Beauty and Bounty

Designing a permaculture garden to create different micro-climates enables us to plant a wide range of plants. This diversity builds resilience and supplies us with surprise, beauty and abundance.


The Giant Free Oxygen Pumps


Trees are like natural air conditioners, pollution absorbers, wind and dust buffers and great water pumps. They cool the earth by providing shade and recycling water. The seed clouds by letting shaking off dust and fungi. “By cooling the air and ground around them, the shade from trees helps cool the earth’s temperature overall. Trees also help moderate the earth’s rainfall, which also helps keep the temperature cooler. Forests help to make sure we get rain. Trees absorb a lot of water from the soil for nourishment. Later, when the sun shines on the trees, water is released from the leaves and absorbed back into the atmosphere – just like the water is absorbed from our bathing suits. When the sun’s energy removes water from the earth’s surface, the water collects into clouds, and when the clouds are heavy with water they release rain back to the earth.”

Trees serve many functions. They serve the forest, the wider region and the animals. Trees are Giagantic oxygen pumps that are fuelled by free solar energy. They serve much more than just themselves.

Healthiest Way To Gamble

The Healthiest Way to Gamble Is With A Package of Seedshealthiest_way_to_gamble – Don Barrett

Building soil, gathering plants, making connections with other gardeners, harvesting and sharing the bounty, learning to combine seasonal foods are all skills that we can acquire for free.

We can get free food, entertainment and enjoyment every step along the way. There is rarely a day that you will loose your invested time and if something goes wrong, you can bounce back and develop resilience.

Good Design Never Dates

“Good design doesn’t date.” [Harry Seidler]
Beautiful design by recent graduate Sarah Goldfinch

Beautiful design by recent graduate Sarah Goldfinch

It is great to have a beautiful and functional design. To be able to inspire the client and communicate effectively all the complex aspects in a good permaculture design. Congratulations Sarah on a great design. Good design never dates. Through a functional but beautiful design we can create a space that people enter, enjoy and value for generations.


Wood Ash contains potassium and calcium. You can:fire

  1. Enrich your compost with ash and charcoal.  Ash is an alkaline substance so use it sparingly to balance the acidity of some soils and compost mixes.
  2. Deter bugs in Pet houses. spread ash lightly on the floor of the dog house, and throughout the poultry houses. This reduces the smell and the incidence of pests
  3. Deter slugs and snails. If you line the pathways around a garden bed with ash you can deter snails and reduce weeds in the path.
  4. Clean glass and silver with a small amount of wood Ash.
  5. Wood Ash used to be used to create lye, which was used as a type of bleach.  Be well informed, equipped and careful with chemicals such as lye and soap because they often react with modern materials such as aluminum pots and can cause nasty burns.

Saturday Gardens

saturdays-gardenIn permaculture we teach about zoning within the garden. Some foods can be plucked and used daily. These include tea and cooking herbs, lettuces, watercress, kale and tom thumb tomatoes. Other plants are picked when they are ripe or ready such as cabbages, onions, taro, beans, peas and many more. These plants can be visited less regularly so they can be planted further away from the kitchen door. You can pop over to visit them on Saturdays, see how they are going, and see if they need attention (thining out, weeding, watering or feeding with worm farm juices.)

This garden was created on last Saturday.  This area was once a chicken run, then a zone 3 area (for potatos, pumpkins, corn, jerusalem artichokes  etc. Then it was rested and compost was laid there. The chickens were allowed to forage about in there.

Last Saturday the compost bay was reclaimed by

1. fencing the area with wire and bamboo stakes and scrap metal pieces to tie the fencing down.

2. Old bricks, timbers and prunings were used to define the lower edges. The compost was then shaped into garden beds that would retain water and slowly allow it to travel through the beds. A Keyhole entry was made in the broader bed to allow access without stepping on the bed. Stepping on a garden bed will compact the soil and reduce productivity and ability to hold moisture. More prunings and old timber was placed on the upper edges, an old toy bin lid was inverted to create the pond (which now houses water celery and water loving taro).

3. Vegetable seedlings and perennial herbs were planted, seeds will be added later.

4. Bird scarers will be hung from the forked branch in the middle which is supported by the base of an old desk chair.

Appreciate, Freshly and Naively, The Basic Goods of Life

This Silkie Rooster started life as a foster son under a big Welsummer hen. She defended him fiercely, fed him very well and he grew to be the biggest silkie we have seen. He now enjoys life with a flock of regular hens and doesn't know his heritage!

This Silkie Rooster started life as a foster son under a big Welsummer hen. She defended him fiercely, fed him very well and he grew to be the biggest silkie we have seen. He now enjoys life with a flock of regular hens and doesn’t know his heritage!

