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

Ticks. Dead. On contact.

Ticks used to start coming out of winter dormancy in October/November at the farm. Now this year, I saw them crawl on us and our furry animals by the end of August!!! It must be warmer, no doubt. I normally douse my clothes, shoes and hat in heavy duty insect repellent every time I go … Continue reading Ticks. Dead. On contact.

Paddocks that make you go “meh”

Driving along our roads I can tell who is competent at managing their paddocks, their livestock and ultimately, their immediate community. Fireweed –amongst others, is the number one indicator of such competency, or lack of. There are two dead simple ways in tackling it, for good. Pull it Yes, it’s a mind-numbing exercise, bent in … Continue reading Paddocks that make you go “meh”

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

Easy seed raising mix

I make my own seed raising mix, mostly as I hate carting heavy bags of ready-made stuff, I love making my own, it’s cheaper, and, last but not least, I know what’s in it. I stock up on blocks of premium grade coconut coir (also called coconut peat) ahead of the seed raising season. They … Continue reading Easy seed raising mix

Folding 2017 – boundless gratefulness

Another year draws to an end and we take account at the farm of what went well, what failed and what could have been done differently. Our gardens have been pumping amazingly pretty and healthy crops from biodynamic-enriched soils. Now in the ground are all your Summer goodies: zucchinis, capsicum, tomatoes, chillies, eggplants, basil and … Continue reading Folding 2017 – boundless gratefulness

Permaculture community grows

We’ve only just released into the wild a bunch of extremely talented permaculture graduates, all super keen and skilled to restore our landscapes and community. There is a staggering and growing number of folks who want to be real actors of change in their corner of the World. They want to collect water, reduce waste, … Continue reading Permaculture community grows

Magnesium and Calcium: keystone elements for plant health

Australian soils are notoriously deficient in calcium and magnesium. A simple soil test carried out by a soil testing lab will confirm if your soils are indeed inadequately balanced. I personally think it is worth the expense (somewhere between $50-$200 per test) if you’re serious about gardening ornamentals or edible plants, or growing healthy pasture. … Continue reading Magnesium and Calcium: keystone elements for plant health

Proud to be a peasant

We opened our farm gate in May for International Permaculture Day and we did it again in June, this time as part of the inaugural Central Coast Harvest Festival. From 9am to noon, our farm gate opened for visitors to tour our gardens and have a feel for what permaculture gardening, farming and living look … Continue reading Proud to be a peasant

Autumn Bounty

Our gardens are pumping with the cooler temperatures and this much-needed rain. We’ve only lost a few crops to the sudden season change, mostly zucchinis and we’re now planting salad greens, celery, leek, cabbages, garlic and many more Winter goodies. I love Autumn! Basil has been coming out of our ears this summer and it … Continue reading Autumn Bounty

Rewilding… for our own sake

Heatwaves this Summer came and went. Mercury reached well over 40°C on several occasion. I know there will be more of them in the future as our climate progresses to unpredictable instability. Meanwhile, we buy another aircon, we sip slushies and we tweet about how hot it is. Who are we kidding? As we put … Continue reading Rewilding… for our own sake

Letting go – accepting feedback

"Apply self regulation and accept feedback" is one of twelve permaculture principles that comes knocking at my door very often, if not every day. It is a best friend. It always tells the truth, sometimes brutal, unadulterated or sugar coated. It does it with care in mind though. It challenges me to constantly look, feel, … Continue reading Letting go – accepting feedback

Farm animals and heat waves

Chooks, ducks, rabbits and dogs (and certainly others) don't sweat to cool their body temperature... they pant. When they don't succeed at cooling down, well, they die of heat exhaustion. It's very quick and mostly irreversible. We love all our critters here and we care for them. None of our animals are confined in temperature-controlled … Continue reading Farm animals and heat waves