Posts tagged ‘permaculture gardening’

Real Skills 4 Growing Food at Fat Pig Farm

Two days of hands-on learning, equipping you with the skills to grow food in your own home.

We’re partnering with Fat Pig Farm to bring you two days of hands-on Real Skills for Growing Food. Join us to learn the foundations in growing your own food at home – skills that you’ll have for the rest of your life.

Ready to book in? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page.

You’ll get to learn all about…

  • Soil: If you want to grow good food, you’re going to need to know about soil – this is the key to nutritious food production. We’ll introduce you to the soil food web and explore a range of soil preparation methods for different contexts.
  • Compost: Learn about a range of compost techniques and help build a big compost pile.
  • Propagation: Empower yourself to grow food from scratch – we’ll look at everything from making your own seed raising mix, planting seeds, and growing plants from cuttings.
  • Vegetable growing: We’ll introduce you to growing both annual and perennial vegetables so you can create diverse, edible gardens.
  • Food forests: How to create perennial, low maintenance, high yielding food systems for small and large areas.

Who should come to this workshop?

We’ve designed this workshop as an introduction for folks wanting to get started in growing their own food and for people looking for some extra guidance in refining their growing skills. If you’re looking for an advanced food growing workshop, this one isn’t for you – but stay tuned as we have big plans for a rather fantastic workshop on this.

Students receive

  • Full catering by Fat Pig Farm – it’s going to be delicious,
  • An invitation to an optional dinner on the Saturday night (additional cost applies),
  • Some solid time in Fat Pig Farm’s market garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your small or large garden,
  • A copy of The Practical Australian Gardener by Peter Cundall,
  • Seasonal vegetable seedlings to get you growing,
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge useful for the rest of your life!

 

“The attention to detail was great – this makes everything run smoothly and comfortably. And the gifts were amazing! Not only did I have a wonderful weekend, I came away with so much stuff! Thank you”.

Catering

Fat Pig Farm will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. Think hearty soups filled with fresh veggies from the garden, Fat Pig ham on bread straight from their wood fired oven, plus cakes and scones inspired by summer’s preserves.

Saturday Night Farm Feast

With Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans & Sadie Chrestman

All students plus their friends and family are invited to join us, Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman for a yarn and a cider over slow roasted farm grown goodness. Matthew and Sadie will fire up their wood fired oven and roast garden veggies and farm-grown meat. This is what we call a super special treat – not to be missed!

Please note, dinner is an optional extra to the daily workshops and costs an additional $80 per person. This is a wonderful chance to bring your family and friends along to soak up the hands-on learning vibes and enjoy the weekend with you.

 *And yes, we can easily cater for people with different dietary needs.

Fat Pig Farm is nestled in Glaziers Bay, 10 minutes from Cygnet and is home to Sadie Chrestman and Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans. As a working farm, they run a market garden, mixed fruit and nut orchards, chickens, bees, some milking cows and raise pigs. They also have a delightful restaurant, open for weekly lunches and occasional cooking workshops.

How do I get there?

You’ll be provided with clear directions on how to get there prior to the course.

Your Teachers

Anton Vikstrom has well over a decade of hands-on experience in working with urban agriculture. His work includes establishing his homestead in South Hobart (which is shaping up to be an example of urban permaculture at its finest) and designing people’s properties. He is deeply committed to regenerating landscapes, building community, having a good life and supporting others to do the same.

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Hannah Moloney grew up on a city farm in QLD and is co-founder of the Hobart City Farm. Along with her partner Anton, she is developing their urban homestead into a permaculture haven and has been designing, teaching and implementing urban food gardens and small market gardens for well over a decade. You can read more about Hannah here.

Stay tuned for guest teachers to be announced. 

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Firstly, thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational course. As experienced growers, we were impressed that you covered so many areas so that inexperienced and experienced growers could walk away with something of value. It was a really positive feeling to walk away with a book, seedlings, trays, seeds, cuttings etc – was most generous and will be a great ongoing reminder of where we started (dead or not ;-)). Thank you so much everyone. You are great bunch!

