Friday, December 30, 2011

Heralding in 2012

new years resolutions, we all have them right?  oh, i bet you do!  even if you don't admit them to anyone, there are things you are wishing and praying that you will do better this year than last.  i certainly do!  and for me .... it's a bit about taking stock of what the last year held and building on that.

2011.  wow.  what a year!  who would have thot when i took that course in March from the good folks at Milkwood Permaculture that our lives would have been so extraordinarily changed by the venture into a sustainable lifestyle.  it has been an amazing journey .... some ups and some down ... but we have certainly leaped off the deep end into the journey of a lifetime!  it has been a journey both of change in our hearts and a change of location.  and as we finish 2011 ... we aren't done yet.  infact, i reckon, the steep learning curve is about to hit big time!

2012.  dreams are big in our household right now ... and it is easy for us to dream because we well and truly started down that road towards a creation care life of sustainable living that we believe, honours God.  next year two kids will be in school and one in preschool three days a week, which means more time for me to get my head and heart around what God would have our lives be, from a sustainable perspective!

and now the hard part... 
acknowledging that this is a year to grow and learn
i'll have three days a week to myself ... something i haven't had in a very long time!
i have personal goals ...
full of promise and perseverance
family goals ... 
where i crave the best for my family and their own ownership
of creation care stewardship

my dreams / goals for 2012 ... in a nutshell (not in priority order, btw!).
  • learning how to make cheese.  i want to start exploiting our access to good milk in this area, and to learn to make a variety of different cheeses and do it well!
  • get my PDC.  this is a Permaculture Design Certificate, and the principals and framework knowledge that you get from this course about land management, water use and contouring are invaluable when it comes to living on the land.  truth be told, both hubby and I should get it .... but realistically, don't even know if i am gonna be able to do this.  would require two weeks away, a few thousand bucks of   investment and not sure that exists in our lives right now.  this may be more of a dream than goal .... but we have to try!
  • learning how to preserve properly.  from berries to beetroot and beyond .... preserving as a means of shoring up our larder and preserving those yummie tastes that we have enjoyed fresh.  i reckon it is an art ... and i am keen to learn!
  • learn about beekeeping .... specifically warre' hives.  apart from soil, i reckon i am coming to terms with just how important natural beekeeping is.  we have lost far too many of our hives to chemicals and pesticides.  the role that they play in pollinating for our future crops and sustenance is undeniable.
  • have a passata party!  and of course, this requires the "getting" of a passata making machine (do i sense a birthday present request coming on???).  what to do:  invite all your friends over, requirement being that they have to bring their end of season tomato's .... the good, bad and very ugly please and some jars to bottle in.  the tomato's all get stewed up with some yummy herbs, onions and whatever! and then passed through the passata machine where all the skin and seeds are removed.  the resulting liquid magic is then bottled and the friends can take it home.  
  • work with Rehoboth Children's Home and help them move towards sustainability.   this is the amazing place in the Philippines that  our children come from and that cared for them in their first years.  they are in a unique place to affect real change for God, and for health and community in their corner of the world.  i will be making two trips over 2012 that will hopefully, along with amazing staff on the ground there, help them to form a real foundation for change and development in the area of sustainability and self-reliance.
  • honestly .... just keep learning about how to live a richer and more fulfilled life from a creation care perspective.  to continue to seek out how i can serve our Lord and care for this world that He has given us.
... so that's where i am heading in the new year.  nothing over the top, but certainly a commitment towards the hard work that is ahead of us.  i look forward to continuing this journey with you and sharing my continued growth and failures!

what about you?  personal goals?  family dreams?  dare to dream big!  challenge yourself and be willing to give up all the security you have now (or think you have now!) for a great new horizon!  go on ... i dare you!  and may 2012 be for you and yours more than you ever dreamed and richer than you ever imagined.

blessings as we ring in 2012 .... BRING IT ON!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Djanbung Permaculture Gardens

SO ... good news?  our house in sydney settles in January!  that means we will be able to start saving and working towards buying land to do our bit for a sustainable world.  but the question remains ....

what do we buy?