“Some have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy.”
A.H. Maslow

Diversity In the Verge


Psychonotis caelius – a tiny butterfly we found in the verge garden – the strip of garden between our permaculture site and the busy road. The verge garden is looking beautiful, has become bountiful and the soil is becoming richer every year.  Each time we sweep the gutter leaves we find big earth worms to put up in the verge soil.

Bill Mollison“. . . every society that grows extensive lawns could produce all its food on the same area, using the same resources, and . . . world famine could be totally relieved if we devoted the same resources of lawn culture to food culture in poor areas. These facts are before us. Thus, we can look at lawns, like double garages and large guard dogs, [and Humvees and SUVs] as a badge of willful waste, conspicuous consumption, and lack of care for the earth or its people.Most lawns are purely cosmetic in function. Thus, affluent societies have, all unnoticed, developed an agriculture which produces a polluted waste product, in the presence of famine and erosion elsewhere, and the threat of water shortages at home.The lawn has become the curse of modern town landscapes as sugar cane is the curse of the lowland coastal tropics, and cattle the curse of the semi-arid and arid rangelands.It is past time to tax lawns (or any wasteful consumption), and to devote that tax to third world relief. I would suggest a tax of $5 per square metre for both public and private lawns, updated annually, until all but useful lawns are eliminated.”
Bill Mollison

Conventional Advice & Permaculture Advice

permaculture-adviceThere is some very useful conventional advice about how the sunlight varies and it aims to help people to plan land use.

In Permaculture we aim to build on this, to make all the sectors of a space have usefulness. We can use shaded areas for mixed forest growth and storage of resources such as water.  We can use semi-shaded areas for mixed plantings and protective of some plants during harsh summers. It is also a great space for people to enjoy as it lowers their risk of skin cancers and enables them to enjoy communing with nature and working outdoors.
Full sun suits conventional european short lived vegetables and a variety of plants, annual and perrenial provide protection for one another against he harsh sunlight and pests. The truth is that because the ozone is thinning, many plants are struggling on the hot summer days and having partial shade from some taller companions helps them to conserve energy.

Integrated Greenhouses

A greenhouse can be mighty handy in a cool climate especially if it is linked (integrated) to the house.  The link can be as simple as a clear shelter attached to a window or back door.  If the greenhouse is attached to an outside door it can also serve as a thermal air-lock, reducing the risk of cold air getting into the house.  Attaching a greenhouse to the house also works to strengthen the walls of the greenhouse as well as provide heat to the house during cool days.

If the greenhouse gets too hot in summer, you can cover the greenhouse with a recycled canvas sheet (ie. from an old tent), heavy shade cloth, and/or vines both deciduous and annual vines (such as pumpkin). If the greenhouse is at the rear of the home, you can also use this space to hang your washing during wet periods. If it is attached to the front, add sculptures and welcoming scented plants and use it as a feature of the house.  You would locate the greenhouse on the side of the house that receives the most sunlight.

integrated-greenhouseHere is a modern version of an integrated greenhouse, it just needs an adjustable panel on the back to regular the amount of air allowed into the home. explains how pit greenhouses work.


Minimise the Risk of Being Wrong


Urban Farming of Rabbits, Havanna Cuba

What if the majority of scientists are wrong about climate change? What if all the fuss was but for nothing? The risk is simply that we become more informed, build a cleaner environment and become more respectful of nature anyway.

Nicole Foss talks about aiming to minimise our risk of being wrong. What is the risk of ignoring the science on climate change? For the lucky few we see them enjoy enormous short term economic benefits from selling the shortening supply of resources, but what is the long term impact of the loss of these resources and the suffering of others?

When we have abundance we can afford to throw away resources such as food and garden waste, surplus books and clothes. But what is the long term effect of such waste? what are we missing out on developing as a society by not building sharing networks, generosity and valuing resources and people?

Permaculture learns from nature that everything has value and can be integrated and when the networks and relationships are strong, everything can be productive.

Permaculture Gathering at Narara Ecovillage

Permaculture Gathering at

Narara Ecovillage

Sunday 29th June: 10.30am -2.30pm

Narara Eco Living Network is pleased to invite your permaculture group to visit Narara Ecovillage for our inaugural Permaculture Gathering.

Narara Ecovillage Cooperative is an intentional community developing a leading-edge residential village at Narara on the Central Coast, NSW. Our village will blend the principles of ecological, social and economic sustainability; good health, business, caring and sharing and other options that may evolve for our well-being.

The principles of permaculture will play a large part in our approach, and the co-op has many permies who bring much wisdom and experience into the mix of people from all walks of life.

We welcome the opportunity and are very excited about showing you this beautiful 63 hectares that keeps over 90 species of birds very happy as well as much other wildlife and large conservation area. As a former horticultural research station there are also many and varied productive trees to see.

NEV has had the land for nearly 12 months and has made much progress with DA’s being lodged for the main Masterplan, with 33 blocks of land envisaged for Stage 1 residences and approval for a further 27 homes available in two groups of cluster houses. Members are currently developing a Permaculture Plan for productive plantings after holding a workshop with Peter Brecknock.