.

Accommodation

For folks travelling from afar – there are a wealth of local options for you to choose from, CLICK HERE to see a huge range of options put together by our friends at the Cygnet Folk Festival.

Cancellation Policy

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family – alternatively you’re welcome to put it towards one of our future courses.

Leave a comment

CalPhos Nutrient Solution

CalPhos nutrient solution for your garden. This is a new thing for me, so new I haven’t even tried it yet. A very talented and lovely grower, Nadia Danti who manages Fat Pig Farm’s market garden shared this receipe and photos with me recently after I visited her and I think every keen grower needs to know about it.

In the words of The Unconventional Farmer… 

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CalPhos  is a nutrient solution for plants just entering the flowering cycle. There is an overlapping activity of Phosporous and Potassium during flowering. In natural farming, we apply calphos before the flower initiation to support the eventual fruit. In simplistic terms, we use Phosphorous to address the root system, which will enable the plant to access better water and nutrients from the soil to support the critical changeover as manifested by flower initiation. We use Calcium to strengthen the plant in preparation for heavy flowers/fruits. Thus, natural farming emphasizes Phosphorus and Calcium during the changeover period from growing to flowering/fruiting, and this provides for that need.

There’s always so much to learn isn’t there! Nadia shared her recipe with me (and you), so you too can make your own out of ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen – it’s that easy.

Step 1

Gather eggshells. Usually chicken eggs are used, but you could also use oyster shells or bones – anything with high levels of calcium.

Step 2

Roughly grind them up in a mortar and pestle, or the bottom of a cup in a large bowl.

Step 3

Toast the shells in your fry pan or on the bbq until some of the shells start turning black. The charred black shells are the phosphorus and white/brown shells are the calcium.

Step 4

Put shells into a glass jar along with apple cide vinegar, 1 parts shells to 5 parts vinegar.

Step 5

The mix will start to bubble (this is a good thing), once this stops, seal the jar and leave it to ferment for 20 days.

Step 6

After 20 days, strain and filter the liquid.

Step 7

Use on your flowering/fruiting plants! 1 tbs calphos to 4L of water.

In a world where the general approach to growing food is to spray it with this, that and everything (think chemical fertilisers), useful tools like this one that ensure optimum plant health and nutritioun levels are gold – solid gold!

Want to know more? Have a good rummage around The Unconvetional Farmer’s website for some highly useful info!

 

 

3 Comments

Deep Breath Out

It’s been a busy December. Life is always full, but with the end of the year it’s been particularly brain-squishing, use all the hours in the day and borrow some from the night type of busy. Hence, not quite making it to this blog – sorry about that.

But here we are. Slowly breathing out and relishing some quality time tending to our gardens and animals. Because at the end of the day it all comes back to land, life and love for us. Today I have no “how to” blog for you, just a deep sigh, breathing out

To get grounded we garden. This past weeks there have been numerous jam making sessions, fresh berries picked, cordial made and bread baked. There have been beans, greens, garlic, eggs, goats milk and honey harvested, preserved, eaten and gifted. It’s such a rich time of the year here.

Nasturtium seeds are harvested, on their way to becoming capers. They’re delicious.

This morning while picking black currants, I momentarily lost my daughter in the orchard – our comfrey is so tall she can get lost in there. What a good thing – soon this comfrey will get slashed down as mulch for the surrounding trees and within weeks, news comfrey will pop up, continuing the cycle.

Our orchard of medlars, apples, apricots are all getting big and teasing us with their imminent greatness.

As you can see below, baby Jilly Love Face isn’t so baby any more. She’s growing beautifully, is hilarious and can go from standing still to jumping over a metre high – she’s very impressive, as is her amazing mum who provides milk every morning for our sustenance.

