A lady beetle deficiency

My eggplants were doing fine until we got a lot of rain and a bit of heat and then kaboom, red spider mites infestation. These tiny little arachnids, the size of a sharp pencil dot, cluster on the underside of leaves and suck the plant juices. In response, the plant develop scar tissues (brown holes … Continue reading A lady beetle deficiency

Dry Summer aftermath

I am walking our micro market garden aisles, checking the organic/biodynamic goodies that I will place on our stall table at the upcoming inaugural Yarramalong Market, and I reflect on how challenging it is to grow food… and yet, how seemingly trivial it is when, as a consumer, we pick perfect looking veggies at the … Continue reading Dry Summer aftermath

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 … Continue reading Keeping the soil food web alive

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 … Continue reading Ancient technique to save your Summer garden

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 … Continue reading Perennial leeks for the subtropical garden

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 … Continue reading Insect hotel for habitat and resilience

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 … Continue reading Design from patterns to details

Mid-winter harvest (and how a permaculture garden survives six weeks of neglect)

We're back from a long trip and I come home to a garden that is pumping food (and some weeds too!). During that time we've been away, I believe the garden survived on its own, fed by the diverse organic matter and soil biota which I have lovingly helped establish and by the occasional rain. … Continue reading Mid-winter harvest (and how a permaculture garden survives six weeks of neglect)

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 … Continue reading A market to grow farmers

Settling into Autumn

Here is a collection of pictures taken today... See you at one of our courses to learn more about permaculture design, forest gardening or simply to hang out in our beautiful little valley! Part-time Permaculture Course held on our farm in Jilliby (NSW Central Coast) – 6 August to 12 November 2016 Residential Permaculture Course … Continue reading Settling into Autumn

Double digging for bio-intensive garden

Composts, animal manure, green manure, cover crops, no dig gardening… there is a plethora of options when it comes to raising, naturally, the fertility of our soils. The year we established our veggie patch we did no-dig gardening, the second year we did trench and leap-frog composting, last year we did crop rotation… This year … Continue reading Double digging for bio-intensive garden

The ultimate permaculture plant – Queensland Arrowroot

Queensland Arrowroot is a perennial clump-forming plant of the same family as the ornamental Canna Lilly. It grows up to 2m in warm temperate, subtropical and tropical landscapes. It has an edible tuber, thick stalks and large bright green rounded leaves. Once a clump is established, it resists well to wind, it tolerates mild frost … Continue reading The ultimate permaculture plant – Queensland Arrowroot