Saturday, August 28, 2010

Make Rooting Hormone From Willow

Make Rooting Hormone From Willow

With the rains that have arrived this winter - its been a great season for transplanting and propogating. Recently at the Toora Grafting day there was discussion about the various uses of hormone powders vs honey. The issue was - if you were grafting a tree for organic or bio-dynamic purposes the hormone powder would disqualify the tree. Honey is an anti-bacterial agent but does not act as a hormone. Here is an alternative... or course the issue with this one is how to treat the graft. Perhaps dipping it after it has been cut - before tapeing the graft would work. Yet to find myself a Willow - but if you have one handy give the recipe a try this Spring !!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toora Heritage Pear Farm - Grafting Day

Toora Heritage Pear Farm

Toora Heritage Pear Farm is a living museum of heritage pear species which are being cared for and propagated by the Friends of the Toora Heritage Pear Farm. This weekend - the Friends hosted a grafting workshop in order to continue the developement and bio-diversity of both heritage pears and apples in the region. Neil inspired the group with a pep talk - taking us through the reasons and techniques for grafting and we were able to choose from about 100 species of heritage pears or apples. Taking root stock suitable to our soil conditions and also the size of the finished plant we desired we were then able to choose out species with the desired characteristics. The choices and combinations was truly overwhelming. First of all - if you are grafting more than one species - they must have the same growth rate, secondly they must also flower at the same time to ensure pollination. Finally after much deliberations I chose the Snow Apple and the Tom Pippin. Later Neil told me this was an "old timers favorite pair". Well I completely fluked that one - after 2 hours of mucking about trying to find a way through the information that was available. A word of warning - go to such workshop with some knowledge of heritage pears or apples!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thats What I'm Talkin' 'bout

So often I am seeing people talkin the talk - and not even crawlin the walk. I know, my self included, that the idea of being a responsible visitor on the earth is a very appealing one. But how often does this translate to transformative action? Watching a Green Peace add on TV recently which advocated bullying in the work place as a means to overcome car pollution really highlighted the hypocricy of a movement that places "peace" as their catch cry. With the Federal Election Campaign in full swing at the moment there are so many ideas and good intentions thrown around and no tangible change. Recently at my place of employment which is a very large high profile government public building, a communications committee has been established to help us to be better communicators. The first result of this meeting was a poster which highlighted all the areas which were needed in order for better communication to take place. What is more pressing in the workplace and more generally is the simple act of looking one person in the face at a time and giving them your attention. Respecting and exchanging information. Basically its back to the manners that your mother and grandmother past down to you at the kitchen table and it comes back to self respect. How does this relate to a permaculture blog? Well the place of domesticity is the vital hub - before Zone 1 there has to be a center which is the home. And before there is a home there must be a heath. There must be a person tending to the heath and that person must come from the heart in order for the flow to come from an essential place of healing and positive transformation. So yes - weed, plant, harvest and learn but remember why your doing this rather than going to the supermarket - dear lord you know it is cheaper these days but the grace of change which happens to me and the little space that I have some control over is the true blessing.

A worthwhile read on this topic:

Radical Home Makers

and closer to home:

Domestic Blitz The Age

Patrick Jones' In Trouble

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I went to Ceres last Sunday to get some plants and seeds and also to check out thier permaculture design course. Some ideas that I got there included using all of our bricks to build a chimney style pot! I just loved the way it created a little landscape in the raised garden bed. Also the propagating area - the shade cloth could be done simply over any area. They have also constructed a series of green houses (well white houses actually) I saw a similar example of this structure at the Southern Cross Inst. of Permaculture with simply created with steel star pickets with plastic piping placed over the picket and stretch over (creating a rainbow) to the other picket. This makes it very easy to assemble - and dissemble and recyle the material! I think some thing of this kind will be put in the back garden beside the shed.

I have planted some artichoke seeds bought at the Ceres nursery. These are heading into the back yoga studio plot. Plans for the back include splitting the rhubarb and also I have added a Cardomon plant where the fuscia came out due to the heat - it is a real hot spot so lets see. The cardomon plant - as well as its seeds - has great leaves for wrapping fish or scallops for cooking!! It gets to three metres which is a little higher than I was hopeing but surely I can prune the top off if it gets too big. Right now it is in front of the yoga room - in between the windows.

Front Key Hole Stage 2

Planting has began.
I am realising that this is a very sunny but also a very small little patch really. Therefore rather than fill it up with annuals I am going more for a perrenial garden bed interspersed with annuals. So far the herbs are in. I have found the sunniest and also the driest patches and made these the mediterranean corner! This is the top corner. I have planted thyme here and some New Zealand spinach and Nasturtiams. I have also replanted a dear blue berry which was struggling where it was. I have placed this at the top of the path. Along the V at the top of the path I have planted lemon grass which was in need of splitting after two years or so of no harvesting! This lemon grass wall provides a wind break and also stops the pup from running across it to get to her favourite past time of patrolling the front fence (as seen in photo two the mad white flash across the fence!). The area where the compost bin is now will be planted with tomatoes this summer and root veg next winter. I want to put some asparagus in with the lettuces and some garlic (if its not too late). The bird bath is a bit of an experiment at the moment. So far the birds are loving it and scratching around in the soil which was something I wanted to encourage with not having chookies to serve this purpose. They splash about and sprinkle a little water down below. Also their gifts of poop are full of nitrogen - not to mention unwanted seeds - but eh they are great entertainment. chen was having her bone the other day and took a leap in the direction of the bird bath - the bird didn't faulter - kept on with its morning cleanse and ignored the protest of pup who quickly went straight back to her bone.