December 18, 2013
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
|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.|
December 16, 2013
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
December 09, 2013
|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.|
|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.|
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
|A Bronze-wing Pigeon arrives of an afternoon to search for seeds.|
|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.|
|A juvenile Willy Wagtail that was seen recently one morning. A very welcome sign in the garden.|
December 06, 2013
December 05, 2013
|The pond is a point of fascination in the garden and is childproofed (and cat proofed) by weld mesh and aquatic plants.|
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.
|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.|
|Strawberries get all the sun and attention from family members they could want.|
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
- 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.
December 03, 2013
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 […]
December 02, 2013
|Frost beans - looking plumper, larger and shinier than the original beans I received due to seed saving practices.|
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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.
- 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.)
Seed Saving Workshop Saturday Dec 14th 2013 1pm – 5pm Learn how to successfully grow, save and share your own seeds. Claire Coleman will explain why we need to grow seed, the difference between hybrid, F1 and GM and the importance of plant families and avoiding the crossing of varieties, she will then follow with […]
November 22, 2013
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
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
Date: 23rd November
Time: 1 - 3:30pm
Cost: $60 (includes a $10 booklet with colour A4 weed identification slides).
Couples $100 if sharing booklet.
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
November 02, 2013
Weekly program As we get more and more visitors and enquiries we felt it was time to get a weekly timetable out so you know when its OK to drop by and how you can visit. We hope this program helps you in making plans to visit our gardens and other permaculture systems. Monday Farm […]
October 14, 2013
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
Yoga at Fair Harvest 6.30 am Tuesdays and Fridays 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 the self, otherwise something is likely to give (how many […]
September 28, 2013
September 13, 2013
September 08, 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 […]
September 04, 2013
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 […]
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 […]
September 02, 2013
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
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. […]
August 27, 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 […]
August 26, 2013
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 […]
August 23, 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.
August 22, 2013
|Hiding the neighbours with gum trees.|
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
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
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
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
August 06, 2013
New course coordinator……and a new program of courses It’s been a fantastic first year of being open to the public. Our aim of running great courses about healthy, local and sustainable subjects has been fulfilled. We have had workshops in the garden (permaculture, pruning, compost making, aquaponics) and workshops in the kitchen (cheese making, preserving, […]
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August 04, 2013
Reflections at the end of the Localvore month So the month is over, the kettle is on and I can eat and drink what ever I like, I don’t have to use the wood fired stove any more (but I’ve lit it anyway) and I’m allowed to use my car again (but I wish I […]
July 23, 2013
Localvore…….final week and a bag of flour After three weeks of going without grains and seeds and missing bread, pasta, rice, muesli and other staple products I have bought a bag of Eden Valley Biodynamic flour. Its mid winter and I decided to do this challenge (see more) only a couple of weeks before it […]
July 17, 2013
Localvore…..2 weeks in For the Month of July I am being a Localvore, that is I am eating what is grown here on the farm and trading some produce with other local growers from our town, Margaret River in the South West of Australia. I have also chosen not to use my car for the […]
July 16, 2013
Learn how to Grow Fish and Veggies at the same time with Tony Carruthers August 24th 2013 Tony Carruthers is coming to Margaret River in August to teach another course in home Aquaponics. Starting the day at Fair Harvest to learn the theory, you will then move on to Pamela Forward’s home in Margaret River […]
July 13, 2013
July 12, 2013
Swapping is the best Following The Joy of the Humble Spud There is a certain pleasure derived from swapping that you just cant get from buying and selling. Swapping involves people and stories, you can’t swap something without having a chat, quite often a cuppa and depending on the time of day a bottle of […]
July 10, 2013
The Joy of the Humble Spud Following Ode to the Broad Bean and Localvore for a Month After a week on the farm I woke up on Saturday morning to a beautiful, clear, freezing winters day and decided to ride my bike to the farmers market. It’s a 5 km ride sloping gently downhill all the […]
July 08, 2013
Jodie lane and Dorothee Perez are Fair Harvest Permaculture, just outside of Margaret River in Western Australia. Jodie and Dorothee embody and share everything they love and know about Permaculture, Community and the human spirit. Here Jodie tells us a little more about the history of Fair Harvest, what they do and where they are […]
July 07, 2013
Ode to the Broad Bean (continued from “Plastic Free July…taking the challenge one step further” and Localvore for a month) I’ve always been impressed with broad beans (otherwise known as fava beans), they are truly a plant that grows with our seasons. Plant them when the rains start (you can still plant them now) and […]
July 04, 2013
Growers Shared Meal Wow what a fantastic idea from the wonderful Heather the Kitchen Crusader, to create a Pop up restaurant that deals in produce. Great idea till you really start getting down to the nitty gritty of “who brings what and how much and who buys the stuff that nobody brings???” but we weren’t... [Continue Reading]
Localvore for a Month
Well here I am into my 3rd day of “Live of the Land July”, I have to say that the first couple of days weren’t much to talk about as I was grumpy and exhausted, lost my old dog, had a sick cow and would have killed for a coffee. I ate tangelos from the tree, pumpkin soup, a couple of eggs, a delicious garden salad and a strange green garden soup which just tasted a bit too green.
