Thursday, November 3, 2011

Garden Yoga

An instructional video about making gardening a yoga practice.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nepal’s Stolen Children: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary

I had the chance this week to attend the screening of CNN's launch of the Freedom Project which features Demi Moore in Nepal addressing the epidemic issue of human trafficing.

The panel discussed this issue closer to home in Australia.

The arguments went around in circle - how do you modify this trend? Whose responsiblity is it? What are the avenues of communication?

The core issue was gleaned - but not emphasised. The catalyst for human slavery is poverty. You can not stop slavery without removing the desperation of those forced or trapped into it.

The Fair Trade brand was represented and it was this spokesperson who called a spade a spade. To stop global poverty we have to buy Australian Made. That means having less - and paying more. Needless to say if this became a reality he would be out of a job!

There is a silent collusion on the part of every consumer to turn a blind eye to that which we support through our purchasing. It is a cultural addiction. If we could kick it - we wouldn't recognise the world we live in.

The CNN Freedom Project

Maiti Nepal

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spain 3

Reasons why I love Spain / Portugal:

1) They allow weeds to grow in the gutters and become a thing of beauty

2) They have a road of telephone poles called crane city

3) They grow orange trees in the Street!! (seville)

3) They have ancient viaduct systems in their temples that feed the trees and trip up the tourists





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Monday, October 10, 2011

Spain 2

Back to Spain as Summer in Melbourne still eludes us ....

Oporto is famous for Port and for Cork!

At the Graham's Port distillery the depiction of the vineyard in cork had me very excited about ways of planing out the lay of land in hilly areas.

Oporto itself is a city build layer upon layer and the use of space through layering was used across the Spanish landscape.






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For certain, the most extreme example of building on a steep incline is Montserrat:






And this... some Ancient Ruins near Toledo


Saturday, October 8, 2011

The easiest Compost Pile Technique

I saw this technique on gardening Australia.

Two stakes - either side, and alternate dry / wet piled high. I supported the pile by putting a narrow baboo stake through the centre.

I added thistle and comfrey to assist the break down.

Lets see... time will tell!

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About three weeks ago I was weeding around the plum and thought what a shame that the Cabbages I had planted beneath had bolted. My efficient-self was eager to pull them out and add them to the compost bin. Another quiter-self said, not now. Lucky they didn't get the yank... as I got a fabulous fright to see two big white Cauliflower faces smiling up at me - seemingly sprouting over night.

I harvested them today and not a bug in sight!

Curried Cauliflower for dinner!



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Linda Eldredge on Radio National

Today while listening to the bush Telegraph on Radio National - Linda Eldredge's description of working the land while referencing her apps via her iphone and making the paddock her office got the host and in turn myself very excited.

Although determined not to be online 24/7 and therefore holding off the temptations from my phone company to sign up for an iphone, this interview conjured in me some practical uses for Permaculture Design.

For example. Being able to assess a remote property - anywhere on the globe in fact and reporting back a Permculutre design with the aid of video footage.

Also an accurate assessment of lay of the land, climate patterns and topography, while walking the land with a client.

I think it is early days - this interview will provide some inspiration for those (like myself) who are tech wary!

From the kitchen table to the tablet, Nuffield scholar researches real-time technology - Bush Telegraph - ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PDC 2012

This blog started with the intention to implement a Permaculture Design into the Miyoga Garden.

2 years and 100 posts later... I have enrolled in the Course!

In the meantime more observations and helpful hints to come... including not throwing out what appears to be a bolted cabbage because it just might turn out to be a most beeeautiful head of cauliflower! What a great suprise I got today.

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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Grafting Success

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Its been just about a month and the grafting has been a success.

The objective for grafting came after a visit to Mama Longo's garden last year. She wanted to have a graft of the plum tree we have here at the Miyoga Garden.

Unfortunately by the time the grafting workshop at BAAG was organised it was too late to graft Plums. Also Mama Longo didn't have a plum so we have this weekend planted one ready to graft next year!

Some tips for Grafting sucess:

In the Southern Hemisphere July - August is the grafting season. When the sap is rising, the tree must be growing, not dormant, but also not flowering.

Drop flowers off below the graft as you don't want them taking precious moisture away from the area.

