Lets face it container gardening is a great, practical gardening technique with multiple functions. Not only is it good for renters and city dwellers who have limited space and no permission to garden from their landlords, it is an ideal technique when there may be lead contamination. Considering that lead was legally used in paints up until the 1970’s, if your home was built before then chances are you have high levels of lead in your soil. To make matters worse the lead is typically concentrated right around the edges of your house where paint was scraped, this is often the best place to put your zone 1 kitchen and herb gardens. The good news is container gardens are a cost effective solution to potential lead contamination that is easy on the back to plant and easy to weed. One of the downsides of this technique is that they can dry out quicker than beds in the ground, needing to be watered more often.
I have found the traditional, low cost and low tech irrigation system, the ol-la, to be a perfect solution for irrigating container gardens. The olla is an unglazed ceramic pot, that is buried in the bed, and filled with water. Be-cause it is not glazed the water is able to slowly sink into the container. When the plant needs water, it uses capillary action and pulls the water out of the olla and into its root system. Since the olla is buried in the container it sends water to the subsurface leaving the top layer of the soil dry, thus discouraging weeds and soil compaction which are two downsides to surface watering.
We are nearing the deadline of our Vanuatu fundraiser (less than one day!) and to give things a boost we decided to auction 3 PDC courses on Ebay! The courses will be taught by Tom Kendall of PRI Sunshine Coast, in Luganville, Vanuatu in 2016 and bidding starts at $750, or Buy It Now is $1500!
We are very close to the target and need your help!
That is well below standard prices and it may appeal to your friends or family that have been wanting to do a PDC but have yet to get around to it. Please forward these links to those people you think may benefit, or if you haven’t done a PDC yet, now is your chance to do it at a great price and help the people of Vanuatu in the process! Auctions will finish in 4 days.
For more about this site, the plans for it’s development and to learn about the people this will assist, please read on.
Vision for the future:
The idea is to establish the demonstration site with as little dependency on cash injections as possible. To keep this project sustainable it needs to be self-funded (by running PDC’s and other courses) and independent – using locally available resources and skills.
We aim to have the project managed by locals within 3 years, handing over the managing of the site and courses, whilst continuing to oversee, advise and support as needed.
‘We aim to show them that they have such wonderful traditions and such an abundant natural environment, that they will be able to support that abundance by learning how to work with nature in the Permaculture way.’ Zaia Kendall
Medicinal mushrooms have a restorative effect on humans and the land. Mushrooms have a profound ability to boost the immune system, fight cancers, and improve functioning of important organs. They also help to rehabilitate damaged and polluted environments. If used in a farm or permaculture system, the mushrooms can improve the health of the owner and the land.
These five species of mushrooms help balance and heal the human body and the ecosystem.
Guide for selecting the best Australian suited flowers and plants to benefit the bees, pollinators and your garden.
Flowers across Melbourne has put together a very detailed piece about the benefits and drawbacks to different types of plants/ flowers and herbs for Bees. This is a very informative read and we thank Flowers across Melbourne for allowing us to share it. Please visit their site here, they have quite a number of well written articles.
Bees are hardworking and often underappreciated just like you and me right!
So we have decided to make life a little easier for our fuzzy friends by planting in our own gardens a few of their favorite flowers and hopefully you will too.
Without the Aussie native bees or introduced honeybees we wouldn’t have a flower industry, let alone life as we know it. Australia is one of the top ten honey producing countries in the world; honeybees are essential to both the agricultural and horticultural segments of the flower industry thanks to their pollination services, not to mention the raw flavored and unflavored honeys, royal jelly and pollen. Urban environments also benefit from their activities. Planting bee forages for honeybee nutrition can offer major benefits to the industry and to society as a whole. Although Australia’s existing resource of flora is plentiful and well-suited to the needs of the honeybee industry, its future is precarious.
Did you know that Australia has over 1,500 species of native bee which are non-aggressive and some of them do not even sting! And there are over 25,000 species of bee worldwide with new ones being recognized every day. If you would like to see more of our native bees out and about then check out the native bee section at the end of this post.
For all these reasons gardeners from Brisbane to Perth and everywhere in between will plant perennial pastures and bee forages. So do farmers and municipalities. The following guide is designed to teach you about some of the best Australian suited flowers that will attract and keep the Aussie bees happy in your gardens. Before diving right in, there are several essential things you should know when designing and cultivating your own bee garden. Whether you’re planning an herb garden, formal garden, or low-maintenance plot with herb borders follow the following tips for success.
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.
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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.