Tansy against flies

Summer brings out the flies – fruit fly, bush fly, house fly, vinegar fly, cluster fly, sand fly, horse fly, blow fly… Flies are annoying at best, painful at worst. They lay eggs where their young will forage and soon maggots pulse and swarm in a truly disgusting sight. I have come, though, to appreciate…

Keeping the soil food web alive

It took me six years of gardening to come to the conclusion that my garden watering schedule was detrimental to my soils. I saw “watering” the garden as a mean to “provide moisture to the plants”. I forgot that the soil micro organisms need a drink too.” A large number of the plants survived on…

Ancient technique to save your Summer garden

Summer can be a deal-breaker when it comes to growing moisture loving seedlings and plants. Unless you have a reticulated drip-irrigation system –which I don’t have, you need to water the veggies quite often to expect a decent harvest. Often that means those fragile seedlings get damping off problems or mildew when you sprinkle water…

Perennial leeks for the subtropical garden

From twelve little ‘leeklets’ planted two years ago, I now grow our year-worth supply of leek for our family. Unlike annual leek that are slow growing, grown from seeds and intolerant of subtropical heat, perennial leek grows a bit smaller and thinner, with more green than white part, and they remain unfazed by our summer…

Insect hotel for habitat and resilience

We recently hosted a small party of permaculture aficionados who came to spend a few hours with us here, share a meal, tools, skills, conversations, friendship and fun… Kids played together, hammering nails into wood and going to and fro the sand pit, patting baby chicken and rabbits along the way, brushing against the plants…

Making laundry soap to reduce waste

We have been very lucky here to host Isa from Brazil who taught us and our PDC students how to make basic laundry-type soap from used cooking oil. Used oil (cooking oil) is not easily disposable. You can compost it with lots of wood chips. I suppose you can give it to your chooks in…

Enriching our resilience

Here is a collection of pictures from our part-time PDC. Every day we start with a practicum session – we get our hands dirty, we energize our body and ground ourselves with skills that enrich our resilience and perpetuate traditional life skills. Last week, we were blessed to be able to visit Jacky, Gary and…

PDC Jilliby 2016

We kick-started our part-time PDC last week, hugging close to our outdoor stove and wrapped in blankets (the sun was a tad shy!). Right here on our farm, there is a large multi-purpose carport that, in true permaculture spirit, fulfills many functions. And one of them is to host our class.   There are also…

Design from patterns to details

We come from families of farmers and gardeners and they are, like everybody else, growing old. They’ve always managed their gardens the same, traditional, way ; carting in wheelbarrow-full of composts and manures to enrich the soil, ploughing with a rotary hoe, planting densely, weeding by hand, etc. The older they’re getting, the lesser the…

A market to grow farmers

We’re away on a trip overseas and in the small town where we are there is a farmers’ market twice a week. Yes, twice a week! Locals come and get their fresh produce, have a chat with the farmer and other patrons of the market, they meet friends or make new ones. I find this…

We think, therefore we eat

A major ingredient in simple living is mindfulness… this means to pay attention, to engage our mind, to be aware, switched-on, to think and deduce. It also means to make informed choices, and sometimes to accept some compromises. When it comes to eating, we’ve now come to doing it robotically, without thinking. We blindly believe…