up liver treats.  He must have eaten a mountain of frozen chicken necks, frames and wings in his lifetime and plenty of raw meaty beefbones until we realised that as those big beef bones dry that dogs can actually wear their teeth down a bit on them. We would clean those bones up quickly so they didn't get too dry and overchewed. 
I personally spent more time with him than I have any other beastie, human or otherwise, so it is quite a loss and our house feels weird without him.

Whilst not strictly a permaculture post I would just like to mention a few things that I think dogs are good for in gardens.

-Fur provides bird nesting material, holds soil together and provides nitrogen as it breaks down. 

-Food scraps can be eaten by dogs as part of their feed to reduce the need to buy food for them. Human food in most instances will be better for them than any dog food out of  can. Gruntle ate all kinds of fruit, too so he was good for eating slightly over ripe fruits. 

-Protection from cats for the many frogs that live here. The smell of a dog reduces incursion by the neighbours pesky cats and possibly also helps keep rats at bay a little. As Gruntle got older and ranged around the yard less,  we noticed there were more rats in the garden.

The garden had become a series of small barricades so he could walk around so it is a relief to finally be able to rearrange certain areas of the garden which had become static so the blind old dog could get around without falling over things. It is good to be able to walk around the garden without stepping over things and not having to help the old boy up. I miss him and I will forever but I was glad I got to hang out with him for 14 and a half years. Thanks, Gruntle. You were beautiful.

March 07, 2014

Terra Perma DesignOne Spot Now Available For March PDC

Hi Folks,
Just a quick one, we now have a free spot as one of the PDC team picked up a new job (good luck Ellie !). Its late notice I realise, late for all of us, but when you get a job you have been waiting for I can understand postponing your PDC :)
Anyway if you or friends were interested, there is 1 vacancy again.
Charles Otway

February 27, 2014

Terra Perma DesignMARCH PDC FULL

Thanks to great support again for our PDC's, we are full at a team of 14. We have gone for lower numbers this time to make group work and logistics a little easier to manage.  We have not locked it in yet but the next PDC will most likely be in Spring 2014.

February 26, 2014

Fair HarvestJan 2014 PDC update and Pics

 A few pics from our January PDC Our January Permaculture Design Certificate was a huge 2 week event, with 24 students, 9 teachers, guest speakers, field trips and design projects we were all kept busy. It’s hard to describe a 2 week course in a few words but here’s a few quotes…. “I have never […]

The post Jan 2014 PDC update and Pics appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

February 25, 2014

Fair HarvestClaire’s Moved to Fair Harvest

Claire Coleman arrived at our farm in 1995, she was our first wwoofer and we were her first wwoof hosts………her dynamic gardening energy was amazing then, a passionate allotment gardener from London who knew so much about making small spaces productive, she was also a whizz on European trees species and was here in Australia […]

The post Claire’s Moved to Fair Harvest appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

February 21, 2014

HumusBeingsWelcome to the new year.

Yeah, yeah, a bit late, I know. I blame summer. This summer has seemed fierce. No moisture in the air, not even enough cloud for people to get  grumpy about how muggy it is.. just the heat and the feeble see breeze on some evenings, that only us lucky Freo folk get coz I reckon it must peter out by the bottom of the next dune.

The garden is just hanging in, we probably water too often but the garden is our haven and we don't need much more than a happy garden. Dripper line has given us 20 odd minutes reprieve each morning from having to hand water and the "potted orchard" is all still looking pretty happy.
The pests have changed since putting the drip line in. Slaters are much reduced, possibly also because we have changed our mulch this year. Mites seemed to enjoy the dry out there, though. They like dry situations so, with the lack of spray, they had attacked a lot of plants. Too much shade from the much-too-large powton didn't help, nor did us not being very good at feeding things. Summer is a hard time to do anything out there, really.

If we ate rats and tomato borer grubs we would have had a good summer's feast, sadly it was mostly herbs and the odd dragon fruit, along with three pumpkins which grew themselves. Basil always does well here and that New Zealand spinach stuff that no one actually eats.

In a moment of autumn hope two weeks ago vegetable and herbs seeds were sown across the Perth suburbs as a cloud drifted across the sky and made us think it would rain soon! It'll be interesting to see how long into March this late summer persists. I'll be glad not to need to water so much though, whenever that is. Maybe when it goes down to only a maximum of 32C, maybe then I can plant those seedlings.

February 04, 2014

Fair HarvestHannah’s Locavore blog (2) including some recipes

Hannah’s Locavore blog (2) including some recipes I would love to thank everyone for the amazing response to my first blog entry. I was incredibly surprised how interested and eager people are to share our locavore story. The first few months of opening on Thursdays have been filled with learning, experimentation and fun! We are […]

The post Hannah’s Locavore blog (2) including some recipes appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

January 23, 2014

Terra Perma DesignTerra Perma Workshops for Early 2014

Just in case you were wondering our PDC starting 12th March is filling up but with lots of people yet to get their deposits we still spots. Due to popular demand we are offering a few Pre-PDC workshops.

Full details of what is in the workshops can be found here.

Wood Fired Pizza Oven Basics
Book Here
Date:  Monday 27th January, Time: 2-4pm.
Cost: $50 p/p or $90 couple
Venue: Hamersley

DIY Backyard Ponds - For Veggies and Native Habitat
Book Here
Date: Saturday Feb 8th
Time: 10am-12.
Cost: $50 p/p or $90 couple
Venue: Innaloo workshop with Charles

How to Build Wicking Beds  and Container Gardens
Book Here
Date: Saturday Feb 8th
Time: 2-4pm.
Cost: $50 p/p or $90 couple
Venue: Innaloo workshop with Charles

Recycle your Scraps - Composters, Wormfarms, Chooks, Bokaashi
Date: 22nd February
Time: 10am -12
Cost: $50 p/p or $90 couple
Venue: Innaloo workshop with Charles

DIY Garden Retic And Watering
Date: 22nd February
Time: 2pm - 4pm
Cost: $50 p/p or $90 couple
Venue: Innaloo workshop with Charles

January 20, 2014

Fair HarvestFeeding the PDC

Here we are in the middle of our Permaculture Design Certificate and I’m excited about what people are eating. Feeding 30 people (students, wwoofers and teachers) a day is a big ask, but feeding them local, fresh, organic is pure joy. Do has been working hard in the garden for months now, planting so that […]

The post Feeding the PDC appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

January 10, 2014

Fair HarvestSummer on the farm

Summer on the farm (and a reminder that we are fully booked from Jan 12 – 26) It feels like I haven’t written an update for a long time, but it certainly isn’t through a lack of things happening here on the farm.  Fair Harvest has been a hive of activity, our Thursday open day […]

The post Summer on the farm appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

January 02, 2014

Petit ParadisCompost Worms - Adventures in the Toxic Environment

The topic of using newsprint in the edible garden is one that raises its head on a regular basis and is something that I like to monitor. I use newsprint in the garden with the following considerations.