it's ever so much fun looking ... but the issue of size keeps coming up.  do we get something bigger (e.g. over 15 acres) which would allow animal husbandry, forest regeneration and be a wonderful way to reclaim some good earth .... or could/should JustEarth be something on a smaller scale?  sometimes the idea of 5 or 6 acres seems so, well ..... small.  and yet, we hear many people say 5 acres is heaps!  you can do a lot with that.

so .... in order to see if this truly is so .... we went out to Djanbung Permaculture Gardens in Nimbin.  They have a no dig garden, a food forest, chooks, ducks, pigs and a food forest too boot.  all on 5 acres!  with some great dams and waterways!  we had to see if something so LARGE scale could be done in limited space.  well ... we were not disappointed!  we learned so much .... and the bamboo!  well ... let's just say once i've had a chance to digest the new year .... there will be a whole blog post on the benefits of bamboo because of what we saw there!

so .... rather than just spouting on endlessly ... here is a pictorial journey of our few hours at Djanbung!

ok .... let's start with me and the kids
in the middle of one of the gardens 
i reckon my kitchen garden could look
a lot like this!
little ponds everywhere to capture water and
provide habitat and protection for small
one of the veg gardens .... good companion planting
going on here!
this is going into an upper part of one of their
gardens ... the slope provides drainage
and the varying plants are creating a
luscious micro climate.
one of the chook pens (with a turkey!) these are all
just on point of lay and will go into the main chook run soon.
notice the mulch.  it is the leaves that have dried and fallen
from the bamboo.
speaking of bamboo!  it was
everywhere!  and HUGE!
just a cool shot of the sunflowers .... there were
cool shots everywhere!
beans growing up a bamboo pole.
the key here is that spikes where the leaves
come off have been left on ... allowing for
additional "perch-age" for the
the must have propagation area .... along side the
humanure toilet!  
hubby and kids standing deep in the
food forest!  
the fire pit!  no good permaculture
farm can be without one!  this is
the pigs!  these are for manure only and not for eating.
so they have a pretty good life!  
at the end of the day what we learned was that yes .... we could do a heap of a lot with five acres if that was all we got.  so now ... we just have to wait and fall in love with whatever dirt and soil is destined to become JustEarth.

Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas ... creation care style!

my precious kids, in their
filipino best ... ready to
bring on the
Christmas Cheer!
so .... it's time for christmas cheer and good wishes and lots of laughter from every corner.  if you are in the cooler climates, snow, hot chocolate, warm woollies and turkey no doubt are a big part of your plans.  if you happen to live in a more tropical places (like us!), your christmas day will probably be spent beach side, heaps of yummy cold platter treats,  or at the very least with a bbq on the game game plan with a seafood platter laid out!

given the massive transformation that our family has undergone to move towards a sustainable lifestyle this year, i thot it only appropriate to playfully put a creation care slant on an old christmas carol favourite ....

the 12 days of Creation Care Christmas

  • on the first day of christmas my true love gave to me a u-bute rocket shower
  • on the second day of christmas my true love gave to me two humanure toilets
  • on the third day of christmas my true love gave to me three worm towers
  • on the fourth day of christmas my true love gave to me four rainwater tanks
  • on the fifth day of christmas my true love gave to me five mango tree's
  • on the six day of christmas my true love gave to me six runner ducks
  • on the seventh day of christmas my true love gave to me seven wood pallets
  • on the eighth day of christmas my true love gave to me eight silver wyandottes
  • on the ninth  day of christmas my true love gave to me nine heirloom tomato's
  • on the tenth day of christmas my true love gave to me ten preserving jars
  • on the eleventh day of christmas my true love gave to me eleven piles of compost
  • on the twelth day of christmas my true love gave to me twelve acacia trees!

blessed christmas to you and yours ... and remember why we are here... He made this world for us, for you and I.  He came and Christmas is when we celebrate that ... because of His love ... for you ... and for me.

