Garden2Plate kindly invited me up to their Italian workshop, with the possibility of me doing some graphic design work for them.

It’s a really great idea. First you have a cooking workshop, where you’re shown new techniques (in this case, cooking pasta). Then you are taken into the permaculture garden and shown composting and other gardening ideas and techniques. Then you get to go back and eat the food you’ve just learnt how to make!

I got to spend some time discovering the amazing garden (unfortunately my camera didn’t despite the new batteries I purchased just for this). The garden has some amazing banana trees (I can’t imagine my tree ever getting that big – but I hope so!! There were also leftover sunflowers – each head the size of a plate. Unfortunately the birds had gotten to the seeds, otherwise I would have attempted to grow those amazing plants! And speaking of huge – the pumpkins that were on the outside of the garden had gone insane. Seriously, insane.

My favourite comment from the other participents was when Adam (one of the gardeners) pulled up a bunch of multicoloured heirloom carrots and someone asked him if he should put them back in until they turned orange.

Overall I loved the garden, and it’s a really great idea for a business. If you’re curious to check them out, it’s in Killcare on the Central Coast.

Whoops – ok, it’s been a little while since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d talk about the three permaculture gardens I’ve visited in the past few months.

The first one was Karonga, a school for students with special needs.  I was there with my local Permie group learning how to make passata.

There were two gardens. One large one on a slight slope, with heaps of different plants growing, and lucerne taking over in between. There was lots of amazing discoveries to be found in the garden, and I could imagine kids wandering around discovering patches of vegetables. (Which is fun, I don’t care how old you are).

Then there is another garden with keyhole beds and chickens (which made me miss mine).

There is a great video of it which made by another PSN permie, Jeremy:

It’s open for national permaculture day if you’d like to check it out. Click here for more details.

Ask most baby boomers or gen xers about chokos, and they’ll scrunch up their face, questioning why you would ever grow such vile fruit.

Most gen y’ers would only think of them as that thing maccas used to put in their apple pies before they actually put apples.

But Linda Woodrow in “A Permaculture Home Gardener” assures me that the young fruit are actually a completely different vegetable. And for the dollar or two it took to buy one from the supermarket and wait for it to sprout, I’m willing to take that chance.

It’s the most super simple thing ever.

1. buy a choko. I got mine from the local woolies.

2. leave it to shoot. seriously, it will.

3. plant it.

rocket science, right?

So far it’s gone from this:

to this:

Woodrow says that it needs a hard pruning in late autumn, then hopefully it should come back strong in the summer! And I guess we’ll really find out what chokos actually taste like!

“You can tell who the Graphic Designer is”

This is what my neighbour yelled out to me as I was placing stencils on my green bins, branding them as my own. But its a very simple process with a really impactful result.

Bin numbers

You’ll need:

  • Printer
  • Clear contact
  • Scalpel & cutting mat
  • Tape
  • Spray paint
  • Some old newspaper for masking
Directions:
  1. Choose a font you want to put on your bin. I used Eames.
  2. Make it as big as you want & print as many copies as you intend to do (I made mine A3)
  3. Find a surface you can cut on (I have a cutting mat, however you could also use a couple of layers of cardboard).
  4. Stick your number down first. Then place your contact over the top (leaving a large area around the edge of the number if possible) and affix with tape. Since it’s clear you’ll be able to see the number underneath. Carefully cut out the number using the scalpel, trying not to cut yourself.
  5. Repeat for as many numbers as you need.
  6. Make sure your bin is as clean as possible. Remove the backing from the contact and stick on your bin.
  7. Pull up the outer edges of the contact and pop in a sheet of newspaper, because spray paint can go far!
  8. Spray away!
  9. Pull off your stencil when paint is still tacky. Otherwise your number might come off with your stencil.
  10. Enjoy knowing which bin is yours on bin night!

I’ve had my first positive insect experience this summer.

Anyone in Sydney can tell you, it’s been a very wet summer, which has had it’s downfall for the veggies – most of our zucchini got mildew.
I attempted to fix this by making a milk spray, but it obviously wasn’t strong enough as it didn’t work.

However instead it attracted a whole heap of mildew eating ladybeetles!

We also had a lot of other insects. The snails went nuts with our cabbages, and in an even more strange twist they were also all over the tansy! I thought tansy was supposed to ward off insects!!!

The veggie beds have been going strong, lots of zucchinis and tomatoes.

I just ordered online at Daley’s Nursery for miracle fruit tree – sounds magical, I know. What’s the miracle you ask?

When you eat the fruit, your tastebuds get altered for the next couple of hours, and everything you eat tastes sweet. Can’t wait to try it out.

They’re (already) sold out again, but you can get an email next time they’re available, and try it out for yourself.

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I’ve been doing a little science project. In Australia, there is a quarantine zone, which means you can’t ship banana plants outside it. However you can ship embryos. And that’s exactly what Backyard Bananas did for me. They sent through very detailed instructions on what to do to help them grow into strong plants. And two weeks after planting them out, they’re still going. They’re in my greenhouse and I’ve been using eco c weed and eco aminogro to give them the best organic chance possible.

Let’s hope they keep going.

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