Friday, December 2, 2011

failure is grand!

every time i talk to someone who is deeply into sustainability and permaculture they always talk about the times they have gotten it wrong .... and then smiled!  early on in our journey i used to wonder why they wouldn't be frustrated or throw their hands up and walk away.

but i learned something ....

part of the move toward sustainability is about seeing things as learning opportunities ... and when you learn you fail .... and then you get it right!  (come to think of it ... isn't that a good approach to how we should philosophically approach life? )

when you buy a piece of land you observe, you learn how the water flows, the wind blows and how the contour is affected by rains, etc., etc.  and you try something ... and it works ... yea!  but i am learning that most of the time, you try something and it is a mixed bag of success and failure. so that when you do it next time .... you do it better ... because you have observed the systems around you.

here are a few area's where we've been learning and growing!

propagation in toilet roles.  ok .... it has it's place.  it's meant to be for those of us with the patience to plant a single seed and see if it grows, and then planting out the whole thing, toilet role and all as it is degradable.  i don't have that kind of patience!  i plant three or four in a toilet role and end up having split the role and put them into new containers anyway.  the other thing is here at least, i'm having a lot of issues with mold.  not sure why .... but i am.  have had heaps of failure in propagating here.  so.  my solution?

this is my last batch of toilet roll propagation seeds.  in an effort to keep mold out, i'm trying to see if stuffing some straw in the bottom and then adding seed raising mix will stop the mildew.  from here on out we are gonna use either tried and true pots or broadcasting methods .....

the other major area is aquaponics.  this has been heaps of constant tweeking and fine tuning.  something, i have to say, hubby has enjoyed thoroughly.  from adjusting the flow rates to adding more fish and fixing aeration ..... but it's worth it.  this system has been set up as a test bed to ensure that whatever we do in the future works well .... so bring it on!

a seedling tomato
ready to take on
the system!
the other thing with the aquaponics is choosing the plants and when to plant them.  i will admit that a few have been lost to heat and not understanding how deep the roots needed to be placed.  but the other thing is that smaller plants seem to adjust quicker than  larger, long term root bound plants.  our strawberries really struggled for a while because they had been in soil.  but when i put in younger plants it seemed that they adapted much easier and got that they needed to stretch their roots down quickly to ensure that they got the maximum benefit from the oxygenation and water drainage.  as a result .... my small plants have just been booming along.

so learning is fun .... we teach our kids that, right?  but learning as an adult is good too.  yep ... i fail .... HEAPS.  but i learn from those failures and do it better the next time ... oh, and i do have fun along the way!


  1. That is exactly what I tell the kids that I teach.... you can't learn if you don't make a mistake ! But what I find amazing about your journey , Maggie, is how quickly you learn .In the time I have been reading your blog you and your husband have learnt so much due to your enthusiasm and dedication.I find the aquaponics info fascinating especially.You are miles ahead of me in your understanding of permaculture - I think having farmed all my life, it is harder to let go of old ideas than if you start with a clean slate in some respects.

  2. aww .... shucks Kim! thanks for saying that. no doubt when we actually find JustEarth we will have heaps of questions because of the size of hte place! on our journey north we stopped at PurplePear Organics and one of the things that Mark said when i lamented not having a PDC yet was that i should just trust my gut. so much of this stuff we already know .... we just need to slow down long enough to think it through. that really encouraged me to be more adventurous!