It’s amazing how “local” we think we eat until we make an absolute point of it. I keep opening up the cupboard and seeing things that just don’t pass; the delicious “locally made muesli” full of ingredients that I know aren’t grown anywhere near here, the beautiful “locally baked organic bread” with flour from a few hundred kilometers away, the spices I love to put in my food, the tamari I love to put on everything, nothing passes the test!
Enough for complaining! thank goodness for our freshly pressed olive oil and thank you Kylie for bringing locally collected salt to our last swap day, it is precious and important stuff and I’m already thinking about a bike or horse ride to the beach on a salt collecting mission. But what to pack for lunch ……
My carbohydrate intake has definitely diminished hugely and nothing quite satisfies a hungry tum like a good carb meal, with no easy carbs available (bread, pasta, rice, porridge) I am constantly looking at foods and assessing how much of a carbohydrate hit I’m likely to get from them. pumpkin is good, canna is surprisingly good and I wish we had planted our spuds earlier, I’m interested in what the local indigenous people ate for carbs at this time of the year , something to research.
So what is our favorite dish so far? I think it’s the amazing kale chips. With an abundance of brassicas in the garden, a wood stove going constantly and plenty of olive oil and salt, kale chips are the perfect snack. I have a beef and (dried) broad bean stew on the go with some tomato sauce frozen from summer to be eaten with …you guessed it …..roasted canna roots!
This journey has two important aspects to me, firstly it is to slow down my life enough so that I am truly doing what I believe in and living with the rhythm of the land, this is for my self and for my health. The other is the bigger picture, the question of what we are growing in our local community that would truly sustain us if we needed to rely on it. More thoughts to come…
July 01, 2013
Terra Perma Design — Terra Perma's team busy educating the masses and promoting permaculture ideas on National TV and fighting the good fights against WA's new seed laws.
Videos below are Garden Guru's Trevor Cochrane visiting Charles's place and Gardening Australia's Costa visiting Tash and Tod's place, if you have not seen them already.
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June 24, 2013
|Strawberry guava, with ridiculous amounts of fruit forming.|
|Grevillea Robin Hood, to hide neighbours and attract birds.|
|Dragon fruit flower|
|Yummy figs, picked before the rats get to them.|
|Caper bush. Tough plant that takes lots of sun and loves limestone.It has pretty flowers too.|
June 22, 2013
PLastic Free July………taking the challenge one step further.
I love the idea of plastic free July and how it has captured the imagination of so many people. Things really are starting to change, and in our small community of Margaret River more and more people are thinking seriously about the choices they make in their lives and how it affects the planet.
For me July was planned to be a month off, a month on the farm with nothing else to do except to love and look after this beautiful place, my relationship and my animals. I was totally oblivious to the “Plastic Free July” movement I’m afraid to say, and even when I first heard of it I thought it was a local thing. Anyway I’m aware now that is a fantastic global movement and everyone is getting on board (we are even hosting the local launch right here on June 30).
I find going shopping stressful to say the least, “is it local?”, “is it organic?”, “Australian made”, “GM free”, “plastic wrapped ?”, “Fair Trade?”, for someone that wants to do the right thing there’s a helluva lot of decisions to make, then “do I drive my car in?” which I’m afraid I do just a little too often these days.
So the combination of a month off and Plastic Free July led me to make a whole new challenge….”Live off the Land July”
Here’s my guidelines to myself
Eat food that we have grown here on the farm
Swap and barter with neighbors
Ride my bike and my horse only for transport
Cook only using wood (grown on the farm)
Use only hot water from the wood stove or compost shower
I think my diet is still going to be way more diverse than 90% of the worlds population, but I think I’m probably going to be searching for carbohydrates. Keeping in mind that I didn’t plan for this months in advance I have not been planting to feed myself.
What I do have……abundant greens, citrus, stored pumpkins, some root crops (beetroots, turnips, leeks), olive oil, some eggs (if the chooks would lay), honey and a little frozen beef and pork from last year. I also have things like edible canna (never very tasty but plenty of it and it’s a carb), heaps of guildford grass (which I’ve never tried but apparently the bulbs are good). If a cow drops a calf and all goes well I will have milk products to.
What I don’t have……..grain (thats the big one)! tea, coffee, chocolate
If a special, organic, fair trade, paper wrapped chocolate parcel arrived in the mail from a good friend in Ecuador I would not turn it away …..I’m not that crazy!
The post PLastic Free July………taking the challenge one step further. appeared first on Fair Harvest.
June 20, 2013
I collected a bucketful a couple of months back and did the soaking, rinsing rigmarole and then finally bottled them last week. These are from a housing estate near my place. I found out the other day that one of the neighbours up the road has been collecting the olives from the trees along her street and making oil out of them. Hilton Harvest community garden had a community olve oil event last month too, where everyone collected local olives, weighed them, all were taken to a place to be pressed and the people got back their quota.
It may be that soon someone in the local area may buy an olive press for the community to use. That would be easier than having to drive a tonne of olives to Upper Swan or wherever.
It's great to see people making use of local resources.
Now, hopefully, my olives won't be horrible when I get to try them in a couple of months time...