Aquaponics Update

Hi All .... many apologies for not posting for a while.  year end school activities, massive sickness in the family .... all that.  well .... that's my story and i'm sticking by it!  <g>

i have had a few people asking about the aquaponics system and the experiment i have been running regarding the thesis that it is quicker to grow things in an aquaponics bed than a regular dirt bed.  why not, right?  makes life interesting!  <g>

the main aquaponics system seems to be bedding in quite.  we've had a few issues such as filters to be cleaned out and water flow .... but hubby has happily tweeked the system and it is going quite well now.  we also had some real concerns over shading.  didn't realise just how harsh the northern rivers sun could be!  while it has been a wetter year (again!) than is normal, on those days where the weather is warm ... man!  it is bright and hot!  so shade cloth has been installed!

so first .... the experiment.  beans planted in some yummy, well composted soil and even a modified drip line to boot.  at the same time, beans, from the same lot planted in the aquaponics system.  four weeks on ... well, shall i let the pictures speak for themselves?

in the ground
in the aquaponics
the results have been resoundingly astounding ... to say the least!  and if i'm being honest.... these pics are a good week and a half old .... we have had some dappled, muggy weather that has aided in everything growing like bonkers since!

here are a few shots of the aquaponics bed.  i can't seem to help myself planting more and more things in it and they are certainly taking off!

the big overview of the two beds
the malibar climbing spinach ready to go crazy!  (fyi,
a good summer season spinach alternative for when
you can't get your regular spinach in season!)
and strawberries!  they are going crazy!
there are other things in the system too .... coriander, various lettuces, corn, tomato's, basil, egg plant .... all coming along really well.

overall, i would have to say that i like aquaponics.  it is a great, closed loop, SUSTAINABLE system that allows you to grow things fast.  it is of course not suited to most root crops (can you imagine what a carrot or parsnip would look like???) but it can certainly do lots of other things.    i could never ditch good earth as the primary means of growing.  but this ... as an addendum is fantastic.  it's a great testing ground for hubby as he works out the kinks for when we go to JustEarth and actually grow eating fish as well, rather than using  goldfish.  i would also highly recommend this as a system that works for renters (like us at the moment!), where use of land is significantly curtailed for whatever reasons.

i can't wait to see what the summer months holds for production in the aquaponics beds .... i have a feeling that some amazing and yummy salads will be coming our way ... and that makes a mothers heart very happy.  and in the mean time ... aquaponics part deux has commenced .... stay tuned!
hubby laying in the pipes for
the next phase of

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!

Monday, November 28, 2011

our little propagating nursery ....

so ... feeling the drive to get some tree's ready to plant has really been on my mind.  with the exchange on our house in sydney this week, and settlement early january .... it means that we need to be working hard to have some tree's ready to be planted out when we find JustEarth here in the heart of Northern NSW.  but gee-willy-wonkers!  the sun can really get to the young tree's up here!  so striking and then just setting out in a pot won't do it here, they need heaps of tlc ... love and tender care .... they need a nursery!

so enter one amazing husband who is about as ingenious as it gets ....

we had an old greenhouse that we brought with us in them move, thinking that somehow, someway .... ONE DAY it might get reused ..... so hubby cracks it out and puts it together.  we put shade cloth over it, but not before installing a  gentle drip line so that i can turn the tap on and let those tender young trees get soaked.

pretty great, huh?  all up it cost us around $50.  and when you think that the goal is propagate well over 100 trees, the cost savings to provide some tlc as these babies harden up is immense!   there is excess run off from the water right now and the misting system is a bit "generous" and sprays around the outside edges of the nursery as well.  but the cool thing is, once we are passed the heat of the summer, with those plants that are bigger, i can put them outside the nursery to harden up a bit and they'll get the extra misting from the system!

right now we have 3 acacia's, 3 mango's, a native macadamia and a fig.  i went a bit berzerk at Daley's Nursery ... they are the best sub tropical and natives nursery around, and they are 20 minutes away!  all of these i got for a total of about $49.  wow!  i just had to spoil myself!

however, the reality is that most of my propagating will occur from cuttings that i get from neighbors and friends.  i have access to coffee, mulberry, willow, a variety of citrus, olive .... so many things.  the more i can do via "freebies" the better off i am.  not just cost wise .... but if i am sourcing local cuttings ... it means that the tree's are local and have been hardened to this environment and as such, stand a better chance of surviving.

so i expect that most future additions to plant nursery will be much smaller and will take some time to grow.  but that's ok!  it's all about planning and doing now, so that when we are ready to move ... one of the first things we can do is get heaps of tree's into the ground!