  • I don't like to burden an area with either a great heap of newsprint at any one time or over a period of a year or so.
  • My main indicator to the health of my soil is the soil life itself - and the most visible, easily identifiable  and more immediate indicator for me personally is the compost worms. If there is an abundance or even seemingly an over-abundance of worms in areas of composting with newsprint then I am relatively assured that there be no harm.
 This piece of information is from the Ecobaby website. I like it because it explains the process of conversion quite simply.

"As long as the worm composter is working properly, the worms will be able to handle these substances. Heavy metals become soluble and therefore potentially toxic in acidic environments. Worms prefer a relatively alkaline environment. Normally ground garden limestone is sprinkled into the composter. (Only use garden lime, NOT Quicklime, of course!). Worms carry out fine grinding of the lime particles. This neutralises any excess acidity and liberates plant nutrients stored in the rock. Heavy metals are also fixed in the soil and released slowly avoiding toxicity. Worms develop and maintain a culture of effective aerobic bacteria by culling pathogens, fungi and anaerobic bacteria. They also ensure the organic mass is well aerated."

My own experience is that newsprint and cardboard are exceptional materials for building up soil and are enhanced by the actions of soil microbes and worms. This is from my own observations of the materials breaking down, the abundance of worms found in the compost and the masses of tiny, tiny worms and cocoons which more often than not is found in conjunction with cardboard, particularly corrugated cardboard where the worms can move into the ridges and tunnels. There are many gardeners who have used newsprint and cardboard in their gardens for years now, particularly since the shift to soy-based inks and more environmentally considerate paper products and processes.

I choose to put the coloured printed material in the recycling bin instead of the garden mainly because it takes longer to break down and I personally have a dislike to the stuff and don't trust it. The other consideration is that the worms are not as attracted to it either because it takes a while for water to penetrate it and assist in breaking it down or because of the coatings used.

I also found an interesting article on the Mercola website which features the use of GE crops and soil fertility.

 GE Crops Affect Soil Fertility -

And this here is the link to an article with a little more depth to it than the normal articles found, but I still am having to scratch around to find some real statistics or studies indicating the dangers of toxic build-up in soils, particularly dioxins. There is some research into heavy metal conversion by compost worms and microbes, but dioxin appears to be a different matter.

City Food Growers article on "Is newspaper toxic for my organic garden?"

The other method I have found very efficient for converting large quantities of newsprint is ripping it into long shreds, a few cms wide and putting it into the chicken's strawyard where they dig it into the soil and scratch it up. The worms get to it a lot faster along with the action of the chook manure and it breaks down with a regular, gentle wetting. I like to do this in autumn when light showers keep it damp but not saturated.

December 26, 2013

Petit ParadisAspects of Petit Paradis

The garden is such a wonderland of surprises at the moment. There are tomatoes hiding deep in bushes along with pumpkins that were self sown and have fruit forming. The corn is doing well given it was sown early and then planted out just as we copped another few weeks of cold, wet weather. With any luck I will have managed to get three crops in this season, all staggered, providing we get the usual decent autumn weather that we usually get.

With the recent feeding up of snails, the Koi and goldfish have put on some good growth and are looking super healthy.

After the removal of our previous passionfruit we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Banana Passionfruit.

I have however, made a huge job for myself. I have been going through my seed collection and having a good cull of seeds. There are many that have been saved over the years that I do not have any records for and so it is a bit hit and miss with what will grow from them. Given that I have limited space in the garden I have put some seed aside to use for green manure. Others I am sowing out into pots to see what really germinates. If nothing comes of them, so be it. Otherwise I will plant our strong seedlings in the back garden bed when that is ready to utilise - at the moment I am waiting for some plants to finish setting seed, then I'll put in a new crop.

Other seeds I have grown from as little as five seeds and am gradually building up my numbers so that when we move there will be a good quantity of quality seed to sow a decent few rows of particular vegetables. For example I am building up numbers of bush beans and climbing beans, peas and zucchini. I have a small crop of popping corn on the go as a bit of a project for my son and to hopefully keep us in popcorn for another year or two.

In previous years I have grown several types of tomatoes along with several that have self sown in the garden from our composting - either from the shops or the Farmers' Market. This has given me a good variety that seem to do well in our location and climate. This year I also have a few heirloom varieties such as Periforme, so I am trialling these to see how they go.

Red Aztec Corn with its wig!

Petit ParadisMy Ongoing List of Plants for the New Garden

This list is for me to add to over time as I collect or think of plants to add to the New Garden  
D - Deciduous

Food Forest Plants

Thornless Youngberry (Mainly as a forage crop for the kids)
Thornless Blackberry (Same as above)
Youngberry (plenty of thorns but a good producer)
Fig (Green) D
Fig (Striped) D
Mulberry (M. macroura 'Shatoot') D - smaller growing mulberry tree with long white fruit. It is said to be the best mulberry for home gardens as it is a small tree which does not produce fruit that stains. It is native to India, Pakistan, southern China and Sri Lanka. This variety is on my wishlist.
Roseapple - Syzygium
Capulin Cherry  - Prunus salicifolia
Jelly Palm - Butia capitata
Cavendish Banana
Passionfruit -
Passionfruit - Banana
Choko - Green
Choko -  White
Grape - Dark (currently growing, will need propagating)
Grape - White
Grape - Sultana
Grapes - Currant (rescued cuttings, variety still to be confirmed

Lower storey Food Forest

Fruit Trees for Swales
Apricot  D (Grown from seed from a local tree, produces small but tasty fruits)
Lemon - Eureka - on my wishlist
Apple -
Apple -
Apple - Golden Blush - on the wishlist.
Persimmon - on my wishlist
Tahitian Lime - to replace the current one we have
Blood Orange - on the wishlist.
Navel Orange - on the wishlist
Imperial Mandarin - on the wishlist

Pioneer Plants
Tagetes marigolds

Salad Burnet
Mints - various in pots

Insect Attractors & Bee Pasturage
Buddleja - trimmed to produce a profusion of flowers as butterfly feeder
Milkweed - interplanted amongst other plants to attract butterflies and nurture caterpillars esp. Monarch
Bronze Fennel

Petit ParadisOver Abundance

One of the concepts or aspirations I have in mind for the new garden project is to fully design it for creating an over abundance of produce. Not just food, but also materials and benefits.

