Tom Kendall from the Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast talks about planting into an existing zone in a rainforest environment on his Permaculture Demonstration Site Maungaraeeda.
Tom runs Permaculture Design Certificate and 8 week Practical courses as well as Certificate and Diploma courses in Kin Kin in the Noosa Hinterland on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. He and his wife Zaia are also in the process of setting up the Permaculture Research Institute Luganville, Vanuatu, to help local people manage their abundant natural resources in a Permaculture way.
Soil degradation can be a depressing topic. It is generally accepted that the decline in soil quality across Australia following European settlement has been extensive, and extreme in some areas.
Soil degradation involves a reduction in soil quality, and this can refer to a decline in physical, chemical or biological properties, or to the actual loss of soil through erosion and transport away from the land. And these are commonly inter-related through positive feedbacks which amplify the effect of changes in one factor by limiting or generating changes in other factors.
Soil erosion degrades soil in a literal sense – the height of the soil is actually lowered. I often think of gully erosion as a giant network of agricultural drains. Similar in effect to someone who wanted to drain excess water from their backyard, and so dug trenches to get the water away. This, of course, is not a great result in grazing or cropping lands within the driest continent on earth.
I want to focus on the degradation of soil properties, rather than erosion, as they are of critical importance to anyone who is growing things, and they can often involve similar approaches for remediation or improvement.
Soil degradation is often thought of as a ‘spiral’ of degradation. Commonly, the loss of a protective layer of plants leads to a loss of soil carbon (organic matter) through burning, clearing, ploughing or over-grazing. This loss of plants reduces the layer of litter on the ground and can expose the soil surface to raindrops which cause a crust to form, reduces the amount of plant roots within the soil which are necessary for good soil structure (peds and crumbs) and provide organic matter to fuel the soil biota (such as bacteria, fungi and protozoa) and their foodweb.
As a positive feedback, these changes reduce the factors needed for plants to grow: air and water through soil structure, and the availability of nutrients through nutrient exchanges with soil biota. Physical, chemical and biological factors with the soil decline in concert since they are all inter-dependent.
Eagles Deep is a 250 acre farm located high in a valley in the foothills of the Victorian highlands managed and hosted by project manager Carl Wantrup and farm manager Joe Herbert. David Spicer commented this is one of the fastest growing permaculture projects he has been involved with. A testament to the work ethic and commitment from its caretakers.
At the start of June David Spicer and Danial Lawton paired up to deliver a permaculture earthmoving course at the emerging Eagles Deep. It was a bloody cold week with sheets of ice on tents, group huddles around the campfire, lessons in the paddock and Joe’s amazing chef skills pleasing our palettes and warming our souls.
David, Carl and Joe came together a year and a half ago to start the major earthworks, water catchment, dam repair and tree planting project. This team combined vision, bravery, skill and experience which let the work speak for itself. In this time David has completed the major earthworks and over 2000 trees of around 100 varieties have been planted by Joe and Carl as well other additions. It is said sometimes you do not find a good book, it finds you. This may be the case with this property. Carl and Joe’s vision to apply a sustainable, profitable farming paradigm led them to the last property on their viewing list after an intensive 2 month search. Jumping the fence for a look, Eagles Deep became a reality. Danial has also been involved with the project early, having the knowledge and skills necessary to set up the off grid solar system and is well worth a chat to in this area.
You’ve spent the time and effort growing your produce, nurturing and watching over it as it sprouts into life. One of the most rewarding areas of agriculture and home gardening for me is using this produce to create mouth-watering, healthy & delicious treats for my family (and me!) to snack on. Something about home-grown just makes food taste so much better!
Because I’m always outside tending to my urban garden, I don’t always have the time to prepare food or full meals using the produce I have grown. This is the main reason I love creating and experimenting with smoothies and various blends of my fruit & veg – Not only do they taste great, but they can also be made with such little effort in next to no time at all. 2 of the following recipes are quick and easy smoothies that anybody can make, the third is a perfect side dish but still just as tasty and simple to put together.
If you are looking for a healthy new treat you can make with food you have grown, I strongly recommend a few combinations to really get those taste-buds kicking. As always though, don’t feel limited to my suggestions, they are merely some tasty ideas I found from my own experiments. You may find you like something completely different to me, and could try adding in various extra items to your smoothies. Either way, the aim here is to put the rewards of our urban gardening efforts into fruition, and enjoy the produce as you so rightly deserve.
I should also point out that all of these work great as a daily detox drink, helping to clean your body from the inside and flush out all those nasty toxins. A healthy body is a happy body.
Without further delay, here are some of the beautiful arrangements I found playing around with my blender and some fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden.
Daniel Halsey, shows you the home of sustainable forestry for a thousand years, Lebanon has a history of foreign occupation, only matched by its resilient ability to maintain its resources in spite of political and social oppression. Imagine trees coppiced every 80 years, not annually or every few years. That takes dedication to long term sustainable practices, where generations honor a vision resources for their descendants and limit consumption. Some trees here are at least 500 years old and have been coppiced only 5 times for lumber.