The five baby chooks Anton and Frida picked up from the side of the road stall are thriving, so far we think we have only one rooster, which would be a miracle!

Squashing berries and currants (below) for summer wine and champagne (it was amazing) is a glorious activity – highly recommend it.

And surprise deliveries of japanese turnips form the Hobart City Farm, means we get settled into the kitchen and chop, chop, chop – making kim chi galore for numerous gifting.

And as the last day of 2017 comes to an end I am grateful that we have such amazing projects and people in our lives and that are only trouble is keeping up with it all. And I’m hopeful for a 2018 that’s full of healthy challenges and good land, good people and ultimately more good life.

 

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How To Landscape A Steep Slope

In mid 2016 we bought the neighbouring patch of weedy/bush land we’d been drooling over for 4 years; and at the beginning of 2017, we started shaping it to include a driveway and more garden/animal space. We’d been drooling over this steep landscape as up until early 2017 the only way into our property was by walking up a very steep, 100m rocky staircase from the road. We had always wanted to buy the neighbouring land to improve access – it just took 4 years to get it done.

When we started earthworks, the view from our house overlooking the new land looked like this.

As our land is very steep, we knew straight away that we wanted to terrace it, inline with what we had already done in our existing garden. So the whole site was cleared, with the green waste taken to the local tip site where the Hobart Council composts it in large hot piles and sells it back to the community.

While we would have LOVED more flat ground, we couldn’t afford to build retaining walls everywhere. Instead, we designed large earth banks with an angle of approximately 30 degrees. Like our current garden, we planned on using these as edible forest gardens and the flat terraces for annuals crops and animals.

After the machine had shaped these terraces, we used hardwood timber from a local sawmill sight to help define and stabilise the edges…

…And a hell-of-a-lot of heat treated pallets to stabilise the earth banks. This techniques has been a real game changer for us in steep slope gardening, as the pallets provide lots of ledges to plant into, making it easier for plants to get established. It’s also easier to irrigate and passively harvest rain, as water is slowed down (a little bit), instead of quickly rushing down each bank.

Around this time, Anton’s day (Gote) sailed his boat down from NSW, parked in the local bay and would come up every day to build a rock wall, dig holes and just be his marvellous, eccentric Swedish self. All the rock came from onsite and was simply rearranged to build our one and only retaining wall :-).

Gote on the far right reclining on his rock wall. 

We then very quickly broadcast a mix of green manure seeds directly on the banks in late Autumn to get things growing. This included red clover, mustard, lupins and rye grass.

Early winter with green manure crops thriving

A couple of times throughout Winter, we’d slash the green manures down – delaying them going to flower/seed so we could get more root growth and more benefits for the soil.

In early Spring, we let the banks go to flower for which the bees thanked us (they loooooved it in there) and covered the future annual beds in non-toxic, UV stablised black plastic to break down the green manure crops without having to dig *at all*.

The black plastic was left on there for around 6 weeks in which time all the green growth died back and the soil biology ate it up.

Today (Oct 31 2017), the view from our window onto our new patch of land looks like the photo below…..

There are thousands of annual veggie plants on the flat terrace you can see and another above this (out of shot).

We have two toggenburg goats, Gerty and Jilly Love Face who moved in just over 2 weeks ago. Gerty provides 1.5L – 2L of milk every morning and Jilly Love Face (who’s 3 weeks old) provides enormous entertainment.

The chook house has been moved to be with the goat run and we’ve planted 20 hazelnuts and 10 mixed trees into the earth banks. Currently the earth banks still have remnants of Winter’s green manure crops. We’ve started cutting and dropping them in place as mulch and will be planting floral and edible shrubs, plus perennial herbaceous layers into the bank over the next year to form an edible forest garden.

Baby hazelnut trees popping up amongst the green manures. 

In between each nut and fruit tree, we transplanted tagasaste (tree lucerne) seedlings that self-seed in the local bush/weedy land behind our property. These nitrogen-fixing small trees are quick growers and will provide benefits to the soil and fodder for our chooks and goats. Eventually they’ll be chopped down once the nut and fruit trees mature and need more space.