I have come to thinking that this is going to be a necessary part of the gardens output and so have been thinking over how to best achieve this. The block is sloping sand that faces slightly off from north. There is ample sunlight and good drainage. I just need to build the surface soil and get the soil life flourishing. Rather than container gardens as we have here I am looking at planting out with areas of container gardens around the houses themselves, along with supplementary aquaponic systems here and there. For the main garden my current leaning is towards a couple of swales across the block to make the most of the slope, the sunlight and the water opportunities while also giving the fruit trees a good foundation for getting established and utilising the wood that we have from the tree felling and clearing.

In contrast to Petit Paradis, the new garden will actually be required to produce volumes of produce to feed the family, whereas here we are supplementing our food costs with garden produce and using garden space to also build up seed volumes and varieties in anticipation for the move.

I have also been keeping a watchful eye on what grows well and what produces. I have culled a few plants over the last few years simply because of their inability to produce or to produce well, or because they were just struggling and not really able to take off - and I didn't have the time or inclination to nurture them, so got rid of them to replace them with something that was working.

Over the years I have propagated bamboo so that eventually I can have an area set out to plant it so that I can utilise the canes for stakes in the garden. I also hope to use some extra seed produced in the garden for green manure crops and have managed to build up a few extra tamarilo plants and have extra babaco plants in the making along with a few carefully chosen and purchased fruit trees. I fully intend on creating pockets of food forests interspersed with blocks of vegetable gardening, fruit trees, compost bins, chicken spaces and eventually a bee hive or two.

In designing the new garden so that the needs of the system are satisfied from within the system I am aiming for an over abundance of produce so that we can also trade some produce, feed some of it back into the system to create a stronger, more resilient system and also, not have to have so many gaps in our harvesting (either in volume or availability) as I have had here due to time and space.

Over the next few months I imagine my ideas of thinking will change as I set to study more intensely some of the permaculture concepts that I look to apply - or to look over those I am unfamiliar with in an effort to see what might best apply to the site and produce the results I am looking for - an over abundance.

December 18, 2013

Petit ParadisAustralian Backyard Gardening Blogs & Websites

I did a post on other backyard gardening blogs some years ago and recently did a new search to find that we are growing in number.

As though it is not enough that folks are taking to claim the backyard as a piece of productive edible gardening space and a real place of interest, many are recording their journeys on-line, much as we are doing. This is heartening and inspiring.

Here is a more recent list of active sites for future reference. With the planning of the new garden and house(s) underway it will make checking out ideas and the experiences of others a little more handy.

Zucchini Island  an urban families quest to feed themselves from their backyard. Check out the inspiring story on Jason's "What is this about?" tab.

The Suburban Tomato - another great record of a suburban gardeners journey.

500m2 in Sydney - a long-term regular favourite I like to drop in on from time to time. A very classy, well put together blog that inspires me.

The Good Life Down Under - the continuing adventures of Margo & Jerry. Variety, so much variety!

Vegetable Vagabond - coming to us from Cygnet in Tasmania.

The New Good Life - another blog with a bit of variety and travel and urban adventures thrown in.

Dancing with Frogs -  if you have a Thermomix, which we are fortunate enough to and use several times a day, you may find this blog useful.

The Greening of Gavin - a pleasant journey into the very depths of backyard sustainability! Walking the talk.

Suburban Digs - the adventures of Michael & Mel.

Bees Hive -  I too, like Georgia aspire to keep bees when we move to our new house block, so in the meantime this is a great resource as we learn more about the world of bees.

And last of all the Sustainable, Simple, Slow Living Blog at Sustainable Suburbia.  Very much a short cut to the whole process where Kirsten has set up a Linky List of Sustainable bloggers. Though unfortunately it does not have recent activity on the blog you can still use the fantastic resource to find other great sites to inspire you. Click here for the list.

Terra Perma DesignEdible Weeds Segment on TV

Charles was invited in to the Couch to do a segment on Edible Weeds with Cara. Have a look at the section on Youtube -  and perhaps you will be encouraged to do further reading in our Edible Weeds booklet
There is loads of purslane growing in mid summer blazing sun to be eaten, many people spend hours pulling it out in Summer. Two tips. Eat the purslane !!, and mulch the surface of your soil rather than cultivating out the weeds and exposing more soil and previous years weed seeds.

December 17, 2013

Petit ParadisThe Mulch Pile

 With the recent removal of the trees from the other block the tree loppers had a load they needed to dump elsewhere before they could make a start on the rest of the block. So I asked for them to deliver it to our house so that I could mulch some of the garden.

It certainly went the distance at about 12 cubic metres a truck load it did the front yard, several bags, a couple of areas of the back garden and the chook yard - up to about a foot thick in some places.

As daunting as the initial pile was - particularly as it was perched on half of our driveway and was nearly covering the letterbox - previous experience has taught me that the effort is worth it.

A very large pile of mulch on Friday afternoon.

By Friday evening we could see the neighbour's house - nearly.

The new look chook yard with a large compost pile and Blue Banana Pumpkin.

This was a pleasure to do as it made the chook pen look a whole lot nicer than the previous ground cover of grass and weeds that had been put in there from weeding the Community Garden. As much as the chooks loved it, it soon wore down and the mulch still allows them to have a good scratch around while I have left areas of dirt for them to have their dust baths. I also want to see how it wears because I am thinking of utilising this deep litter method at the new garden.

By Saturday lunch I had the rest of the mulch moved with some much appreciated help from my Dad! The backyard smells wonderful with the woodchips of lilly pilly, pepper tree and peppermint tree.

December 16, 2013

Petit ParadisThe Ringing Cedars of Russia - Dachniks and The Way Forward

Friends shared with us at our local Community Garden meet about a series of books they have been reading called the Ringing Cedars of Russia series.

The books sounded intriguing and so I looked into them and consequently opened up a new world to contemplate. I won't go into the series here as there is a heap of stuff that any search engine will happily deliver up for you. Instead I would like to focus on some of the ideas portrayed in the books and why they resonate with me. Mainly it is due to the fact that they are ideas or concepts I am already putting into practice. Perhaps further down the track I will go into some of the ideas I have taken from the books and what I have done with our own garden and family.

In the meantime, the books talk about home gardens or plots called Dachniks. For an interesting article, description and some impressive figures and stats check out this article.

This is very much my own experience in our backyard. This post from the EQ Journal has a few specifics as to why this style of gardening works well.

This is very much in line with the style of gardening that is seen as being the way ahead for developed countries as mentioned in Richard Mannings' book Against the Grain. I'm not sure what is lacking. It lies somewhere in the realms of being lazy, distracted by our culture and its social norms, following the herd, not being knowledgeable or fit enough to even start. . . there just isn't a compelling desire for most people. It almost seems ironic that the way ahead is actually the way back to previous small-scale farming and allotment style gardening.

