Post 7: Permaculture Garden Room

Note: I would like  to share with  you  through  these few words, photographs and hyperlinked websites, a 3 Dimensional  experience as though you were  actually there with  us. Click on any photograph and it should enlarge to  different size ….. at least half screen or size full screen. It will be clearer in detail than the photo on the post. It will be as if you were  really there looking at the actual  scene. You are an arm chair traveller with us.

If you would also like  to see the post in a larger or smaller size, I suggest you follow this procedure: If you right-handed, with your left hand, press  down continuously  on the Control Function Key  with your left hand and with your right hand, move  the   little  cursor wheel either forwards or backwards to make the text in the post larger or smaller.

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Ken and Harriet  have an area  set aside where we  are starting to grow our own food …. vegetables and fruits. See this YouTube website on the possibilities:

Urban Agroecology: 6,000 lbs of food on 1/10th acre – Urban Homestead – Urban Permaculture. We do not have a website that gets 2,000 million hits a month but it is significant for us amidst everything else we do. Below is some technical details on  permaculture.

Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. The term permaculture (as a systematic method) was first coined by Australians David Holmgren, then a graduate student, and his professor, Bill Mollison, in 1978. The word permaculture originally referred to “permanent agriculture”, but was expanded to stand also for “permanent culture”, as it was seen that social aspects were integral to a truly sustainable system as inspired by Masanobu Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy.

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A pineapple plant

…. When you use a pineapple, the leafy top can be cut off and if  planted in

the ground, it will grow into a new pineapple  plant. Some of our

pineapple plants are third generation ……

 

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….. This was an earlier system for growing herbs and small vegetables eg.

tomatoes in beds of compost 300 mm deep. The  planted beds were 2.00

metres long by 1.00 metre wide. Each bed was  lined with heavy  duty black

plastic  which was  slit here  and there  at about 50 mm above the bottom.

This meant the beds would never be waterlogged. The rich black  compost

holds many times it weight in water. The beds only need to be  watered

about once  every three weeks  or so. This system of New Earth Garden

plots was a successful way of growing  things as we were on tank water

and not town water. All shower  water, washup water and washing water drained

  down to large underground sullage tank. This could be  pumped out once a week

on the New Earth Garden plots  and the garden. As Harriet didn’t want

to bend down to ground level, we have replaced the beds with

raised garden beds which just been constructed, filled with soil then

compost. These are especially relevant seeing that we  now have abundant

bore  water from September 2014.  See the photos below ……

 

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…. Greek basil as a 1.00 metre high plant  … we use  the lovely tasting leaves in

salads which we constantly have in summer ……

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…. Tomato plants growing in a  New Earth Garden plot ……

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….. Paw paws grow abundantly as young plants in the compost from the black

seeds. They then can be readily transplanted into the garden. They grow

quickly bearing much fruit. I always remember how it was when we went

on one our overseas trips to China in October  in  2011. The  paw paws

were  in fruit and  were  growing yellow on the tree. We had a bucket of

paw paw  fruit to eat in week.  Some of them were going black  which we

had  to throw out ……

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…. Banana Stool  with large green  leaves  growing  successfully  down  in the  gully …

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…. A Cauliflower at full growth in one of the  New Earth Garden plots ….

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  …..  Raised Garden Beds  …..

03.11.15: My son Anthony has built  these raised beds, built  from  some special timbers  …. very old split eucalypt slabs  from an old barn which I pulled down many years ago. I had stored  them on our land intending them  to be used  in new  special barn  on  our land. It didn’t happen due to a severe  brain  injury I had  twenty ++ years ago  which resulted in a major life changing situation  which can read about  here.

To  obtain these slabs  is a very rare thing. When settlers came out in the late 1880’s into the dry Australian bush, they wanted to clear the land  of trees and create open space for their cattle. They split the trees with wedges to  form timber slabs for  a hut on their land.  They also made  post and rail fences: horizontal rails and bigger posts to go in the ground. The  old barn  which I pulled down many years ago, was  one of these slab structures.

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….. The beds are now filled with soil and compost ….. Each bed was  lined with heavy  duty black plastic  which was  slit here  and there  at about 50 mm above the bottom. This meant the beds would never be waterlogged. The rich black  compost holds many times it weight in water. Each bed was mulched  with a tree chip mulch (There is tree chipping business  just  opposite  us) to stop weed growth  ….   Each bed has been planted ….. see the  results below …… we have many vegetables to eat !! ….