Gather at 10.30am for complimentary morning tea, then a 11am tour of the site, and we’ll turn the pizza oven on for a shared lunch; followed by a short presentation and discussion.


Please circulate this to your members and rsvp to Linda Scott: living [at] by Thursday 26th June.

Narara Eco Living Network is a not-for-profit association supporting and promoting Narara Ecovillage as a model for an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable intentional community and share this vision and knowledge. We look forward to welcoming you to Narara Ecovillage. Check the websites:, or ask to join our facebook group: Narara Ecovillage Community.

Hosted by Patricia Meagher; Eco Living Committee Member and NEV Land Team Leader, a horticultural researcher with a science degree & PDC.

A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish

wishWe all make wishes. We often make plans. Learning how to design a plan, learning from others and accepting advice from nature herself, enables us to create a plan that can work and be healthy, diverse and entertaining. Nature has plans that evolve and adapt to her needs as she ages and her family grows.

Permaculture Design is based on natural energies and natural solutions. Permaculture is about using free resources such as sunlight, fire, gravity, condensation, working with and not against biological workers (worms, chickens, micro-organisms, fungi) and creating a peaceful and fun attitude to food, community and life.

Twelfth Australian Permaculture Convergence (APC12) in March 2015.

NWEC8 April 2014 – for immediate release
Media Release
The North West Environment Centre and the RESEED Centre in Penguin, Tasmania, have been
chosen to jointly host the Twelfth Australian Permaculture Convergence (APC12) in March 2015.
The North West Environment Centre (NWEC) holds the legacy of the Organic & Sustainable Living
Festival begun by the legendary Organic Farming & Gardening Society, which boasts names such as
Peter Cundall, David Stephens and Bill Mollison among its founding members.
March 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Organic Festival held in Tomahawk in NE
Tasmania, and NWEC was planning 40th Anniversary Festival in Penguin to celebrate this important
occasion. Coincidentally it is also the 30th Anniversary of the first Permaculture Convergence this year,
so the plan is now to merge the two occasions into a major event.

Vegie Patchwork

“Vegie Patchwork” is the new “Vegie Patch”


Many a well-intentioned gardener has set up a vegie patch out the back, out of view. And unless they like to visit this patch everyday to escape the household and find peace or to talk to the insects, they forget their “vegie” patch. Sometime later they look amongst weeds to find huge zucchinis, an old pumpkin and tough old beans.

Most vegetables in a “vegie” patch do not actually need full sun unless you are situated in a cool climate. Some plants may like full sun but most will cope in dappled light regardless of your climate. In fact, many areas now are overexposed to sun and the plants struggle to survive in the hottest part of the day. 

Experiment with your various light conditions for different plant species. Forget about the conventional vegie patch and start thinking about perennial plants mixed with annual plants. The areas with vegetables will become beautiful flowering gardens blending with your orchard trees.

The Chikukwa Project

The Chikukwa Project is the biggest permaculture project in the world.

“THE CHIKUKWA PROJECT is a feel good story out of Africa. For the last 20 years an incredible permaculture project has been growing in Zimbabwe.

Where once the people of the Chikukwa villages suffered hunger, malnutrition and high rates of disease, this community has turned its fortunes around using permaculture farming techniques. Complementing these strategies for food security, they have built their community strength through locally controlled and initiated programs for permaculture training, conflict resolution, women’s empowerment, primary education and HIV management.

Now they have a surplus of food and the people in these villages are healthy and proud of their achievements. Their degraded landscape has been turned into a lush paradise.

A brother and sister team travelled to Zimbabwe and made this film which shows why this project has been so successful.” Buy the film to support the project or have a film showing to raise funds.


Joy Of Understanding

Joy_Of_Understanding_Permaculture_VisionsEgg candling is a traditional technique to helps us determine which eggs are soon to hatch. We can put a small torch behind the egg to see through the shell.  Permaculture teaches both traditional techniques and modern innovations and understanding such as Biomimicry.

International Permaculture Day 2014 – Reclaiming Food Freedom!

International Permaculture Day 4th May

International Permaculture Day 4th May



International Permaculture Day 2014 – Reclaiming Food Freedom!

Everywhere new laws are being passed, supposedly for our benefit, which limit our right to healthy, nutritious food; from raw milk bans, to hidden GMOs, to the criminalising of seed saving; the reality is that our once universal right is being stripped away for corporate profit. And not only is our health and food sovereignty at stake as the food supply concentrates into fewer hands, but so is our food security, the environment and the livelihoods of countless farmers. We must reclaim our Food Freedom whilst we still can. Join our worldwide call on Sunday 4th May 2014 and come learn about permaculture in action!
For events and actions near you, visit and our Facebook page:

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Support your local Permaculture Activites and join in the fun.