It is clear that The Ringing Cedars of Russia series has stirred the desire in modern day Russians to compel them enough to go back to their Dachniks. Gradually it is inspiring people the world over to at least create a garden or a "Space of Love" wherever they can. This is what we have done here with our garden and plan to do with the new garden and house project.

December 15, 2013

Petit ParadisThe Start of the New Tillellen Project

The trees are gone!

I met with the loppers Thursday to arrange how we can keep the bulk of the material on site. They seemed very accommodating which makes sense given that it won't need carting away.

It was sad to see them go after they have been there so long - they have left a huge space until we can begin the process of re-planting the area.

The upside I guess is that, as pretty as they are, most of them are not friendly to our native environment in that they seed easily and are spread by birds easily such as the Japanese Pepper (to the right in the photos). Others have not been looked after and would eventually  lead to problems with limbs falling, so as much as it will be a huge visual change to the block, it is a necessary part of the process. As it happened the guys showed me a photo taken from up the tree where a split had started to occur. So it really was a matter of time before it took out the neighbour's clothes-line!

I looked over the plans again to locate the best spot for the piling of mulch and logs - so that they won't be in the way of earthworks for the retaining walls or new house. In doing so I came to the realisation that the block is actually going to leave us with much less garden area than I previously thought given that the retaining wall will be moved further back into the block and the top house is further in from the back street to allow for the slope and drive-way.

Still, it is a bigger area than what we are currently growing on and is not so divided up. There are also smaller areas along the property line and where the house will be that can be planted out.

There was one truck load of mulch that needed removing from the block to make room for access to the block and I had this carted to our property here so that I can use it for the native garden out the front and to dress the chook yard for the summer to cover up the grass and clippings and weeds that I have thrown in there from cleaning up at the Community Garden. Any grass that I removed I have been putting into the chook yard as they do a fine job of making sure it is dead far quicker than the compost bins I use where it is just too resilient to die off quickly. Between the sun and the chooks endless scratchings and upheaval of soil the grass is dealt with much more efficiently I find.

So, well in advance of schedule the guys have cleared the block of trees in a day and a half! The land is literally swamped in sunlight so it will be a great spot for the new gardens and there are plenty of BIG logs to build the Hugelkultur beds that will be used to start the soil conditioning process and get an initial garden happening while the rest of the building, construction and renovating takes place. On the top of the block is the 5 truck loads worth of mulch that I was wanting to have on hand.

December 09, 2013

Petit ParadisSummer Evening

I took a walk in the garden this afternoon after having spent the day away with family. It must have been a warm, sunny day because so many of the containers were getting dry or were very dry. I set about watering with grey water and ended up needing to spray with the hose to give everything a good finish.

The extra sun however has boosted the growth in the garden, including the weeds. This is fantastic as it means I can probably stagger my growing and seed collecting - that is, having two crops in the one season. As for the weeds, most of them will be harvested and either juiced, put into the chook yard or into the compost bins which I noticed have sunk down significantly today with the warmer weather.

I am happy to report that the beans and peas are doing really well and I will need to begin marking some of them for seed saving soon so that we can begin picking some for eating.

Red Aztec Corn with Popping Corn in the foreground

The last week the garden has had a huge growth spurt. Note the buckets for capturing the grey water.
The corn has been coming on strongly in the past week. I have planted out a mix of all the bits of corn I have. It is difficult to get many of the heirloom or open-pollinated varieties of corn here in WA so for the small amount of seeds I have managed to keep I decided to try and create something of my own open-pollinated corn variety. In case you are wondering, yes, this will be a long term project.

This is a mix of corn which is an experiment to see what comes of it all.

This chilacayote made numerous attempts to creep onto the path and has been turned back each time.

HumusBeingsGardening with an old dog

Dogs can create havoc in a garden but we have always been lucky with our dogs, the last of which Gruntle is still with us. Dogs can chew everything to bits and dig stuff up so we made sure it was always obvious where they couldn't go and made plenty of runways where they could.

Our old dog, Gruntle, is 14 and a half. He goes alright once he's up and even gets a bit excited when we take him out for his short evening walk. The garden paths have become wider and low growing herbs and weeds have been removed around the edges so he can get around more easily. He staggers into things at times so I have placed pots around the garden so he can sidle around a bit and not fall over.
He's doing okay, he still uses various ways around the garden and explores a bit, so he he hasn't forgotten his way around and anywhere he could get stuck has been barricaded off so he can't get stuck outside somewhere while we're at work. The large potted fruit trees and ornamentals have been handy for this use and they can be used to shade various parts of the garden where needed.

Summer is coming and it's a worry leaving the old bloke at home all day but we have a lot of shade out there and he mostly sleeps during the day. He may well end up having another haircut though!

December 08, 2013

Petit ParadisBird Visitors to our Garden in 2013

A Bronze-wing Pigeon arrives of an afternoon to search for seeds.
 I wanted to put together a post of some of the birds that come into our garden. Mainly because I have found it to be of great benefit to have plenty of perching areas for birds to utilise. As a result I am seeing more and more bird activity as the many, varied perching opportunities give the birds access to hunting spots in the garden and greater safety from small raptors and intruding house cats.

During winter this Fan=tailed  Cuckoo made frequent visits over several mornings to our garden.

Red-capped Parrots are some of the larger birds to frequent the garden, particularly when sunflowers are ripening off.

Juvenile Western Silver-eye waiting for its parent to arrive with food.
Various types of weld mesh are in the garden and used for plant supports and as a happy result are excellent perches for smaller birds such as silver-eyes and flycatchers. Both of which help reduce pest insect numbers in the garden. At this time of the year it is a common sight to see small flocks of silver-eyes moving through the garden in quite obscure areas and making off with green caterpillars to feed their young, or perching on the wire mesh and thrashing their prey about wildly before flying off with it.

A juvenile Willy Wagtail that was seen recently one morning. A very welcome sign in the garden.

Petit ParadisBabaco

From two small seedlings I have managed to grow two rather elegant looking Babaco (Vasconcellea × heilbornii; syn. Carica pentagona). They grow so well in the garden and are simply planted into large 50 cm pots. This year I have decided to propagate them which means I am likely to miss out on the fruit for a while, but will end up with a small plantations worth of trees which has been the long term goal. 

I originally received them through the post from Diggers Club but have not seen them offered to Western Australia for some time since. I estimate these are probably close to five years of age.