Friday, November 25, 2011


that's it .... that's our dream and our goal.  our sustainable slice of paradise called


for a long time we kept thinking that when we saw the land we wanted, we would know what the name should be.  perhaps something with a filipino connection ... or something about the land itself.  but as time has gone by, we realised that our farm will embody a philosophy.  our approach to our future is that, whatever piece of land we get ... it is our job to be wise stewards of.  so after a few hours of driving around the countryside (with sleeping kids in the back) and tossing names around we came up with a few interesting concoctions  .... but after mulling it over and living with the name in our hearts .... we love this ... JustEarth.

just as in only or simply
just as in doing the right thing
earth as in soil / dirt
earth as in our planet and the community we engage in

the name embodies for us all that we want to achieve.  recognising the role that we have as stewards of this world and that we need to engage with our neighbors, not withdraw from them.  and above all,  acknowledging our Creator God's original design for this amazing world.

so that's our start .... our dream if you like (ok ... so maybe a bit "build it and they will come."  but that's ok!).  we are already dreaming about a sub tropical food forest, orchards with chooks running under them, humanure toilets, solar power, a market garden, pigs and raw milk .... <sigh>.  the journey to JustEarth will be fun, of this i am sure!  right now we are in the final stages of selling our house in sydney so we can actually look to buy and build.  it is a dream that is within reach ... where our children will live away from the city .... we will embrace sustainability .... because of our desire to secure our children's future and care for our Father's great world.   i look forward to sharing the journey with you!

Psalm 24:1 sais ... 
the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world and all who live in it. 


(follow our journey to JustEarth ... in the next few weeks i'll add a page in the TOC 
called JustEarth ... that follows our journey to our slice of paradise!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tomato's in my heart

ah .... so me and tomato's .... well .... i love them.  so much you can do with them and so many possibilities!

before we moved i made a commitment to growing as many as i could to exploit the full length of the season.  well .... we moved and that didn't happen.  <sigh>

but ... when you move to the sub-tropics your world takes on a whole different perspective.  i smile when i think of the guys at Milkwood who are just now putting in their tomato's because out in mudgee they are just heading out of the frosts.  here ... well .... all i can say is that it's already sweltering.  which means .... GREAT tomato growing weather!!!  woohoo ... happy dance time!

so before the season started, i did this great little chart to show what tomato's can be grown to extend your season as much as possible.  check it out here.  i would be pulling a complete furfy to say that i have pulled off having these grow.  in total truth ... i have only one of these types growing ... the Rouge de Marmande ....

as you can see, these are growing in pots, happily, on my patio.  but i also have two others .... a lovely genovasy which gives fabulous medium sized fruit.  and some yellow current .... lovely little yellow cherry type tomato's ..... have heaps of these.

these are the Genovasy

yummy yellow currant
they are still growing .... but, as with my other seedlings, we will be running a test to see how they grow in the ground vs. in the aquaponics system.  hey!  it's fun and why not!  i have the perfect spot in the garden picked for them .... they will get heaps of sun.  mulch has been laid and now just need to build the trellis ... monday's project!  small ones have gone into the aquaponics system and are thriving already.  its kinda scary to be honest!

i have no doubt that a few others will get tested out as well. but i have to remember that we are in a rental and only have a certain amount of space.

wait till we get on our land and have a passata making party!  what fun that will be!

Monday, November 14, 2011

aquaponics 101 ....

so .... i am back after a weekend camping at the beach and am chuffed to say .... the fish survived!

the fish survived?  what are you talking about?
ahhhh ... i've been keeping a secret.
the aquaponics system is pretty much there.

i think it's important to highlight, for just a minute, the value and benefits of aquaponics.  they are great in small area's where you have limited space to grow things.  food grows 3-4 x faster than it does conventionally.  what happens is that the tubs are full of water from a pond that houses fish (in larger scale, you can get fish that you eat).  this water cycles through ... pumped from the pond into the grow beds.  the water is full of fish poo and nutrients from the fish that are heaps beneficial for the plants.  the plants use these nutrients and clean the water which, via a bell siphon, is periodically pumped back into the pond.  the force and dramatic pull down of the water from the grow beds, encourages the roots of the plants to grown down .... make sense?

i thot i'd just do one big post when the whole thing was flash with fish and veg.  but, as with all experiments there have been a few hiccups along the way.  so, this is a post about progress so far and some of the foibles along the way!  <g>  i figure a picture is worth a thousand words .... so i'll let the photo's tell the story.