Baby tagasaste seedling

And the goats are truly glorious. You can see them below on one of their daily walks and amongst the many daily cuddles we have. Obviously there’s still a long way to go with our property, and more time required before we see mature trees, but today (or this morning at least) I’m just pausing and reflecting on the past 10 months and *really* enjoying the change of view from our window.

 

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No-till Soil Prep For Crops

No-till soil prep is a way of growing crops from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage – meaning you improve soil health over time rather than consistently degrading it.  It’s a method quite common in the market gardening community and something we’re starting to use at our own place now that we have nice, long straight’ish beds.

On the new patch of land we recently bought we did some significant earthworks in Autumn and have been growing green manures ever since. We’re letting 98% of the green manure crops grow until late winter, but we did put in a small garlic patch and used the no-till method to help us do it.

This method uses silage tarps as a form of weed/crop control, meaning instead of digging in your green manures (or crops) you temporarily cover the bed in non-toxic, UV stabilised plastic to do the job for you. I know – it sounds whack and it actually took me a while to get my head around it. But after seeing it in action at the Hobart City Farm, and seeing how darn well it worked I was sold.

Here’s how we did it for our little garlic patch…

Firstly we cut the green manure crops down to the ground, as they were already pretty short we left all the green waste on the bed. If your crops are really tall you’ll want to remove some of them as too much fresh, green matter can create an anaerobic environment which isn’t great for soil life and health.

Then we planted directly into the bed with no digging except to make a small hole for each garlic. We also sprinkled a small amount of gypsum as our soil needs this. This is where you might want to spread a layer of compost, it just depends on your soils and crops.

Planting, planting, planting


Once fully planted, water in the crop (if needed) and cover with your silage tarp. We actually used non-toxic black builders plastic as this is what we had available. While we’re a bit unclear whether this is acceptable for organically certified farms we do know some market gardeners who use it in this way who grow chemically-free and grow well! We’re comfortable using it as our research tells us this particular type is non-toxic and UV stabilised.

What’s the plastic actually doing?

  • It’s killing any fresh growth currently there (the green manures), keeping their roots in tact for the soil life to thrive in and around,
  • Suppressing/killing weed seeds,
  • Heating the soil up – increasing the rate of germination, and
  • Drawing up soil life (earthworms galore) to the top layers of the soil where it’s still dark and moist thanks to the plastic.

How long does the plastic stay on there?

This varies depending on the season, weather and crop rotation system you have in place. We left ours on the garlic for around one month, checking it every now and then to see if it had germinated.

Once you can see fairly even germination it’s time for the plastic to come off.

The garlic you can see above and below is pale green/white, this is fine as it’ll green up in 2-3 weeks. The main thing we like is the lack of competing plants that garlic has to deal with (garlic hates competitors) and the fact we didn’t have to do the usual manual weeding to get it to this point.

As we’re having a unusually dry winter we’re now watering the garlic a bit to kick it along – otherwise our work here is done. We’ll water as needed (c’mon winter rains!) and do some light manual weeding here and there – but the next key job we’ll have to do here is harvesting later on in the year. Yesss!

5 Comments

Real Skills for Growing Food at Fat Pig Farm

Two days of hands-on learning, equipping you with the skills to grow food in your own home.

We’re partnering with Fat Pig Farm to bring you two days of hands-on Real Skills for Growing Food. Join Hannah Moloney, Anton Vikstrom and Fat Pig Farm’s market gardener, Jonathon Cooper to learn the basics in growing your own food in small spaces.

Ready to book in? Just scroll down to the bottom of this page.