December 06, 2013

Petit ParadisAgainst The Grain

I came across this book at our local library and used it for some research for a seed saving talk I was doing. It gives an incredible insight into how we as a western society have evolved into the sophisticated, agriculturally-reliant countries around the world with some major disadvantages. Our health being one of them, but a whole host of issues raises it head from modern agricultural practices and this book brings them to the surface.

I guess to give a hint of what the book is about I could sum it up with the authors concept that we all advertise our ignorance to agriculture at least three times a day. That being the food we eat, the types of food we eat and the reasons for us actually eating it - they are far from our choice which is something I had never even considered. The reason being is that we are so detached from modern agricultural practices that we have no idea of some of the ways our food is handled and manipulated. 

Another point that Richard Manning portrays really well is that most of the major agricultural industries today grow and deal with commodities - NOT FOOD. When I really thought about this it triggered a whole heap of thoughts that bought me to the realisation that again, not all is what it seems.

At the end of the book Manning gives his own portrayal of how he sees we as a society need to be operating. It is largely a move back from an agricultural industry growing commodities to enterprising individuals and co-operatives growing food for local communities. Thus we can see the reason behind the popularity of today's farmer's markets, community gardens and backyard vege patches - there is a huge market in todays society for growing FOOD - not commodities such as rice, wheat and corn. If you suspect the wool has been pulled over your eyes then Manning's research and presentation of the material is intriguing and easy to read - and will showcase some of the ways we have been manipulated by big business.

For me it has confirmed my engagement with our own backyard food garden and the permaculture principles we use to create something quite unique in today's world - the place where the food on our table comes from.

December 05, 2013

Petit ParadisBananas

For the second year in a row we have a fine bunch of bananas coming along. The main risk for us here by the coast is the dry, strong winds that can sweep in over summer. As long as it is supported well, watered just enough and given kindly words we should see bananas around March.

Petit ParadisWhere will the kids play?

I have had to find alternatives to how I garden with having a toddler around. However, let me start from the beginning.

When we first moved here and I began to form plans for the garden, the kind of garden we would have for our kids someday was a consideration for a couple of seconds. The backyard was a couple of edged garden beds, a few square metres of lawn and four eucalypts along the back fence. Over time it has transformed into what it is today, but the question from many who looked at what was developing in the backyard was something based along the lines of "where will the kids play?"

My thoughts at the time were that food was going to be a priority and there was always a park down the road we could use. Isn't that what the park was there for?

I can currently say that I have not regretted getting rid of the lawn and our toddler is too involved with collecting chook eggs, feeding snails to the Koi, looking at bugs and picking strawberries or chasing butterflies to question me about where the swing is or even where a swing should be going.

The pond is a point of fascination in the garden and is childproofed (and cat proofed) by weld mesh and aquatic plants.

I think that now in - in retrospect - I can say we made the right decision. Our little one has a sandpit on the deck that he plays in from time to time and the rest of the time we get out and visit not just one park, but all the different ones in the area. So the garden has been able to fulfill its many roles of nourishing, educating and delighting our youngster.

This has, as you may imagine, created some challenges for me. How do you prevent a toddler that is so interested in the garden from picking unripe tomatoes or prized flower heads or immature berries? Let alone protecting prize plants whose main purpose is to provide a good crop of seeds for seed saving endeavors. I have come up with some solutions.

I guess its more barrier protection techniques really. Getting plants out of reach where they are going to be able to survive, but still be seen.

Pots of seedlings protected from small garden people. For big garden people to have access the white tub is removed - or stepped over, depending on their bigness.

So, here are some ideas that you may find beneficial for your garden and are also space-saving in their approach. I delight in something that is practical and multi-purpose, so here are some ideas to share.

Strawberries go aerial. This allows for me to keep the delectable berries easily reachable for me and out of reach of our toddler. He did try to stand in the containers underneath to reach the berries ( who wouldn't!) but a little talking to and a couple of smaller containers in front of them created an easy solution. The strawberries also get the sun they need and are well drained. In watering them I also end up watering the containers underneath, so it's also a time saver in some ways.

Strawberries get all the sun and attention from family members they could want.
Trellised barriers. I use these effectively to protect not just some of the plants growing in containers but also to start seeds in pots without them being interfered with. It also fits a lot of plants and seedlings in to an easily watered space which then becomes a micro-climate within itself.

Seed raising on the chicken coop. A bit inconvenient at this time of the year as the seed trays dry out very quickly but a good use of a space otherwise left bare. Plus a morning watering of the seed trays keeps the coop cool during hot days.

I also use hanging baskets to make use of 'air space' and these are well out of reach a little hands. I have two window boxes of bush beans hanging on the back garden bed entrance so that it deters our toddler from getting up onto the back bed. He seems to have lost interest. It helps having the chickens close by as a distraction too.

When it comes down to it I am prepared for surprises as our toddler finds ingenious methods which means I have to lift my game as well. I have had a few casualties and I grow a heap of cape gooseberries to keep him interested in also. These he can freely pick as he wishes, ripe or unripe. Sometimes he picks green ones to fed to the fish. I haven't lost any fish from this.

December 04, 2013

Petit ParadisOpen Garden (2012)

September just flew past and it took October with it. November had come and our Open Garden was fast approaching. Before I knew it the day had arrived and the garden had actually conspired to make a little show of itself.

After only two years in the garden the banana has produced an inflorescence and is now gradually revealing its small fruit. The Goji Berry has fruit, the ever-productive Babaco had forming fruit to show off and a multitude of plants were in various stages of flowering or setting seed. The weather has been kind with a light afternoon sprinkle on Friday and over-cast to sunny the rest of the time. After Friday afternoons visitors, Saturday was a steady stream of folks coming down into the garden for a peak.

I was not sure exactly how the garden would be received but everyone showed either surprise, delight or amazement on various levels which are reactions I will cherish.

The main reaction from people seemed to be something along the lines of:
  • There is so much stuff growing in such a small area!
  • Look at how packed it is and why aren't I doing this too?
  • I never thought of growing that here!
  • I never thought of growing it that way!
  • What an amazing little garden.
In the conversations with people there was also a general consensus that it is probably better to do something with the space you have rather than thinking more land is better. I too had a dream in my teens to one day have a large area of land to grow fruit and veges and plant areas of native vegetation for wildlife. I still think the latter reason is a good one, but as far as land size I've looked at different sizes and I keep settling on less might be more appropriate - at least for the near future and for household means. The main reason - and others I spoke to agreed completely - is that more land can be a lot of work and a whole lot more intimidating and overwhelming when it comes to maintaining a garden, especially of edibles.

I can count the number of gardeners on one hand that I know personally that have reasonably sized land areas and keep them maintained and producing quite well.