For Soft Wood a cleft graft is recommended - for other woods a tongue and whip

Keep your grafting knife sterilised with a jar of 1/2 metho and 1/2 water - this is also a good practice for your pruning tools.

Dwarfing trees is made possible by intersecting a species with a segment of a dwarf stock. For example a Pear tree - grafted with a dwarf apple - followed once again by the pear species.

Use small plastic bags to seal the graft and keep moisture in - however watch the temperature on the day.

If you are north facing - then make the graft on the south side of the plant - so that it won't be dried out too quickly.

Always remove buds off the root stock - otherwise it will take over.

Who goes with whom?

Apricot go with Plum
Citrus go with Citrus
Apple go with Pear
Quince go with Pear
Persimon go with Persimon
Plums go with Plums
Apples go with Apples
Nectarines go with peaches
Figs on with Loquot

Benefits of grafting include choosing root stock that is suitable to your land and conditions. For example if you are flood prone then you can grow on root stock that tolerates a wet soil and graft an apple that normally wouldn't survive these conditions.

It also assists in cross pollination and allows for a longer fruiting season. Ideally you could have an apple tree that provides fruit all year round! A challenge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grafting Workshop

Well this weekend I put a Doc Hog onto a Granny Smith. Sounds like the promo of a British Crime TV series. But no, I was grafting. Having learned the basics with Neil last year at the Toora Heritage Pear and Apple Farm it was time to weild a grafting knife myself. The workshop was organised by Buleen Art and Garden. The more that I learn about grafting - the more there is to learn. Well that's the same as gardening in general isn't it.

After the workshop a visit to BAAG followed where I discovered a native plum which is home in the Australian Rainforest. I would have liked to experiment a bit with this one to see if a European plum would take to it - however am not confident that the climate in Melbourne will sustain the rainforest plum - perhaps when I get my hot house the experiment can ensue!
For Mama Longo I am swapping her my new grafting skills for some Recipes. I think I get the better end of the deal!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Winter 2011


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Last Days of Winter! This week I have potted up some Raspberry sticks - and got a bit ambitious and a wee bit eager for Spring/Summer by purchasing some Eggplant Seedlings - but just couldn't resist.

The Kale seeds from last year have produced some hardy little seedlings. I'm hoping they don't bolt too quickly as the warm weather approaches.

The first asparagus appeared under the gaze of Mary! I will plant some more to bunch the patch up and get some product in the next 2-3 years.

Thanks to Joe's assistance the back fence is looking truly loved. Grape vine, and lemon have been cleared of Jasmine and the Olive given a Prune after picking.

Bring on Spring!

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Soylent Green

An interval from Spain for a moment to review the Sci-Fi Classic Soylent Green.

This movie came to my attention in an introduction by Thomas Fischbacher for the transcript of Bill Mollison's PDC Course (see below).

Set in 2022 and made in 1973 it got me thinking about our own 50 year vision. What do we imagine the year 2061 will look like? And will we be eating each other in the form of Soylent Green??

Actually I didn't expect to enjoy this film... I mentioned it to a friend who went to the bother to find it ... rather than discover it in the Sci-Fi section the video guy lead him to the 'Stoner' section. Ah Bill what path are you leading me up????

But it had me hooked. And made me appreciate the home cooked meal in front of me. Even though futuristic, this film has a great retro aesthetic - I particularly appreciated the vision of video games in the future - little did they know that Star Ship troopers would have revival in its retro form!

I imagine at the time Permaculture was conceived of these were the topical issues (not star ship troopers but the death of the ocean, over-population, climate change) and they remain pertinent today.

I really appreciated the character of Sol - who spoke of the past (life as we know it) and admitted I could have done more -- I should have done more. I think perhaps he speaks for us today - who know all the facts and have this window of opportunity to create change.

3 and 1/2 stars

A good Sunday arvo watch on a rainy day - so long as your mood is up beat !

"if we take a close look at our history, the evidence that it by and large manages quite well to explain a large number of observations (such as the collapse of many past civilizations) should give us more than enough reason to stop for a moment and give it some thought. If this is what we really do - wouldn't that mean that, if we continue like this, then in all likelihood we would ultimately end up being driven to eat the grass and the earthworms from the soil for there is nothing else left which we have not destroyed before? Art has raised this question many times. This is, for example, the topic of the science fiction movie "Soylent Green".