You’ll get to learn all about…

  • Soil: If you want to grow good food, you’re going to need to know about soil – this is the key to awesome food production. We’ll introduce you to the soil food web and explore a range of soil preparation methods for different contexts.
  • Compost: Learn about composting worms *and* make a hot compost.
  • Propagation: Empower yourself to grow food from scratch – we’ll look at everything from making your own seed raising mix, planting seeds, and growing from cuttings.
  • Vegetable growing: We’ll introduce you to growing both annual and perennial vegetables so you can create diverse, edible garden-scapes.
  • Food forests: How to create perennial, low maintenance, high yielding food systems for small and large areas.

Who should come to this workshop?

We’ve designed this workshop as an introduction for folks wanting to get started in growing their own food and for people looking for some extra guidance in refining their growing skills. If you’re looking for an advanced food growing workshop, this one isn’t for you – but stay tuned as we have big plans for a rather fantastic workshop on this.

tranquility

Students receive

  • Full catering by Fat Pig Farm – it’s going to be delicious,
  • An invitation to an optional dinner on the Saturday night (additional cost applies),
  • Some solid time in Fat Pig Farm’s market garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your small or large garden,
  • A copy of The Practical Australian Gardener by Peter Cundall,
  • Vegetable seedlings to get you growing,
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge useful for the rest of your life!

“The attention to detail was great – this makes everything run smoothly and comfortably. And the gifts were amazing! Not only did I have a wonderful weekend, I came away with so much stuff! Thank you”.

Untitled design (4)

Catering

Fat Pig Farm will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. Think hearty soups filled with fresh veggies from the garden, Fat Pig ham on bread straight from their wood fired oven, plus cakes and scones inspired by summer’s preserves.

Saturday Night Farm Feast

With Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans & Sadie Chrestman

Untitled design (3)

All students plus their friends and family are invited to join us, Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman for a yarn and a cider over slow roasted farm grown goodness. Matthew and Sadie will fire up their wood fired oven and roast garden veggies and farm-grown meat. This is what we call a super special treat – not to be missed!

Please note, dinner is an optional extra to the daily workshops and costs an additional $80 per person. This is a wonderful chance to bring your family and friends along to soak up the hands-on learning vibes and enjoy the weekend with you.

 *And yes, we can easily cater for people with different dietary needs.

Fat Pig Farm (1)

Fat Pig Farm is nestled in Glaziers Bay, 10 minutes from Cygnet and is home to Sadie Chrestman and Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans. As a working farm, they run a market garden, mixed fruit and nut orchards, chickens, bees, some milking cows and raise pigs. Thew also have a delightful on farm restaurant, open for weekly lunches and occasional cooking workshops.

How do I get there?

You’ll be provided with clear directions on how to get there prior to the course.

Your Teachers

jono-profile-pic-for-GLP-editJonathon Cooper is the current organic market gardener for Fat Pig Farm and lives in the Huon Valley. He has several years experience working in agriculture, including as co-owner of a diversified 200 acre regenerative farm south of Hobart. He loves working with people to teach them how to grow their own food in whatever space they have available to them. While he focuses on market gardens, he’ll teach you skills transferable to small and tiny spaces, perfect for the urban gardener. You can follow his adventures at Fat Pig Farm here

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Anton profile pic
Anton Vikstrom
 has well over a decade of hands-on experience in working with urban agriculture. His work includes establishing his homestead in South Hobart (which is shaping up to be an example of urban permaculture at its finest) and designing people’s properties. He is deeply committed to regenerating landscapes, building community, having a good life and supporting others to do the same.

IMG_5913 2

 

Hannah Moloney grew up on a city farm in QLD and is co-founder of the Hobart City Farm. Along with her partner Anton, she is developing their urban homestead into a permaculture haven and has been designing, teaching and implementing urban food gardens and small market gardens for well over a decade. You can read more about Hannah here.

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Firstly, thank you for a thoroughly enjoyable and educational course. As experienced growers, we were impressed that you covered so many areas so that inexperienced and experienced growers could walk away with something of value. It was a really positive feeling to walk away with a book, seedlings, trays, seeds, cuttings etc – was most generous and will be a great ongoing reminder of where we started (dead or not ;-)). Thank you so much everyone. You are great bunch!