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…. In the  raised garden beds  there are lettuce, tomatoes, rhubarb etc. and herbs of many kinds  …. a work in progress  …..

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…  Eggplant in full growth  …..

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Wild yellow passionfruit in the trees nearby  produce their juicy fruit abundantly in August / September (Springtime in Queensland, Australia). There  has to be heavy  rain in July / August for the  passionfruit  to produce.  The passionfruit  grow  naturally  on our land  among the many trees on our acreage. When birds eat the seed they drop the  seed here  and there where ever they roost.  The passionfruit  grows  as  a luxuriant vine  with many juicy fruit. See this website: Images for yellow passion fruit Between my collecting the fruit in time and the numerous possums, there is an ongoing competition as who gets the fruit first.

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…..  Composting  …..

…..  Compost Heap  ….

Composting gives us many garden advantages. We recycle any organic waste into rich black compost in a big aerobic compost heap out of sight on our land. We recycle weeds, organic scraps from the kitchen and any paper and cardboard. We have a covered plastic bin that takes all scraps from food preparation in the kitchen. For paper and  cardboard, we then have a large wicker basket kept in the cupboard under our sink. See the kitchen  section  in our interior of the house  post. 

When the compost bucket becomes full, I have a spare bucket outside in a specially restricted area.  When the three buckets are full, I wheelbarrow them down and throw the contents onto the compost heap. When the wicker basket is full, I take it outside to the wheelbarrow.  I sort out the paper and cardboard into carefully sorted layers  and any rubbish and plastic are discarded.

It is then filled with bore water to 100 mm deep so that all paper and cardboard is totally saturated with water. This means that bacteria and fungi can immediately  begin breaking down the waste.  When any  material waste is thrown on the  compost heap,  I shovel several shovelfuls  of good compost over the new waste. This acts a seed layer to multiply  the  bacteria and fungi  to go to work on that immediate layer of organic waste.

As a further aid to help multiply the bacteria, they thrive on a bit of nitrogen. Rather than buying  nitrogen  fertiliser, you can use your own …. your urine. Urine is very rich in nitrogen, in ammonia …. This is why it smells. For men,  it is easy. They can urinate into a plastic milk bottle  if they are home, then empty it at night before you go to bed into a large  storage 3 – litre  plastic milk bottle hidden out of sight. I have ten or so of these bottles. I am on acreage land so I have plenty of room.

When they are all full, I then wheelbarrow them down to the compost heap. Rather than  throwing  the contents on the compost heap  and making  a great smell, I hammer a big bolt about 500 mm long and  25 mm thick down into the heap in about ten locations. I use a big steel headed hammer so the impact will go through into layers  of paper and cardboard. I then pull the bolt out  and carefully pour in a bottle of urine so that it has spread out evenly between the layers of weeds and rotting material. I then repeat the process with the bolt about 500 mm away and pour in another bottle of urine. I  have been told there is no residual smell.

 …. Compost forming in the lower levels of the heap to give many pot fulls of pure compost which can mixed with our sandy soil for potting plants etc.  ….

The results are dramatic.  Before long there is an abundance of rich black compost. I use it very effectively for:

  • Growing bare seeds: We eat a lot of mangoes and avocados in our Queensland summer. I save all the seeds and I have dozens of seeds sprouting. About two years ago, after had rained on our land, I planted one of self sown mango trees. Last year  it had grown to about a two metre tree  and had one mango on it.  This year in January 2017 it had  eight mangoes on it.
  • Soilmix: When mixed with your soil, it transforms the soil into a bountiful mix for growing herbs and vegetables
  • Soil conditioner: With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.
  • Holding moisture: The rich black compost holds many times it weight in water.

For further information on home composting:

This is a very comprehensive website on composting by Amelia Robinson.  It is a MUST READ for  anyone wanting to explore in ideas and practise  this whole area of composting !!

A mango tree grown and planted from a seed several years ago. In two years, it borne about mango fruits which we thoroughly enjoyed eating.

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See the next post: Post 8: The Dry Australian Bush Garden Room

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