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Posts Tagged ‘Permaculture Home Garden’

Our seven year old neighbour was tasked with preparing a school report on a backyard ecosystem, and chose to base it on ours.  I thought you might enjoy his work as much as we did!  I particularly like the worm close-up on the  bottom right…

Our garden is based on a plan from Linda Woodrow’s fabulous book, The Permaculture Home Garden.  Now that the infrastructure is well established, it’s really quite easy to maintain.  As Little D points out, the chooks and the worms do most of the work for us!

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It was time to move the chook dome.

The chickens had their initial rotation several months ago, before the beds were planted out.  At the time, we were growing legume crops to improve the soil.

Now, for the first time, the hens will be moving onto finished beds – to eat the leftover vegetation, rotorvate the soil, and to weed, de-slug and fertilise the patch in readiness for the next round of planting.  Bed number one was pretty much spent – at the back you can see lucerne, grown specifically for the chickens, as well as an old kale plant, a finished sunflower and a few straggly clumps of curly parsley.

The ladies couldn’t wait – they were clustered at the front of the dome, willing it to move forward!

Watching them on the new bed reminded me of the famous scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, when the visitors are so overwhelmed by the chocolate room that they don’t know what to eat first!

Clever Queenie and Bertie immediately began spuddling for worms, Francesca went straight for the sunflower seeds, Harriet and Maggie attacked the lucerne and Rosemary..well, as she does, she ran around the coop like a mad thing trying to get a little bit of everything before anyone else did. As always, it’s such a joy to watch their individual personalities shine through, and to see them so happy in their new patch!

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Gardening on this scale will provide your family with a really healthy gourmet diet even if both your money and your time are tightly budgeted.  It will provide a true sense of security: whatever else happens you will always eat, and eat well.  It will provide an area of creativity in a sometimes treadmill existence, and an area of serenity in a sometimes madcap world.

Linda Woodrow, The Permaculture Home Garden
(photos below are of the fruits and vegetables harvested
from our backyard garden in December)

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Congratulations, Soy!  Linda’s book will be on its way to you soon!

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I can’t believe how fast our garden is growing!

Here’s what the first bed looked like in late August…

…and here it is today.  Over the past five weeks, we’ve harvested broccoli, a dozen lettuces, kale and several beetroots from this bed.

The cabbages haven’t been a great success – we planted them too close together, and possibly a little late.  As a result, they’ve been making lots of leaves, but not forming a tight ball.  They haven’t been going to waste though – the chickens absolutely adore them…

The broadbeans seem to be growing before our eyes at the moment!  We can’t decide whether to eat them young as Linda suggests, or to wait until they’re a bit bigger and shell them..

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Bed number two was newly planted when these photos were taken just over a month ago…

…and it’s grown prolifically! In amongst the jungle of pea shoots, you can see kale, cabbage, broccoli, as well as carrots and lettuce.  We’re following Linda Woodrow’s plan from her book, The Permaculture Home Garden, which very cleverly allocates part of the space in each bed to growing feed for the chickens…

The baby pea pods are forming.  I’m very new to gardening, so I didn’t realise that each flower would turn into a pod.  Now I’m excitedly counting the flowers to see how many peas and broadbeans we’re going to get…

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The dwarf peach and nectarine trees seem to be making lots of fruit, although it’s unlikely they’ll all develop…

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Garden bed number three has potatoes, capsicums, eggplants and tomatoes – this single cherry tomato plant has grown like a weed and is threatening to take over the whole bed…

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We have a blueberry plant growing in a pot, waiting for a permanent home, and somewhat surprisingly, given our temperate climate, it seems to be  fruiting!  Maybe it has something to do with all the bees who visit our backyard now…

In a patch of soil where the chicken dome was originally situated, a small crop of wheat is growing from the uneaten grain mix we were feeding to the girls…

Today’s harvest of sprouting broccoli will be eaten at dinner tonight, simply dunked in boiling water and dressed with a little butter and salt..

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I thought you might also enjoy seeing how the chickens are travelling..here’s Rosemary glaring at me for spying on her while she was laying…

…and Queenie, being very vocal and reminding the others that she’s the boss!

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If you live in Australia and would like to undertake a garden project like ours, we have one copy of Linda Woodrow’s book, The Permaculture Home Garden, to g!ve @way (the funny characters are an attempt to avoid the search bots – I want to g!ve the book to someone who actually reads our blog!).

I was buying a copy for our friend Ian the Chicken Whisperer, and couldn’t resist picking up an extra copy for you.  Linda’s book is tailored for Australian gardens, and is full of brilliant and inspired ideas – you can dip into it for suggestions, or go all out and follow her plan completely as we have.

To εnter, please leave a comment (before 14th October) and tell us  which state you live in and what your favourite vegetable is. And apologies to our international visitors, but we can only ship to Australian addresses this time!

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This book has changed our lives.

Written for Australian conditions, Linda Woodrow’s brilliant text for turning a suburban backyard into a self-sufficient organic garden is full of really clever ideas.  I thought I’d share just one of them with you today.

One of the tenets of Linda’s plan is to plant out advanced seedlings – doing so not only ensures that they’re more likely to survive an attack from marauding pests, but it also reduces the amount of time plants have to spend in the ground.  This in turn enables the garden beds to be planted out up to four times a year.

The seedlings are raised in recycled square-bottomed two-litre milk containers.  Smaller cartons could be used, but the two-litre size enables the seedlings to grow larger before planting out.

The tops and bottoms are cut off the washed containers, then they’re placed side by side in polystyrene boxes and packed with growing mix.  Some seedlings need to be germinated in seed raising mix first and then transferred to these larger punnets, but bigger seeds can be  sown directly.  Here are some sunflowers that we started last week…

Once the seedlings are large enough, they’re put straight into the ground and the plastic slides right off, with absolutely no transplant shock.  If necessary, the sleeve can be left half-on for a week or two to protect the plant from snails and slugs as it settles in.

I took some photos as we were planting out strawberries last week.  Every time we’re working in the garden, I find myself humming the A-Team theme song.  Linda’s guide is so well thought out, and I really do love it when a plan comes together…

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