Posts tagged ‘good life permaculture’

Permaculture Design Course

A part-time Permaculture Design Course to get you living the good life.

Sold out – pop your name on the waitlist here.
If places become available (due to COVID travel restrictions on our interstate friends) we will let you know by mid-December. 

Based at the Sustainable Learning Centre, Hobart, this part-time Permaculture Design Course runs in four-day blocks across three weeks. Classes run from 8:45am – 5pm each day with some occasional (fun) homework.

Course dates

  • Week 1: January 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 8:45am – 5pm each day
  • Week 2: January 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 8:45am – 5pm each day
  • Week 3: January 29th, 30th, 31st, 1st February, 8:45am – 5pm each day.
  • Please note, this is a non-residential course so students need to arrange their own accomodation.

I loved this course. It hasn’t just changed my outlook on life – it’s changed my life (Anita).


  • Permaculture ethics & principles
  • Design theory and practical application
  • Systems thinking
  • Patterns understanding
  • Water management, in the home and in the land
  • Soil health: How to improve and maintain it
  • Cropping systems: food production, seed saving and integrated pest management
  • Alternative economics
  • Energy systems
  • Social permaculture
  • Food forests
  • Sustainable building design.

Just wonderfully fun. So well coordinated (always on time, always organised), experience of a lifetime, truly life changing. Thank you so much (Nysha).

Great! A life changing experience and a very good start for living a more conscious life and be the change (Maria).


This PDC is for farmers, urban gardeners, perennial renters, community development workers, sustainability officers, university students, students of life, market gardeners and big thinkers. Permaculture is relevant and useful to you whether you’re working in the paddock or in the office, you’ll become equipped with thinking tools to design properties *and* the life you’ve always wanted!


First and foremost, the PDC is a design course. It is not a hands on course where you actively get to grow food, build a house or ferment food… Although we do get our hands dirty either fermenting food or getting into the garden. This means that while we will cover a large range of practical topics (i.e. building, gardening), we will not focus on teaching you the practical skills for each one. Rather, we’re committed to teaching you foundation knowledge for each topic so you can create designs which are integrated, appropriate and darn clever. You can read about some of our previous PDCs here & here. If you’d like to learn how to learn some hands-on, practical skills – have a look at some of the exciting short workshops we’ve got coming up..

Inspiring. Empowering. Life changing. I feel like the course brought together so many big picture things I had been worrying about and gave me a framework not only to make sense of them but to do something about it. This transformation from focussing on problems to having a positive and practical way to move forward is so awesome. I feel totally inspired to live in a more connected way, starting with my home and community, knowing that some amazing positive changes can flow on from this. Also great to connect with a bunch of likeminded people. So much fun. Thank you (Jessamy)..


  • Delicious and nutritious vegetarian catering (vegetarian lunches and morning/afternoon snacks)
  • Course resources
  • Field trips to local properties featuring clever design in action
  • A one year membership to Permaculture Australia
  • A whole bunch of new permaculture friends and networks

“So wonderfully inspiring- the most practical and enlightening course I’ve ever done :)” Lucy..


YOUR LEAD TEACHER: Hannah Moloney has over 15 years of hands-on experience in designing, building, managing and doing projects around urban agriculture, small-scale farming, permaculture and community development. In 2015 she was awarded the Tasmanian ‘Young Landcare Leader Award’ for her work with Good Life Permaculture and co-establishing Hobart City Farm. In 2018, she took part in the Tasmanian Leader’s Program and in 2019 started appearing as a guest presenter with Gardening Australia on ABC TV (dream gig – you can see some of her stories here) and featured in the Women Of The Island project. When she’s not working on other people’s gardens and farms, she’s working on her own, teaching and designing educational tea towels.


Nick Towle is a passionate advocate for sustainability and permaculture and brings a diverse set of skills to the course including home-based sustainability practices and community economic systems. His most recent permaculture adventure has involved establishing the RESEED Trust, a two acre urban property in the heart of Penguin (NW Tasmania) which is being developed into a permaculture demonstration site and sustainability education centre.



.Anton Vikstrom is a sustainability specialist with experience in urban agriculture, renewable energy, international development and energy efficiency. Anton completed his Environmental Science degree at the ANU in Canberra and GDip at the University of Sydney. His areas of study included Human Ecology, Geography and Agro-ecology. His research Thesis was on understanding energy flows through urban agricultural systems. Since then he has worked with The Alternative Technology Association, Cultivating Community and Tasmania’s very own Sustainable Living Tasmania. In addition to his deep professional experience he has a wealth of knowledge of practical sustainability, from off-grid solar power, carpentry, and landscaping to brewing, fermenting, kite making and sewing..

Thanks for being awesome! Thanks also for the shared life-experiences/knowledge of the teachers. One thing that really stood-out for me was the “people care” of the students, and everyone really, throughout the two weeks. I have never before experienced this in the many workshops, courses and places of learning/study that I have attended. My wish is that such a thing becomes the “normal” way of being – YEAH!