.

Accommodation

For folks travelling from afar – there are a wealth of local options for you to choose from, CLICK HERE to see a huge range of options put together by our friends at the Cygnet Folk Festival.

Cancellation Policy

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family – alternatively you’re welcome to put it towards one of our future courses.

Leave a comment

Growing Your Own Apple Tree Rootstock

Last winter our neighbour gave us two apple rootstock saplings and some advice for our developing orchard plans. She said:

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Save yourself money and grow your own rootstock. Just dig a long trench the same height of the tree and bury them (each in their own one) – they’ll sprout multiple times from their trunks and grow more trees.

Our neighbour is one of the best growers around, so we do whatever she tells us. We dug two shallow trenches, popped them in and forgot about them. The sketch below outlines the key steps to do this whole process – super easy.

saplings

We now have ten young apple trees that we’ve since grafted onto with our desired apple varieties.

What varieties did we choose? The sturmer for its good storing abilities and the red galaxy – an older variety with pink flesh. We couldn’t find any reference to this variety, but how could we go past it with a name like that! Thanks to Fat Pig Farm for letting us lovingly raid their old orchard.

img_7049The young graft line, healing beautifully. 

img_7044Our ten apple saplings

We’re storing all the trees in one trench on the edge of our young olive grove until next winter, when we’ll transplant them into their permanent home in some new ground we’re prepping this summer. Until then, they’ll put on good growth so they’re ready for fruiting the following season.

If we were to buy all the plants we wanted to grow in our property, it’d add up to many, many thousands of dollars. Learning these life skills isn’t only empowering and deeply satisfying they look after the piggy bank too. But mostly, they’re just deeply satisfying – that’s what drives us – developing *useful* skills that all add up to having a good life.

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Our Maturing Edible Forest Garden

Around three and half years ago, we excavated our hillside – shaping the very steep slope into a series of terraces.  We knew we couldn’t afford to build retaining walls to stabilise each terrace, so our solution was one that many people have used before us – use plants to stabilise the earth berms. The berms are angled at around 45 degrees (the legal steepness is 60 degrees where we live), are a hell-of-a-lot cheaper and turns out more productive and beautiful than retaining walls.

The earth berm below (circled in yellow) was our largest, most problematic slope to stabilise – our solution? Plant it out as a small edible forest garden (EFG). You can see the full process we went through to establish this patch here.

Forest-garden-bank-1024x432

558615_639447366089512_23328198_nDirectly after the earth works, we quickly covered the steep earth berms with jute mesh to help stablise the soil and hold the clover seeds we broadcast (in hindsight, jute mat would have been better). We then put in some basic timber shelves, back filled them with good soil and planted them out densely.

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.EFG-with-labels-1024x768

While we still think of this little patch as our young EFG – it’s starting to produce food, provide habitat and food to small insects and critters, plus it’s beautiful. We now sit in our seat (below), have a beer or a cuppa while fresh mint and nasturtiums drape over our shoulders. It’s transformed and we love it.

IMG_6002Photo from April 2016

Contrary to most design approaches for EFGs, we’ve arranged our key plants in rows in order to help stabilise the steep bank and to create easier access in a relatively small space. Below you can see these lines reasonably well with currants at the bottom left, feijoa trees in the middle, a strip of comfrey and then myrtus ugni berries at the very top. There’s also rambling clover, mint, nasturtiums and many herbs in between all this as well.

IMG_6006 Photo from April 2016

As an ever-evolving space it’s always changing from season to season. We’ve made some changes here and there, like replacing the tamarillo tree with a fig, but only because we like figs more and due to limited space had to make a choice.

While I was out there this morning cutting and slashing the comfrey, using it as mulch around the fig and feijoa trees, I had a happy moment – realising that we never have to bring in mulch for this patch any more. It produces *so much* bio mass, plenty to cycle back into its own system, plus feed the chooks.

