Sunday, 22 May 2016

Humble Permaculture Beginnings ......

 Early development stages of starting a permaculture garden in our small back yard....we started in February by pulling out old steps and re-using on the other side... and adding retaining walls to get the actual structure right ... removed the lawns by mulching and set up 4 additional raised garden beds on the top section of the yard.....planted mature fruit trees...added two pear, an apricot and an orange tree to join the two lemon, mandarin, lime, loquat, plum, fig and 3 apple trees.....fenced off a large section around the chook pen and had new gates put up in place of the old farm gate at the back.

The old steps and concrete gone
new retaining walls and plantings

This was the big mess from February when we had the additional retaining wall built
I'm pretty happy with what we have achieved in 3 months to get from the picture above to the vegie gardens we have now... my man and I put in a lot of hours moving 20 cubic metres of garden mulch over the top of cardboard (I kept the boxes from when we moved in) to get rid of the back-lawn.  We removed the clothes line and installed a wall-mounted unit alongside the garage/utility area to free up more gardening space.
Three months later we now have four additional metal raised garden beds and things are taking off.

I have planted passionfruit vines and kiwi fruit vines along the fences as I need to try and create a more temperate climate in the yard as it was very hot during summer with little protection for the vegie gardens...hopefully the fruit trees will also take off and provide a bit of shade in the afternoon.
A herb spiral planted out with chamomile and various flower bulbs
also can just see one of the 3 new smaller raised garden beds waiting to be filled.

 The three water tanks were already here when we moved in and they water the garden and flush the toilets inside...It really connects you to the garden when you can keep tabs on your water usage and you love to hear the rain fall and fill up your tanks !!. 
Potatoes look like they are going well...loads of broccoli already and cauliflower coming along,
rhubarb, brussel sprouts and silver beet down the end bed and artichokes at the back near the citrus trees.
The herb garden seems happy in this spot along the wall ...the big plant this end is Chia...see how it goes.

There's carrots, beetroot, cabbage,  garlic, kale, snow peas, sugar snaps, lettuce
spinach, broad beans, capsicums and chilli . 
 There is still such a long way to go and so much to learn....the compost bins and the worm farm are slowly creating the much needed goodies to put back in to the soil...the beehive should be here in a month or two....we hope to put in a little water feature to encourage native birds and beneficial insects..I'm trying to create a food forest in the back yard and hopefully be almost self sufficient for fruit and vegies.  It's a couple of years away but I'm really enjoying the journey. 
If anyone has any good tips please share them.....I'm still a beginner.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

There Goes April.....!

The months are really flying by....there was so much I wanted to achieve in April but I haven't managed to quite get there.  I have joined the local Permaculture group...a lovely bunch of like minded people that meet once a month for discussion, food sharing and seed swaps.  I took along broccoli, eggs and capsicum and bought home a bag of quinces....tried my hand at making quince paste but didn't cook it quite long enough so didn't get the right texture...tastes great as stewed quinces with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast!

Lots to learn about permaculture....would love to put into practice in my backyard.
I took part in a yoga retreat for six days in Bali....Travelled to the village of Ubud in the mountains...absolutely amazing part of Bali...healthy eating and yoga twice a day...a very inspiring and spiritual experience which I hope to bring into practice at home.  While Bali would not be a place I would normally choose to visit, the Balinese people are warm, gracious and very spiritual.

The beautiful vintage bungalow that I stayed in at the Sharing Bali retreat
I had intended to do the volcano climb which was part of the retreat package....I made the sad realisation that I am not as fit as I would like to be....I didn't make the climb but did enjoy the spectacular scenery.  Better get on to a fitness regimen I think.
The view of the volcano from the hot springs.
 Everywhere you look in Bali there are religious offerings name it...they are a simple thing that really highlights the spiritual belief of the Balinese people.  along with the incense... I loved them.
The offering and blessing that was placed at my front door each morning.
 The retreat was amazing....Sharing Bali is a beautiful secluded sanctuary in the small village of Singaprang.  Outdoor bathrooms and vintage bungalows....fabulous yoga space...healthy food, no grains, red meat or dairy... a great detox.
The en-suite that came with the bungalow....quite an experience outdoor toilet and shower.
 I flew in from Bali the morning of my baby girl's 30th birthday party....We had a great celebration at a local hall...which she had organised and did a fantastic job.....helped by her sister who made her famous macarons and decorated the birthday cake...Can't believe my baby is all grown up..
Me and my baby girl.....all grown up.
 While I was away I managed to catch up on some reading.....The Harp in The South is an oldie but a goodie....was recommended by my writing teacher to help with the novel I am trying to write....I really enjoyed this one.  It is part of a trilogy by Ruth Park so I am keen to read the other two.

 My lovely first I'm choosing to call her, as apposed to my baby girl.....suggested The Diving Bell and the Butterfly as a good read for the plane is the remarkable story of Jean Dominique Bauby who is struck down with locked-in syndrome and only able to communicate by blinking his left eye.  Amazingly he manages to compose this memoir...I loved it.

So that was some of my have lots happening in the garden which I will hopefully post soon ....May has arrived and bought with her some wet and chilly days this doubt preparing us for the winter that will be here before we know it.  Enjoy the last few weeks of Autumn.