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Posts from the ‘Gardening’ category

6 Hacks For Easy Chook Keeping

If you’re looking to start keeping chickens, or are wanting to tweak and refine your current system, this video is for you.

I’ve summarised just six hacks which will transform you and your chicken’s lives and included some more links to other highly useful things you can do in the resources list at the end of this blog.

This is the 14th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

More chicken resources

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Managing Your Perennial Kale “Trees”

This week I’ve put together a little follow up video on the “Perennial Kale Trees” video I did around a month ago.  I explain how you manage the plants once they go to seed or get invaded by aphids – which happens to us all!

This little video shows you a simple way you can navigate it all and keep the plant going for a good few years. Enjoy!

This is the 13th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

More resources

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Edible Flowers

You may not realise that so many of the flowers in your garden can actually feature in your next meal.  In this latest Good Life For All video I take you for a stroll through our garden where I harvest and eat seven different flowers.

This is the 12th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

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Food Forests

Come for a tour of a few of our small food forests to learn what they are, the plants we’ve included and how they play a key role in our steep landscape.

This is the 11th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

How can food forests help build climate resilience?

Two key ways are…

  1. Food forests are perennial plant systems. Perennial landscapes have minimal disturbance to the soil and have abundant soil cover with a diverse range of plants. Overall, perennial landscapes are more stable and on a large scale can help store significant amounts of carbon in the ground. Great for countering the climate emergency.
  2. When it comes to food production, once established perennial food systems like food forests can produce more crops with less inputs for longer amounts of time. This is highly useful to build resilience into our food production patterns.

More resources

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A Reading From My Book, ‘The Good Life’

This past week I launched my book in nipaluna at the Town Hall with Kirsten Bradley and 300 other new and old friends. It was very special for me to be able to share this moment with so many beautiful souls.

Dear friend, Kirsten Bradley and me 🙂

To celebrate the book coming out into the world, this week’s ‘Good Life For All’ video* is a reading of the last chapter of my book!

While the book includes lots of practical tips for the home, kitchen and garden – at its heart it’s about how to grow a better world (and a good life) for all. This little snippet gives you more insight into just that :-).

*This is the 6th video in our Good Life For All series. Each Monday I’ll pop up a video to help inspire folks in building climate resilience for their homes and communities.

You can snaffle a copy of your own at your local bookshop or online here. 

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Worm Farm Tour

As part of our Good Life For All videos we’re uploading to Youtube weekly, I filmed a little tour of our large worm farm to show folks how it works and why we love it so much. Enjoy!

DID YOU KNOW: Keeping food scraps out of landfill and returning them to the Earth isn’t just about benefiting your patch. It’s also wonderfully effective in preventing methane emissions – a toxic gas up to 28x more harmful than C02… So when you’re composting – you’re taking part in a meaningful climate solution.

More resources

You can see previous worm farm related blogs I’ve written over the years below:

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How To Prune A Young Fruit Or Nut Tree

For our second video in our Good Life For All series I show you how to prune a young fruit or nut tree. This method can be used for most fruit trees to shape them for maximum yield.

Pruning can be confusing

For anyone who’s researched pruning, you’ll notice there’s an overwhelming amount of ways to prune a fruit/nut tree. So it can become confusing to know which one is the the “right” way. Over the years I’ve tried a range of methods and you know what – most of them have worked. My point being, don’t freak out if someone tells you you’ve done it wrong, trees want to grow and, even if you do make a mistake, they’ll heal/come back and continue to mature into fruiting beauties.

This video is a prime example of just that…. Technically I should have held off to prune these almond trees until summer (as that’s when folks recommend you prune all stone fruit to avoid the risk of a disease called Cytospora canker), however I needed to treat them for rust which involved spraying a lime sulphar and copper spray on them before spring (same treatment you use for curly leaf on stone fruit). I also really needed to shape them before they put too much energy into growing into a shape I didn’t want. Pruning them in late winter made these things possible. ALSO I’ve pruned lots of stone fruit in winter over the years out of necessity and they’re all still healthy. But I do try and stick to the rules as much as possible – life just often doesn’t work out like that!

I hope you enjoy this weeks video :-).

Resources

For more general information on living a good life…

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Deep Litter Composting With Animals

When keeping animals in domestic yards you need to avoid having bare earth, instead you can have a deep litter.

A what?

A deep litter imitates a forest floor which is soft and spongy – made up of deep layers of carbon and nitrogen (fresh and old leaves, sticks, branches, dead animals, rainfall etc). Some folks refer to it as a slow, composting system as the end product can be cycled back into your edible landscapes. Without a deep litter your animals end up living on bare earth which becomes problematic with the build up of their manure. Without any carbon materials (straw, woodchips, hay, mulchy stuff) to absorb and balance out the manure, the whole yard becomes stinky and gross which can compromise the health of the animals. Not cool.

In our home we have a deep litter system for our chook and goat yard – they share this space with the chooks who also access a nearby forage space through a little passage way.

Around two times a year we dig out the run and replace it with fresh woodchips. In between these times I’ll often add a thin layer of woodchips as a little top up – especially during winter when it’s very damp. By the time it’s ready to be dug out it’s already half composted material (see below). It’s beautiful, doesn’t smell gross and is well on its way to becoming invaluable compost for our food systems.

Half composted woodchips, mixed with goat/chook manure and rainfall. 

When we dig it out, the first place we put it is into some compost bays where it’ll sit for quite a few months to finish the composting process. While the finished product will look like stunningly beautiful compost, we learned the hard way that the carbon content is still very high so you’ll most likely still need to add some nitrogen into it so it doesn’t compromise your food crops. Our sad story is that we added some mature compost onto our annual garden beds and then watched in horror as our crops had a major attack of “nitrogen draw down”. This simply means their isn’t enough nitrogen to support healthy plant growth. It was easy to fix (by adding blood and bone), but we lost some time in our precious summer growing season. Won’t be doing that again!

Compost station with THE view

Hot tip

I use large, coarse woodchips as they last longer which means I don’t have to dig out the yard as often. You can source woodchips from your local arborist for free or cheap, so it’s worth calling around. Just make sure you check what trees they’ve mulched so you don’t accidentally import lots of weedy seeds.

The finished product is highly satisfying for everyone. And for those who are wondering, no the goats don’t eat the woodchips. They definitely have a little nibble but spit them straight back out.

Also, I couldn’t get them to pose for this photo below as Jilly (the black one) is on heat and can’t stand still (or be quiet) and Gerty was trying to get a cuddle from me. I love them.

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