20161025_103400The baby fig tree *flanked* by a serious wall of flowering comfrey and a cape gooseberry.

20161025_103407

Being a perennial system, the maintenance is *significantly* lower than our annual garden beds. While we’re currently busy weeding our spring veggie beds and keeping them under control – our EFG only needs only occasional attention. Our main jobs are pruning and harvesting to keep this tight space productive. For example, two or three times a year I’ll go through and “clear-fell” patches mint to dry for tea, plus give the neighbouring plants a break from being swamped by it. Below you can see a freshly harvest patch which will bounce back with fresh mint in no time.

20161025_103806A clear patch where the mint has just been harvested for tea. Image form October 2016

We’re approaching a very big summer/autumn of change for our property – expanding our gardens into the neighbouring block we’ve just purchased (with the bank). While there’s still a whole stack of details to finalise, we’re 100% clear on one thing – and that’s having more perennial, instead of annual gardens. The high productivity, improved soil health and lower inputs required make it a no-brainer!

6 Comments

Real Skills For Growing Food At *Fat Pig Farm*

Two days of hands-on learning, equipping you with the skills to grow food in your own home.

Exciting time Folks! We’re partnering with Fat Pig Farm to bring you two days of hands-on Real Skills for Growing Food. Join Hannah Moloney, Anton Vikstrom and Fat Pig Farm market gardener, Jonathon Cooper to learn the basics in growing your own food in urban and small spaces.

This workshop has now booked out, you can sign up to our newsletter to hear about the next one!

You’ll get to learn all about…

  • Soil. If you want to grow good food, you’re going to need to know about soil – this is the key to awesome food production. We’ll introduce you to the soil food web and explore a range of soil preparation methods for different contexts.
  • Propagation. Empower yourself to grow food from scratch – we’ll look at everything from making your own seed raising mix, planting seeds, and growing from cuttings.
  • Vegetable growing. We’ll introduce you to growing both annual and perennial vegetables so you can create diverse, edible garden-scapes.
  • Fruit trees. You’ll learn all about planting and pruning fruit trees, plus we’ll introduce you to a wonderful concept called ‘food forests’.

Who should come to this workshop?

We’ve designed this workshop as an introduction for folks wanting to get started in growing their own food and for people looking for some extra guidance in refining their growing skills. If you’re looking for an advanced food growing workshop, this one isn’t for you – but stay tuned as we have big plans for a rather fantastic workshop on this.

tranquility

Students receive

  • Full catering by Fat Pig Farm – it’s going to be delicious,
  • An invitation to an optional dinner on the Saturday night (additional cost applies),
  • Some solid time in Fat Pig Farm’s market garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your urban or small garden,
  • A copy of The Practical Australian Gardener by Peter Cundall,
  • Vegetable seedlings to get you growing,
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge useful for the rest of your life!

 

“The attention to detail was great – this makes everything run smoothly and comfortably. And the gifts were amazing! Not only did I have a wonderful weekend, I came away with so much stuff! Thank you”.

 

Untitled design (4)

Catering

Fat Pig Farm will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. Think hearty soups filled with fresh veggies from the garden, Fat Pig ham on bread straight from their wood fired oven, plus cakes and scones inspired by summer’s preserves.

Saturday Night Farm Feast

With Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans & Sadie Chrestman

Untitled design (3)

All students plus their friends and family are invited to join us, Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans and Sadie Chrestman for a yarn and a cider over slow roasted farm grown goodness. Matthew and Sadie will fire up their wood fired oven and roast garden veggies and farm-grown meat. This is what we call a super special treat – not to be missed!

Please note, dinner is an optional extra to the daily workshops and costs an additional $80 per person. This is a wonderful chance to bring your family and friends along to soak up the hands-on learning vibes and enjoy the weekend with you.

 *And yes, we can easily cater for people with different dietary needs.