Petit ParadisSummer Begins

Now and then I like to try different plants to see what comes of them. At the moment I have 3 containers and a small patch in the side garden that are home to lush little forests of buckwheat. Over the last few days with a bit of water and extra sun they have grown much taller and are really showing off their titanium white flowers.

Likewise, the beans that have been setting flowers have lovely little crops of beans already appearing and growing so quickly. These are a white climbing bean, much like my Pop used to grow. The bottom photo is of the corner garden area where I left things go a little crazy. At this time of the year through to autumn it jumps into jungle-mode, often revealing some surprises in autumn once it starts to thin out a bit. In this one area is a large chilacayote patch, a pumpkin, sugar cane, an avocado and tamarillo tree, a compost pile, worm farm, a choko vine and the bananas.

Purple-podded peas. This is the first year I have grown them and they are tall, strong and abundant with their colourful flowers and dark purple pods.  Below is the flower of the climbing bean variety shown above. In the last day or two I have noticed the zucchinis have begun to open their flowers and put on strong growth.

Petit ParadisA New Start

As mentioned in a previous post, we are looking at making a transition to a newly renovated house and creating a new garden between the existing house and a new house on the back of the block. Our goal is to feed our growing family of four plus two grandparents with as much produce from the garden as possible.

The picture above is the block that we are starting to clear. It will one day become a new house for my In-Laws and a new garden that will be used to feed us all. It is a very peaceful spot. Lovely and shaded. Loved by birds and possums and loads of insects. This will all go. To do what we plan to do we need to remove all the trees that run down the fence line and are in the way of the future house. This means everything has to go for a new start. There is going to be a lot of wood and in keeping with my philosophy on this kind of thing I really don't want any of it to be leaving the block. Once cleared however, we will set about putting something just as magical in its place.

There is so much that either wood chips or small logs can offer that I really want everything to stay on the block as it will really get the garden off to a great start. This land is really close to the coast and the soil testing results show that it really is just sand. No large granite boulders or rocks hiding anywhere close to the surface. Great for building on and from previous experience it will have a huge appetite when it comes to organic matter. It will just swallow it up. For this reason I am keen to have some of the sand removed from the garden bed area for use further up the block - then focus on building soil through a few strategies I am keen to put into practice.

This is the first of what is likely to be many, many posts on our preparing for the transition to the new place and the decisions and choices we make along the way in the planning stages. In some ways it is probably going to mark a bit of a departure point for my blog records also as we make way to leave our small garden area for one with bigger possibilities, challenges and potential. So the current blog will slightly change from what it originally started out as, as a matter of natural progression.

December 03, 2013

Fair HarvestHannah’s Blog

Hannah’s Blog Hannah is here WOOFING in our kitchen and garden until she does her Permaculture Design Certificate in January, She is a wonderful young, creative cook who has taken on board everything here at Fair Harvest. I asked her to write a blog about her experience so far, a beautiful story…….thanks Hannah, love your […]

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December 02, 2013

Petit ParadisBeans

Frost beans - looking plumper, larger and shinier than the original beans I received due to seed saving practices.

This year I am focusing my efforts on various bean types. Mainly to get used to how they grow, build up sufficient quantities for larger crops in the future and to keep producing quality stock. I also like how they grow and the various shapes and colours.

I'm growing bush beans and climbing beans along with some snow peas and Dutch Purple Podded peas which are nearly as tall as me at 6 foot.


Petit ParadisContainer Gardening

This is the first of a number of related posts where I am recording some of the techniques and ideas I have used in my own garden.

People are amazed at the 'intensive' nature of our garden. That is, at this time of the year through to the beginning of winter it is crowded with plants at various stages of their cycles. One of the main ways I manage this is with container gardening.

By growing our edibles in containers I have managed to solve several of our 'problems'.

  1. Through our mainly 'natural' diet we generate a lot of kitchen waste. The garden also creates a huge amount of green material that we cycle back through our system. Initially I set about digging much of this straight into the garden beds themselves. The chooks also got a good look in at selected stuff also. After a while I had the garden planted out and had nowhere to bury the ever-expanding green waste and kitchen scraps. This is when the garden evolved to its current container garden state. As I explain to people, think of these containers as mini worm farms that just happen to be planted out with vegetables, because that is basically what they are.
  2. I am well aware that many home gardeners prefer to rip up any bolting plants and start a new garden rather than allow plants to complete their cycle and collect the seeds for future crops. By growing in containers it permits us to retain some of our selected plants and enable them to go to seed so we have seed for the future with the traits we are seeking for our garden and our use. It doesn't tie up extra planting area and if the plant needs moving I can easily pick it up and move it to another spot in the garden where it is out of the way and can complete its cycle to produce seed.
  3. Water preservation and use is important where we live. I will concede that containers tend to use more water than the plants would require if planted in the earth, however in our situation we use our greywater which enables me to keep much of the garden (mainly the containers) well watered. I can also tailor the water usage per container if some plants are requiring more than others. This is part of the reason that small gardens like this are able to be so intensively used - we can spend more time observing the intimacies of what is occurring in the garden. Over time, the water retention of the containers is increased as the soil improves. There is very little tilling that occurs. It is more likely that a layer of compost will be added to the container to build up the level again and plant out seeds or seedlings into.
  4. Nutrients is better utilised and recycled. Whatever nutrients I add to the containers isn't easily flushed away, so it is more likely to be present and available when the plants have use for it. Periodically I may tip the soil out into another container to bulk up the soil a bit and start over with more scraps and dirt and a new family of compost worms.
  5. Container gardens leave smaller spaces bare. Sometimes between crops I will have a container left in fallow for a short time. Usually this is something like one or two containers among many, so rather than having a large area of ground left bare there may be only a couple of containers scattered amongst others. Visually, this a appealing and pleasing to the eye and makes the garden at joy to look at most times of the year in our climate. Periodically there may be times at the turn of the seasons when there are more containers starting over again, but usually they are not far from making themselves available for seedlings. This brings me to the next point.
  6. As with other intensive gardening methods I will also start seedlings in small pots or trays and then plant them out into the containers when ready. If this is managed in good time then there isn't much of a gap between an empty container and a productive one.
  7. Containers can be moved to different spots in the garden according to the needs of the plants it holds. I have banana plants in some containers that are developing and I can move these into sunny parts of the garden depending on the time of year to maximise their exposure to the sun and warmth. This is important for our climate because although it is temperate, some plants in our garden are sub-tropical and do benefit from a bit of special care.
  8. Our Babaco (paw paw hybrid) are planted into large containers which they prefer as they don't like to be too wet. So containers are ideal for such plants that require good drainage.
Tomatoes, lettuce and zucchini in various spots.