When we get confronted with such an idea, how do we deal with it? In our western society, there seem to be two widespread reactions to it: The maybe less common one is "the environmentalist's" of considering this as our inevitable fate, with the only relevant question being whether we can slow down the inevitable degradation enough to retain a reasonable quality of living for the next few generations by curtailing our own exploitation in order to leave something for them to exploit. (Is it inappropriate to associate this thinking to "environmentalists" as strongly as this use of that term in the previous sentence seems to indicate? Most likely so. Still, quite a number of people have views which at least broadly match this concept.) The presently dominant reaction is "the economist's" of coming up with rational-sounding excuses based on the idea that "our cleverness always found a solution, and always will" - a comforting idea which we all perhaps would like to believe, but which undeniably quite strongly smells of human-ego-off-its-rocker-again, and doesn't actually fare well when confronted with the evidence. Essentially, this is little more but a thinly disguised head-in-the-sand attitude.i> " (Fischbacher. T.,

Monday, July 4, 2011

Spain The Breakdown

Need inspiration during a Melbourne Winter? Go to Spain!! What an experience.

Such a rewarding time going and looking at a culture, a landscape and city scape through the lens of permaculture design.

1. Madrid - the Retiro Park and Botanical Garden blew me away and put our gardens to shame - lets face it - it takes time and check out the age of the Olive in the Bot Garden ...

On a hot day in Madrid you truly appreciate the build up residential inner city planning - the narrow streets were shaded from the height of the buildings and a breeze ran down during the heat of the day.

What struck me in Madrid was the emphasis on planning and design. The tree were able to climb tall along the main promenades as all the electric cables were underground - along with the metro. The amount of walk ways and bike paths which ran along the middle of main roads showed how much dedication to the pedestrian their city planners had. Coffee shops - with no paper cups in sight - are you kidding? You drink out of ceramic - and SIT DOWN to drink your coffee! Well that is if the coffee shops are open and it isn't Siesta time - this country has got its priorities straight!

Looking at the Medieval towns of Toledo and Segovia you can begin to make sense of just how much prior knowledge has been put into planning the modern cities.

2. Medieval - Modern

to be continued ...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Landline Biological Farming

Watching Landline this weekend I was really happy to hear the average Aussie farmer embracing the concept that there is life in our soil that needs respecting - a turn about which has occurred since the increased price in petrol and fertilizers ... but also was rather amused that we have to hear it from an American and import such ideas - when they have been here in Australia under the guise of Permaculture for decades - hey what ever way we can have farmers respecting the earth - may it happen!! It was a great episode to watch ....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spain Taken the street for a TRUE DEMOCRACY - May 15th 2011 -

Its a global sentiment - we're educated - our eyes are open and we want change!
Interesting times we are living in right now - always seems the case that the darkest times bring the brightest light.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Golden Orb Spider

Walking under the plum to get the Rainbow Chard for dinner tonight - look who I walked straight into ----- Sticky web with a giant Golden Orb in Centre!! YYEEEKKKS ...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pressing Olives

The Olive season crept up on me this year. Was it really one year ago that I was up the ladder in the Olive tree?

This year - Mimi found an article in Vasili's Good Gardening for Pressing Olives and this is the method I'm working on (See Good Gardening Magazine p. 75). It is incredibly simple - just cover your Olives in Sea Salt - wrap them in mesh (hessian or shad cloth) place over a rack for drainage and put a weight on top to encourage pressing. Leave for 2 weeks - opening up the cloth and checking that all olives are covered in salt ever 2nd days or so. How easy is that? Then wash and bottle the olives in olive oil with herbs (optional).

Lucky for me I had Mama Longo drop in last week and look over my work... "Too much salt - too much salt" and also she advised that my shade cloth was too tightly woven :( The juice has been draining, so I am going to stick with the shade cloth I bought - but will keep her advice in mind for next year.

The good part about pressing is its quick! Just 2 weeks.