first things first!  lets not forget what aquaponics is about!
an alternate way to grow our veggies ... and quicker too!
here, JJ is helping me transplant some of the green leafy matter to get better roots
before putting them in the aquaponics.
enter Scott, aka brillo with bath tubs and tubes to make
an aquaponics system work.  here he is checking out levels
for his bell siphon.
this is cool watching what dad is doing!
internal workings of a bell siphon.  
but what the heck is a bell siphon i hear you say?  all i can say is that it sucks the water out when it fills up because the air is trapped and it flushes.  i know ....pretty weak.  but have a look here on E-How.  that's the best i can say.  but i can tell you that it works, after figuring out a few foibles and with a few tweaks left to go .... yes .... it works!
the bits of our bell siphon for tub #1.

yeah for girl power!
so the next step was to start filling the  tubs with river pebbles.
there are these lightweight beads you can purchase which are VERY
expensive ... so we have opted for river pebbles.  a cheap alternative
that works just as well .... only real draw back is how heavy they are.
and no wonder it got done so quickly!  we had bumble bee and
batman helping us out!  
tada!  the tubs are fulled!  notice the black pipes.  these are from the
pond and are used by the pump to put water back into
the beds.
what a helper!  he is helping us fill the tubs and cycle through some of the
gunk from the rocks before we put the fish in.
that's me .... putting in our first plant....
a strawberry.  i was so excited!
doesn't it look fabulous with the spray of water!  the water, when at full
tilt sprays onto this rock and helps to aerate the water.
i wish i could say it was all running perfectly!  the next day we were gone the whole day and when we came home the plant was dead!  for some reason the pump wasn't working correctly and it didn't get any water on a very hot day.  we are having continued issues with our pump .... but scott is tweaking and pulling things apart and each day it gets better and better.  we have also put up a shade cloth.  hadn't realised just how much sun they get and i am concerned they will fry.  so we have a 50% shade structure.  it serves two purposes .... to shade and will act as a support for plants going in.  i anticipate plants within a week .... so watch this space!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

food forest fantasy

... imagine walking through a lush forest.  around you are thriving trees and bushes dripping with fruit.  canopies of trees that create a lush environment where trees don't need to be tended, but take care of themselves, getting what they need from the cover crops on the ground that provide all the nutrients that they could need ... just as Father God intended.

this is my dream ... and it's called in permaculture terms a food forest, or forest gardening.

but .... what is this you ask?  here is the wikipedia definition .... forest gardening is a food production and land management system based on woodland ecosystems, but substituting trees (such as fruit or nut trees), bushes, shrubs, herbs and vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans.  making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow on multiple levels in the same area, as do the plants in the forest.

having a hard time imagining what this is talking about?  here is a picture to help give a visual representation for you.

i find visuals to be really helpful.  really makes sense, doesn't it?  it takes a little bit of time and effort to get the balance right .... but once you have a plan it's a go!

right now i am planning and dreaming about what we will have in our food forest.  part of that research is just seeing how the guys who have been successful did it.  the other part is looking at what our family eats!  and working out a way to companion plant so that they all work together well.

so who has or is doing a food forest well?  the list of successes is amazing ... but here are a few of the ones that i am enjoying.  and i say enjoying because as with anything to do with stewardship of our Father's land ... time is a huge element and they say it takes 5-8 years for a food forest to really get established.

  • The Food Forest.  these guys have established a food forest in the barren scrub around Gawler, SA.  pretty amazing stuff!
  • you can never go wrong with what Wikipedia has to say.  just remember ... it's not always 100% but generally good!
  • and yes ... how could i not include the Milkwood food forest journey.  theirs is a start.  part of what i like ... and a transparent process and journey towards their dream of sustainability.
  • the guys at Zaytuna out in The Channon have a great resource on food forests.
  • and i like this one from Happy Earth because it is done on a suburban block.  you don't have to have 100 acres to be sustainable!
  • and last but not least .... watch this "time lapse" of Geoff Lawton growing a food forest.

so right now, i have an excel spread sheet with a growing list of trees that i want to think about using.  interesting things like the brazilian cherry and black sapote.  and what about the ice cream bean?  <g>  and once our house in sydney sells and we have a place here ... the food forest will be one of the first things to go in ... and those dreams i have of a forest floor of sweet potato and strawberries with a canopy of avocado's and mango's ... will be worked on in earnest!