    December 01, 2013

    Petit ParadisNovember Update 2013

    The last five months have kept us busy and distracted. So I have not posted any updates. Here is the latest.

    We have taken on a big project which will eventually involve us re-locating and has had us taking into consideration the type of house we want to live in and the form and function of the garden. More on this later.

    For now, the garden has been planted out since August with tomatoes, sunflowers, beans, lettuce, pumpkins, corn and much more. This is mainly so that I can get a large variety of fresh, new seed to see me through the next few years gardens and to increase the seed stock we have.

    Another consideration is for our growing family. Now standing at two adults, an inquisitive toddler - not quite two and a small, loud newborn as of early November. There is plenty of salad greens growing for the summer to supplement our food intake.

    I have had to really stack a lot of things into the garden in order to accommodate the various 'demands' on the garden. Some of these are:
    • Seed saving and growing out plants for new, viable seeds or greater seed supply
    • Growing plants for feeding the family
    • Propagating plants for getting ready to establish for the relocation
    • Seedling raising for planting out in the Seed Sanctuary at the Community Garden
    • Trialing new seeds to test for suitability and use. ie. Chia, buckwheat, chickpea, linseed (Some of these are being trialled for non-edible uses. For example insect attracting capabilites.)
    More on this later also. In the meantime I will be logging posts that record some of the techniques I have found to be successful in the way that we use our garden.

    November 22, 2013

    Terra Perma DesignMore Free City of Stirling workshops by popular demand

    Our last two workshops on Square Foot Gardens and Vertical gardening filled up so fast the council has asked us to repeat them, thanks for your support folks.  Get in now if you missed out the first time.
    These are free workshops for City of Stirling residents mainly but if you have been wondering about our workshops but not sure if you can afford them come along and achieve two things at once. Registration here.
    Our Gen Green workshops dates are below but there is much more going on in Stirling on that link !
    • One Square Metre - growing food in small spaces workshop, Saturday 30th November 10am-12
    • How to Create a Vertical Garden using Recycled Pallets, Saturday 14th December 10am-12

    November 09, 2013

    HumusBeingsCommunity seed sharing.

    Last weekend there was a seeds, plants and cuttings sharing event at a nearby high school. It had a pretty good turnout with lots of interesting and rare seeds and cuttings on offer. It was the most prompt I have ever seen people turn up to any event.

    Some of us didn't label our propagules very well but some folk had made little seed packets up with expiry dates and instructions. It was lovely to meet some of the good folk from a facebook gardening group I spend some time on as well, though it turned out later there were others there that I didn't manage to sus out.

    One fellow had a basket of an edible plant tuber that he's been trying to grow down south and now he's getting likeminded gardeners to try and keep them alive up here in dryer, hotter conditions. He (or rather his adorable young daughters) made us write our name and email address down so he could check how we went with growing our special little oca plants from their jellybean shaped tubers.

    It was also great to speak to some folks who had beans or other seeds or plant matter from their own cultural backgrounds. One species I got a cutting from is an ornamental but I didn't know it has edible flowers. And a thing called fishmint, that isn't a mint but does smell of fish.. haven't tried yet, it is still deciding whether to strike or not.

    It was a fun little event and many lively chats were had in a two hour space. Next time we will try and be better with name tags, cos it's good to know who the other plant fiends are in person.

    November 06, 2013

    Terra Perma DesignEdible Weeds Workshop - 23rd November - Sign up now open

    Edible Weeds Workshop - Identifying, Eating and Foraging for Wild Food
    Date: 23rd November
    Time: 1 - 3:30pm
    Cost: $60 (includes a $10 booklet with colour A4  weed identification slides).
    Couples $100 if sharing booklet.
    Venue: Innaloo
    Description: Identify and try edible weeds with Charles in his backyard. Most weeds are highly mineralised and healthy vegies and the young ones should go straight in the salad bowl. Those older stronger weeds can be put  through the animals, or make excellent green manure then mulch keeping their minerals in your garden. Other than the obvious eating you will learn what your weeds do and how to manage them.
    Feel free to BYO weeds to identify. Book here

    November 03, 2013

    Freo PermiesNext Blitz is on Sunday November 17th at 8.30am

    Coolbellup Permablitz - Sunday November 17th 8.45am (incl. Food forest soil prep, lunch, and learning from Sam’s garden) Register at

    October 14, 2013

    HumusBeingsMy turn at the amazing Perth City Farm.

    Twenty years ago a bunch of people with vision and determination started a place called Perth City Farm right next to the city and the train line. Over the years the management has changed a few times, dozens of good folk have come and gone while behind the scenes Men of the Trees over see what goes on with the farm. The site isn't all that large but it has a good area of built space, vege gardens, loads of compost and the accumulated love and knowledge and sweat and, no doubt some tears, to be what it is today, an excellent working example of urban agriculture, growing chemical free food in the city.

    Many people i know have worked there over the years and I recently had the opportunity to be in charge of the nursery. This is pretty exciting as I love growing plants. It is a very cool chance to grow some interesting permaculture plants  to sell in the nursery. More perennial things ... asparagus, globe artichokes, moringa and also some tough and pretty plants to attract beneficial insects, such as Salvias and various daisies.

    As long as the retic works and we can keep up with planting out on the farm it's gonna be some fun making plants to sell.

    And, it's been really good to have a weekend, not working Saturdays is wayyyyy cool.

    October 08, 2013

    Fair HarvestYoga at Fair Harvest 6.30 am Tuesdays and Fridays

    Yoga at Fair Harvest 6.30 am Tuesdays and Fridays Starting January 28th (no yoga between Jan 12 – 16)   Living a Permaculture life is living a life based on caring for the Earth and each other. Focusing energy on farm and community is fantastic but for me it has to start with looking after […]

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    September 28, 2013

    HumusBeingsRarer perennial vegetables.

    I have the opportunity to grow some interesting perennial herbs and vegetables. One of these will be yakon, a South America plant that is gradually becoming more available in Perth as people share it and the circle of yakon keepers gets gradually wider. We are also going to grow some asparagus, yam beans and other cool stuff. I will post more once we have some going.

    September 13, 2013

    Freo PermiesExciting upcoming Seed Savers workshops!

    Hello all, We are so glad to finally let you know that we have some really important and wonderful events coming up for the seed freedom fortnight in October.Including a once in a lifetime seed savers masterclass by Julie Firth! Julie hasn’t taught here in the city for over 10 years and her workshop usually...

