Permaculture Principles or Plain Commonsense


Whatever you want to call them, there are things we can do in the garden that will save money and resources.

Here are a couple of projects we have been working on this weekend.

2012-08-05 01When we came here there were numerous shrubs/small trees planted close to the front verandah.  They provided some screening and privacy from the road.  Over time we planted a screening hedge of native shrubs along the boundary so the ones closer to the house became less important from a privacy point of view.  We extended the area in front of the verandah and slightly reduced the amount of lawn.  The shrubs have been pruned several times to try to keep the blow the level of the gutter.

Last year I decided on the final format for this area.  We will have a selection of flowering hibiscus in front of the verandah.  We bought 5 hibiscus at the Garden Expo in July last year and they have been progressing well.  However, one of them was beginning to struggle and we realised that it was being shaded by one of the grevilleas.  We cut down the three remaining shrubs, mulched everything that was small enough to go through the mulcher and cut the bigger branches into manageable lengths.

2015-04-06 02While Gman was mulching Istarted laying out newspapers (usually about 6 sheets at a time) and hosing them down to stop them blowing away.  The we piled the mulch we had made at one end.

2015-04-06 03This shows a close-up of the small logs that we used to create the back edge of the area to be mulched.

2015-04-06 04Here is the mulch spread out.  It was convenient that we ran out of mulch and newspapers at about the same time.  We are going to bring home whatever newspapers we can collect from work in order to continue our project.   There is still quite a bit to do as you can see from the next photo.

2015-04-06 05You can also see some of the hibiscus.  They seem to really be enjoying the full sun now that the overhanging shrubs have been cut down.  We have been offered a huge pile of mulch from the neighbours so that will go towards completing the mulching of this area.  The next job will be to buy some more hibiscus.

2015-04-06 06Finally, I wanted to show you the garden bed that I started last weekend.  It is now dug over, edged with rocks and seeds planted.  We have no shortage of rocks as they are everywhere on the block in all shapes and sizes.  I have planted sweet pea, snapdragon and heartsease seeds in the hope of having a border of colourful spring flowers.  The sweet peas are in a furrow close to the fence which will do double duty of keeping unwanted animals out of the vegie garden and being a trellis for the sweet peas.

The Great Garlic Massacre & Other Dirty Tales


We have finally had some of the glorious winter weather for which south-east Queensland is renowned – clear, sunny days and crisp, cool nights.

2013-06-16 01

The majority of yesterday and today has been spent in the garden. I have previously  shown you the 3 raised vegetable garden beds.  One was planted out with seeds a couple of weeks ago.  I planted 2 bean seeds together in each hole and they all germinated so I transplanted the extras.  I am not sure whether they will survive the process but it never hurts to try. 2013-06-16 02

We moved some lemon tree prunings which had been in this tank and filled it with soil from one of the old garden beds which is now redundant.  The soil is fabulous and it would be a shame to waste it.  We mixed it with some mulch (from the poinciana stump which we had ground last year) and also some mushroom compost.  In the centre you can also see some bok choy seedlings. The bok choy seeds came up so thickly that I have thinned heaps of them and will thin them out again as they get a bit bigger.  I could not bear to just throw the thinnings away so they were all transplanted.  Some went into this old esky filled with soil and mulch.

2013-06-16 03

I put some others in between the potato plants in the other raised bed.  The bok choy will be well and truly finished before the potatoes take over.

2013-06-16 04

The carrots, onions and beetroot have also germinated and are growing but are probably too small to identify in this photo.  You can, however, see the beans and bok choy.

2013-06-16 05A few weeks ago I bought some organic garlic ready to sprout and plant.  It has been languishing in a bag on the floor of the pantry but today was the day to plant it out. Firstly, we had to finish preparing the third raised bed.  It was about 1/3 full of leaf litter, mushroom compost and shredded arrowroot leaves.  Today we added some grass clippings after The Duke had mowed the lawn area area the vegie patch, more mushroom compost, lots of mulch and soil as previously described.  Then it was time to plant the garlic.  We peeled off the papery outer layer, separated the cloves and planted them in rows with the sprouting tip pointing upwards.  You can see all of the shredded outer layers on the ground beside the bed.  It really did look like something had been massacred.  The bed is 2.4m x 1.2m and it is entirely planted with rows of garlic.  If this is even moderately successful I should never have to buy garlic again!

2013-06-16 06 I cleared some old cherry tomato plants out of another round tank, topped up the soil and mulch and planted these golden sweet potato plants that had been in a pot for ages since my brother-in-law gave them to us.

2013-06-16 07This is the old garden bed where we have been digging up the soil to re-use.  There is still plenty left.

2013-06-16 08The pile of mulch which resulted from the grinding of the tree stump last year  has been put to good use in the garden beds.  We still have more that we can take from here to build up the next round of garden beds.

2013-06-16 09 It is gratifying to be able to use and reuse everything from our own property in the gardens.  Leaf litter, compost, mulch, soil and grass clippings all go into creating the next lot of vegetables for us to eat.  Chickens, chickens manure and eggs are also part of the cycle. Trees provide fallen timber for firewood which in turn leaves ash that we put back into the compost heap or garden bed. Permaculture in action really is the circle of life.