Psalm 24:1
the earth is the lord's, and everything in it,
the world and all who live in it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

ode to the Broad Bean

if you've been following me for long, you will know that i have a secret and unabashed love of broad beans (to see that post go here.)  and it is with that same adoration that i return to one of my favorite foods ...

i was desperately sad when i realised that in our move i would not get to harvest the broad beans that i had planted.  i had taken the time to plant three crops, ensuring that we would have a generous supply of these yummy protein rich legumes from the end of october throughout the summer.  and for us to move just as the first crop was starting to seriously  throw beans that looked to be developing beautifully .... <sigh>  just made my heart sink.

there are many people who think that the effort you have to go to in order to eat them just isn't worth it.  to these i say tsk!  tsk!  the taste IS worth the effort!  from mixing this joyous bounty through mash or having them in a wilted spinach salad they are divine!  or my favourite way to enjoy this food gift .... cooked and mashed, slathered on a slice of crusty toasted bread with a poached egg and a few lashings of Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil!  yummo!

so imagine my absolute delight when i went to do my fruit and veg shopping on saturday (new habit:  going to the kyogle farmers market .... what a treat!  small but wonderful!).  there was a gentlemen there selling MOUNTAINS of broad beans!  woohoo!  the past two weeks i have purchased a kilo and loved every minute of it!  i love the imperfections, the time it takes to peal the beans .... and then after they have been steamed popping them out of their casings is just another amazing way to taste them with your eyes and senses before eating.  yup!  i was a happy camper.

and i had a loverly conversation with this farmer about when the season is for them up here and he said you plant them in march!  yippee!  so rather than july .... i get to start enjoying them earlier in the year!  how cool!

.... and yes .... i have taken about 20 of the plumpest, fattest beans and put them aside to dry out and plant them next season.  <g>

Friday, October 28, 2011

let's get crackin!

ok ... so time to seriously start getting back into growing our own food again.  planted heaps of green leafy stuff about a week and a half ago and it's already bolted up and going crazy.  the challenge is on to exploit this little block we are renting now .... until we buy our own.

so, in true permaculture style, i have been observing the land and seeing what we can do with what we have.  some pro's and con's .... but this is a rental.  so work with what you have and be positive!

  • maintaining the current bed structure
  • small area that get's really good sun
  • no area for having chooks (e.g. lovely compost makers and eggs!)
the challenge is simple .... grow what we can in a small space and pots, using as much aquaponics as possible.  potential exists for a modified drip line ....

so here is a quick tour of what i have to work with.  heaps of potential and as i'm starting to get to the other side of my pity party and doldrums i think this is helping me feel a bit more sane.

my front patio, aka ... growing spot.  i have all the basic necessary herbs growing as well as
three kinds of greens: mizuma, amish deer tongue and cos.
2 x marmande tomato's from Daley's as well as a yellow pear and a medium running genovase,
heaps of beans and a few zuchinni as well.  all coming on strong.
an experiment.  this is a brazilian cherry or Eugenia uniflora.  it's growing
in our yard and keeps getting eaten by whatever is going for it in the
middle of the night .... so i'm gonna try and grow a few from seed (these are drying out)
to put on our property.  crossing fingers!  thinking about trying some
straight propagating as well ... we'll see!
like i said ... the beans are coming up a treat.
will have to transplant soon to bigger pots!
so that's the front growing area.  here is a peak at some of the area's i'm thinking of growing in.  looking at light, etc.  

this is out front .... get's heaps of morning and mid day sun.
i am imagining some great zuchinni growing here!  <g>
a great spot for tomato's, don't you think?
or maybe beans?  or perhaps both!

this bed will have to have something that
craves heaps of loverly warm sun ...
so i imagine that tomato's will
go here for sure!

there are a few spots like this around the garden.  but i need to observe
them a bit more and see which ones get the best sun as most of these are a bit
shaded.  but i am certain i can figure out something!
and last but not least .... this is the
most likely spot for our aquaponics
set up ... all our greens will be done this way.
this system should be going in within the next 2-3 weeks.
will provide a detailed post on that one for sure!