Tis the season to be preserving and speaking with a friend at work - who surprises me each week with another preserving tip - lemons are dead easy to preserve. Here is the photo of my first attempt at preserving lemons. They will last years and are packed with punch for stews, curries even salads. This photo was taken on night 1 - the juices have all now released and you can top up the jar with more lemon juice to cover all the fruit if yours hasn't filled completely. He also suggests leaving preserving bottle outside - the warmth of the sun helps to speed up the process - although its been soo cold lately I don't know if its better out or in - but it may be the actual rays of the sun that are working in the process. Will continue to experiment and learn. (For instruction for lemons please see Newsletter #4).

Next? I have some chilli's that may find themselves bottled up soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Eco Heroes - Roz Savage

An initiative from rower Roz Savage

Eco Heroes

I’ll Meet You There by Rumi

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I will meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Daniel Kitson

“...I do intend to actively resist mainstream success, which is unappealing to me, because I think genuinely wonderful things aren’t liked by that many people.”

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Greenbootz Gardening going Greener...

Preperations have began to make TLC gardening a two wheel operation.

The idea originated from my time living in Amsterdam - seeing the Mums and Dads pushing their kids around in the front of their pushies in what to me appeared to be large colourful wooden buckets. I had never seen anything like it, and my Dutch friend explained that new mums can't wait till their babies can hold their heads up independently because thats the first sign that they are ready for their first ride out front!! I can remember just the ride to the super market was a chance to check out the fashions - the bike paths were a promanade for men and women to display their fashion sense - Perhpas it is the helmets - or the fact that we don't officially have bike paths - but it just doesnt look this good in Melbourne ( !!!!!

However for my plans Cargo Cycles here in Melbourne have providing plenty of insiration:

Or as suggested by a friend ...

I have stripped an old mountain bike of its racks and basket and am planning to attach them to a previously owned mountain bike and then purchase a front or back cargo trailor for tools / refuse.

It is the long handled tools that are providing the most problems and the idea of a telescopic rake / broom / shovel have come to mind! But there may be a way. Investigation still to follow. And plenty of food for thought on the web...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mother Earth in Turmoil?

I have heard recent environmental upheaval described as "Mother Earth is letting us know she isn't happy".

However if we look beyond the earth to the activity of the Sun and Moon you can see a direct connection between the weather of Space and its affect on Earth.

Brian Cox's recent documentary on SBS Wonders of the Solar System demonstrated how the periodic Solar Storms directly affected the magnetic field, water behavior and electrical systems here on earth.


Tracking the Weather of Space the amount of recent activity is in accordance with the number of environmental backlashes felt here on earth: "The geomagnetic storms of March 10th and 11th are subsiding. Earth's magnetic field began shaking on March 10th in response to a CME impact; the reverberations continued for more than 24 hours. In Sweden the auroras were so bright, they competed with campfires"

As Japan faces its biggest rebuild since Kobe and nuclear power plants are being "Killed" with the introduction of Sea Water to prevent further explosions - Permaculture principles are as relevant as ever. Perhaps it is not a matter of prevention - the earth will change along with the main source of life - our Sun. But we can at the very least use our resources wisely.

As Japan enters into summer and the re-build begins - rather than donate Money - perhaps the world's great minds could donate their time and energy to design the towns that have been devastated. I would much prefer to donate a Solar Panel to replace the Nuclear Power Japan has relied on.

I believe mother earth is not as vindictive as we would believe. We are not victims on this earth - we are incredibly fortunate life forms who have thrived on the conditions which this solar system has provided. The belief that it should be permanent is a difficult illusion to break - and it is our very own mortality which we naturally avoid and cause us to forget that life is not our right - but a rare experience to use to its fullest potential through relationships that enhance rather than diminish our short time together.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


I had the pleasure of working on a wonderful example of interplanting edibles with non edibles on this largely native garden. It reminded me that veggie gardens don't have to stand alone - but can enhance the trees / shrubs already in place. I think this is the feel that the Spiral Bed really needs. The pathway in the front native garden demonstrates how you can make the most out of the space you have. By dividing it in two by a narrow path you can walk within the garden and appreciate from within - rather than simply looking from a frontal perspective. The compost bins are also a feature which I would like to replicate with a huge pile wood down the side that needs a use. This property which was once a Dairy is an absolute pocket of country living in Melbourne. Again it reminds me that you don't need the hobby farm - just start now where ever you are!!