Flat-out, no arguments, the debate over, we as a society are producing far too much waste, and we’ve been doing it for far too long. It’s not sustainable. The earth is suffering, the environment giving way to the age of rubbish, to swirling masses of garbage in the ocean and oceans of garbage on the land. And, while there is much blame to be put on evil corporations and urbanization, a lot of waste is produced in just the average household, our homes, but luckily, there are ways to change that.
As practitioners of permaculture, we should be at least striving to create waste-free environments, finding methods to cycle everything we use into productive systems rather than destructive messes. Unfortunately, the inefficient design webs in which we are caught mean that it takes extra effort on our parts to make things right. Reducing our waste means bucking current trends and rediscovering what works best for us and nature. So, the garden is a great place to start.
For the Gofundme page to help out, please click here.
ENGLISH VERSION and VERSION FRANCAISE
Help us to achieve our dream of a greener future and support us on the way to a practical Permaculture Experience.
We’re a young couple, Marie & Patrick, both 33 years old and Europeans. We have a wonderful three years old boy, called Noé and whom we’re self-educating (home schooling). We’re actually living in France, in the Bordeaux area, where we worked out a community project, including different common areas and natural gardens.
Patrick recently applied for a 2 years Practical Permaculture Diploma with Geoff Lawton (see the video below) at the Permaculture Research Institute at Zaytuna Farm in New South Wales, Australia.
Join us on June 28th 2015, for the opportunity to learn about permaculture principles and techniques from permaculture specialist Rhamis Kent, whilst experiencing the culture, food and traditions of beautiful Altamura just few Km away from Matera which has been recently designated European Capital of Culture in 2019!
The Permaculture Design Certificate course is an internationally recognized, seventy-two hour course resulting in a Permaculture Design Certificate. It provides an introduction to permaculture design as set forth by movement founder Bill Mollison. The course is taught by Rhamis Kent in English and translated into Italian by Ignazio Schettini.
This is an amazing opportunity which thousands of permaculture designers worldwide have taken and now comprises a global network of educators, ecological activists who influence major corporations, individuals creating new business alternatives and groups of committed people working together to change the way we view and design our landscapes.
The course covers sustainable living systems for a wide variety of landscapes and climates. It includes the application of permaculture principles to food production, home design, construction, energy conservation and generation, and explores alternative economic structures and legal strategies supporting permaculture solutions.
This “Perma-Tech” Renewable Energy Course is no ordinary offering by any means!
On completion, you will gain a multi-faceted view of how to design and construct an advanced next generation solar power system and be able to relate to others on how to do the same; In other words, it is a ” Solar Trainers Training Course”!
Make no mistake; this is a renewable energy “boot camp” and is not for the faint hearted. The weekend will start with the nuts and bolts of Solar Physics and electronics, active and passive solar building design and minimising the electrical load and it will be finished off with the hands on building a mini system that will be a working replica of a full-size system. This mini system can be purchased at a low nominal price at the end of the course.
When you clear your desk and zip up your pencil case you are going to understand not only the watt-hour and kilowatt hour (ENERGY), you will also know the reason the MOSFET transistor changed the industry forever. You will know all the technical jargon you need to get inside the workings of these incredible next generation solar energy systems, which can be installed in urban and farming areas, holiday homes and caravans and even in your motor vehicle and most importantly, the succinct fact that renewable energy systems are only good for the environment if they repay their embodied energy. Just because you install a solar system doesn’t necessarily guarantee that you have done the right thing for future generations; far from it!
Water harvesting feature upgrades, complete by the first week of March, were installed just in time for an explosion in plant growth and general garden activity. By March 14th, total temperature variation during the day was well above normal: the lows were higher than the average high temperature. We experienced over ten days where the low temperature remained around 60F (15.5C). Growing temperature is considered to be 50F or 10C, so we were well into spring. Remember that the “last frost date” for our region is May 1st. A month and a half beforehand, the garden burst into life.
The idea of keeping chickens at home is one that appeals to a growing number of people around the world. It’s not just that you’ll get “free” eggs and chicken meat, it’s also that the produce from the chickens you keep is known to be free from all the unsavoury “stuff” (including harmful antibiotics and synthetic colouring) commercial chicken eggs and poultry are known to contain. But if you’re going to keep your own flock of chickens, you need to set it up the right way, and then maintain the flock so that they stay healthy, and so do you.
Having decided to set up your own flock of chickens, there are several routes you can take. The two that usually work the best are:
1. Buy one or more adult hens from a reputable source and give them fertilized eggs (also from a reputable source) to sit on. If you start with properly pedigreed chickens, your ultimate flock will be superior. 2. Buy a flock of young chicks, please ensure that the chicks are not separated from the mother hen at an inappropriate age, from a reputable breeder. Then wait for the hens to grow up and lay their own eggs that your best rooster will fertilize, and they will sit on.
The option to avoid is having chickens shipped in the mail.
Ultimately, anyone wanting a sustainable flock of chickens should be focusing on quality of bird, and not quantity. If you buy from commercial hatcheries, you should be aware that they don’t usually breed selectively, and because of this, aggressive traits are not ruled out.