    September 08, 2013

    Fair HarvestOpen Edible Gardens Oct 26th and 27th 2013

    Open Edible Gardens  Oct 26th and 27th 2013 Open Edible Gardens Weekend 26/27th October This is your chance to see twelve local edible landscapes and meet the gardeners who have developed them. The gardens range from small plots to paddock, private to public, ordered to eclectic. Some have been established for many years, others only […]

    The post Open Edible Gardens Oct 26th and 27th 2013 appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

    September 04, 2013

    Fair HarvestCompost Making and Worm Farming

    Compost Making and Worm Farming March  18th 2014   4pm – 5.30 pm $25 We are constantly enriching our soils through composting and worm farming here at Fair Harvest.  hot compost, cool compost, worm farms………what makes each one of them different and which one is the most appropriate for your family. “Create No Waste” is […]

    The post Compost Making and Worm Farming appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

    Fair HarvestLocalvore on the news

    It’s fantastic to have so many people interested in eating local food, even the local news. It’s an interesting angle they took on our “localvore month” but the best thing is that they are interested, hopefully encouraging more people to think about where their food is coming from. Click the link below to see a […]

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    September 02, 2013

    Terra Perma DesignCity of Stirling Generation Green Workshops by Terra Perma

    Terra Perma has won a City of Stirling contract to run three workshops on permaculture and related urban food growing as part of the Generation Green . The first workshop will be Introduction to Permaculture workshop, Saturday 14 September 2013, 11.00am - 3.00pm.
    Its a free workshop for City of Stirling residents so if you have been wondering about our workshops but not sure if you can afford them, come along and achieve two things at once. Currently the only way to register is by ringing the Stirling Sustainability Officer on 9205 8555,  but keep an eye on their website for registration details coming out this week.
    Our Gen Green workshops are:
    • Introduction to Permaculture workshop, Saturday 14 September 2013, 11.00am - 3.00pm
    • One Square Metre - growing food in small spaces workshop, Sunday 20 October 2013, 2.00pm -4.00pm
    • How to Create a Vertical Garden using Recycled Pallets, Saturday 2 November 2013, 2.00pm - 4.00pm

    Fair HarvestBeginners Bee Keeping Feb 8th 2014

    Beginners Bee Keeping with Luke Fulton With so many people realising the importance of bees in our lives, our gardens and our food cycles we are introducing our first bee keeping course. Luke Fulton is a passionate local beekeeper and is ready to share his knowledge to get you started on the bee keeping journey. […]

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    August 27, 2013

    Fair HarvestBee Fair October 6th 2013

    Bee Fair October 6th 2013 at Fair Harvest 10 am – 4pm A celebration of the humble bee. Join us for a day of celebrating bees, beekeeping, honey, wax and  the wonders of the bee world. We all know that bees are an important part of our lives, but how important are they really, could […]

    The post Bee Fair October 6th 2013 appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

    August 26, 2013

    Fair HarvestGeology can be fun

    Geology can be fun   This four week course will cover a wide range discussions on Western Australian geology, commencing 4.6 billion years ago to why we now have so many wild flowers and why Margaret River produces such good wine and has fast left hand breaks. Lots of brilliantly executed diagrams, photos and a […]

    The post Geology can be fun appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

    August 23, 2013

    Fair HarvestBasket Weaving Classes with Cynamon Sept 15th 2013

    Basket Weaving Classes with Cynamon   Cynamon Aeria is a local weaver, felter, drummer and textile artist, she uses locally found plants to make beautiful traditional baskets and other creative works. Joining in a weaving circle with Cynamon is not only learning the art of weaving, it is sitting in a creative circle of craftsmanship, […]

    The post Basket Weaving Classes with Cynamon Sept 15th 2013 appeared first on Fair Harvest Permaculture.

    August 22, 2013

    HumusBeingsIt's been good having time to clean up the garden.

    Hiding the neighbours with gum trees.
    Having a tidy up in the garden again. Having moved a large pile of twiggy sticks and had a few fires to get rid of them, we now have one last stack left and they will hopefully go tonight. This has left a large open flattish area in the far back of the garden, near the young tuart tree. Next to that is now a young flowering gum, Corymbia ficifolia, in case the tuart dies. If the tuart doesn't die, then two large trees won't take up much more room than one at that spacing. 
    It would be pretty good to make the flat area into a sitting or lounging spot. We shall see...

    Funny thing is, I should be cleaning the house for a visit from relatives soon, but cleaning up the garden is so much more satisfying.

    August 21, 2013

    HumusBeingsIt would be great to eat some food from the garden.

    Maybe this year the rats, snails, slugs and slaters might let us eat some of our vegies. Oh and the tomato borer grubs and caterpillars. Maybe we'll get to eat some tomatoes from heirloom seed or ripe red capsicums.

    That would be unreal. It's kind of an expensive hobby to buy or grow good seedlings and then have them disappeared overnight by filthy Rattus or Helix.

    Nets will be a new addition to fruiting tomatoes and capsicums, to prevent borers. I have found a few old mosquito nets and net curtains to cover any stone fruit in pots that feel like fruiting. Maybe, if we're very lucky some fruits of our labour will actually make it to the kitchen.

    Sowing seeds and cleairng spots for future plantings is a satisfying task as is creating some visual screens from various neighbours and making little trellis areas for beans.

    Resting now to make a fire from many untidy sticks we have knocking around taking up room that could be used for, well, something, surely. I'm trying to get as much done as i can before the temperatures start to rise again, including clearing any flammable material thats lying about. Hence, the fire.. hooray.

    August 16, 2013

    Terra Perma DesignCharles's Occasional Gardening Role at Absolutely Organic

    We finally got a website up at Absolutely Organic WA so I thought I would share it here.
    While I normally share my plants freely with friends if you come over for a chat to my place in Innaloo, I now have the paid job to grow the kitchen garden and propagate permie plants behind the Absolutely Organic store.
    Certainly the best job in the shop as Annie Dunn keeps telling me :) !!
    They are a great family business and only 500m away so I could not ask for a better part time job as a home dad !

    August 15, 2013

    HumusBeingsSeed sowing for spring.

    Finally sowed some seeds today for spring's arrival soon.
    I only sowed a few of each so I don't waste any and will make sure I label them when they get planted too.

     I did a large seed order with Green Harvest recently. WA has recently had new quarantine inpsection fees introduced that allow them to charge $56 per 15 minutes insppection of any seeds from interstate or overseas. I bought a bunch of seeds while Green Harvest offered to pay the fee, so I can try and save a new generation of heirloom seeds that is more localised.

    August 13, 2013

    Freo PermiesUpcoming Freo Permies events!

    Hi Permies!   We have loads of exciting stuff coming up over the next month or so! With a new PDC group in the making, we have organised a very special visit to Jetto’s Patch, an urban Permaculture inspired Food Forest! Michele & Dario have a huge facebook following, and have appeared in the media...
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