Fat Pig Farm (1).Fat Pig Farm is nestled in Glaziers Bay, 10 minutes from Cygnet and is home to Sadie Chrestman and Gourmet Farmer, Matthew Evans. As a working farm, they run a market garden, mixed fruit and nut orchards, chickens, bees, some milking cows and raise pigs. In the very near future Matthew and Sadie will also be opening a farm restaurant for lunches and occasional cooking workshops – watch this space.

How do I get there?

Students will be provided with clear directions on how to get there prior to the course.

Your Teachers

jono-profile-pic-for-GLP-editJonathon Cooper is the current organic market gardener for Fat Pig Farm and lives in the Huon Valley. He has several years experience working in agriculture, including as co-owner of a diversified 200 acre regenerative farm south of Hobart. He loves working with people to teach them how to grow their own food in whatever space they have available to them. While he focuses on market gardens, he’ll teach you skills transferable to small and tiny spaces, perfect for the urban gardener. You can follow his adventures at Fat Pig Farm here

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Anton Vikstrom
 has well over a decade of hands-on experience in working with urban agriculture. His work includes establishing his homestead in South Hobart which is shaping up to be an example of urban permaculture at its finest and designing people’s properties. He is deeply committed to regenerating landscapes, building community, having a good life and supporting others to do the same.

 

IMG_5913 2Hannah Moloney grew up on a city farm in QLD and is co-founder of the Hobart City Farm. Along with her partner Anton, she is developing their urban homestead into a permaculture haven and has been design, teaching and implementing urban food gardens for well over a decade. You can read more about Hannah here.

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“Thank you, thank you, thank you!! [You] are beautiful and amazing!” 

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Accommodation

For folks travelling from afar – there are a wealth of local options for you to choose from, CLICK HERE to see a huge range of options put together by our friends at the Cygnet Folk Festival.

Cancellation Policy

There is no refund available for this course. If you’re unable to make it we encourage you to pass your place onto friends or family – alternatively you’re welcome to put it towards one of our future courses.

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Homegrown Bug Mix

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We consider having a good bug mix on hand really useful (essential even) in creating a healthy, pest free garden. It’s key function is to attract certain insects (often referred to as beneficials) that help pollinate crops and control unwanted insects.

As we’re in Tasmania we’re unable to buy in certain seeds and bug mixes due to quarantine, so we grown our own – and while the mix will vary depending on seasons and availability, here are some of our stalwart and rather beautiful ingredients. Image from Green Harvest

 

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Sweet Alice (Lobularia maritima) has masses of tiny white and/or purple flowers that attract hoverflies and parasitic mini-wasps. This little bush grows prolifically, so much so that we often ‘weed’ it out and use it as mulch to protect naked soils. In doing so it drops its seeds and grows where we’ve thrown it down. When the bush is dry, we also put some of it in a paper bag and shake it around vigorously – this separates the seeds from their pods so we can easily harvest them.

IMG_5384Sweet Alice being used as mulch

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IMG_5386Sweet Alice seed pods and actual seed separated

The second plant we use *a lot* is calendula (Calendula Officinalis). We use it as a quick growing cover crop to help stabilise and beautify some of our many slopes and attract the good guys into our landscape. Ladybirds (and bees) love hanging out on these little beauties.

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Finally, we use nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) in our bug mix which everything seem to love. They’re a fantastic ground cover, perfect in orchards and for rambling down slopes. We use their young seed pods to make ‘poor man capers‘, and the rest fall on the ground and are harvested for our bug mix.

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All three of these plants will grow prolifically and while they will self seed and become very abundant in your garden, they wont become invasive. This means you can happily grow them in both your annual and perennial crops without a problem.

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Above and below you can see some of these flowers in action in our orchard, below you’ll also see flowers like borage, native pelagonium and sunflowers,  who add to creating an attractive, food filled space for beneficial bugs.

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Want to know more?

 

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