This Permaculture Design Course is being held at the Sustainable Learning Centre, 50 Olinda Grove, Mt Nelson. This venue is a short 5 minute drive from Hobart City and a wonderful example of sustainability in action.


Applications have now closed for this year’s scholarship.


We provide nutritious and delicious vegetarian food and can cater for a large range of dietary needs with wholesome, locally sourced and organic food where possible.

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  • We are Tasmania’s expert permaculture education provider, committed to facilitating meaningful and high quality learning processes for our students. We have REALLY applied our heads, hearts and hands to create this course to be one of the best permaculture adult education experiences available.
  • Our teachers are amongst the most experienced and passionate in Australia. You will always have at least one professional permaculture designer/practitioner on site at all times.
  • We are committed to ensuring our students are equipped with the best start possible to being competent and effective designers and practitioners.
  • We feed your mind with a huge array of top quality content. We also feed your body with delicious and nutritious food for the whole course. Where possible we source local and organic foods to support Tasmanian growers and producers.
  • Upon completion of the course, you’ll be on your way to being a professional permaculture designer (if this interests you), be able to teach on a permaculture design course and continue studying towards your permaculture diploma, anywhere in the world. Cool hey!.

It was amazing! More than what I hoped for. So grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Hannah and the team! (Manuela).


If you’d like to establish a payment plan so you can pay the course fee over a period of months we’re very happy to work with you to create that. We ask that people set up this plan prior to the course, so that the fee is paid in full be the time the course commences. Please contact us to discuss.


Prior to Wednesday 2nd December 2020, we ask that you give us two weeks notice if you choose to step out of the course; we’ll provide a refund, minus the deposit fee. After that date, we will not be able to offer a refund. Alternatively, you can pass your place onto a friend or family member or choose to use this as credit towards one of our future courses. If we have to cancel the course due to Covid-19, we’ll provide a refund immediately, minus the deposit.


Please note, this course will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – contact us beforehand to discuss options.


Sold out – pop your name on the waitlist here.
If places become available (due to COVID travel restrictions on our interstate friends) we will let you know by mid-December. 

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Small Farm Design

Join Hannah Moloney and Nick Ritar at Fat Pig Farm for one day of focused learning in how to design a productive small farm – so when you set your own up, you get it right first time round! 

Sold out! But pop your name on our wait list here and we’ll be in touch is a place comes up. 

Who should come along?

We’ve designed this workshop for hobby farmers and folks looking to embark on a small-hold commercial venture and are looking to get the foundation design right before they start digging dams and holes for fence posts.

This workshop will cover

  • Design framework – based on permaculture design.
  • Reading the landscape so you put the right thing in the right place.
  • Water systems, including dams, swales and keyline methods.
  • Grazing management
  • Fencing to keep animals in and/or out.
  • Weed control
  • Fire safety
  • Perennial plants including grasses and trees to restore stability.
  • Soil remediation for thriving landscapes.

Your teachers

Hannah Moloney runs Good Life Permaculture where she’s the lead educator and permaculture designer. Over the past 8 years she’s designed countless small-large farms throughout Tasmania to be productive, resilient and darn beautiful – all while ensuring that the design is intimately integrated with the people living/working on the land.

She also keeps busy with her own large urban homestead in the heart of Hobart. You can read more about Hannah here and here. 



Nick Ritar is Milkwood’s primary design and education consultant. Nick is passionate about authentic outcomes for students studying permaculture and life skills, and cultivating community.

He spends his time growing good food, keeping bees, cultivating mushrooms, teaching permaculture design & advocating for community-scale resilience. You can read more about Nick here. 




This workshop includes delicious and nutritious lunch from the Fat Pig Farm kitchen. You’ll feast on seasonal produce straight from their farm. We can’t really describe how good their food is (it’s really good), so you’ll just have to come try it.


We’re holding this workshop at Fat Pig Farm in Glaziers Bay. Where is that exactly? The venue address and details of the venue will be shared with students closer to the workshop.


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.


Please note, this workshop will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – contact us beforehand to discuss options.

Looking to learn other hands-on skills?

We run lots of workshops – register your interest here and we’ll let you know what’s coming up.

Sold out! But pop your name on our wait list here and we’ll be in touch is a place comes up. 

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Goat Workshop

A workshop for people wanting to keep goats holistically, productively and consciously.

Sold out! Pop your name on our wait list to snaffle any spare spots.

Join Jilly Middleton and Hannah Moloney at Fat Pig Farm to learn about keeping goats naturally. Based on their lived experience, this workshop will provide tips, tricks and depth of information you simply can’t find in the books, or on goat forums (trust me, we’ve tried).


  • Keeping goats to manage farm weeds, i.e. blackberries and gorse,

  • Raising goats to be hardy and low maintenance,
  • Domestic goat keeping: Keeping goats in urban or small areas,
  • Wholistic goat care,
  • What to feed your goats,
  • Breeding goats,
  • Fencing, and
  • So much more!


  • Theoretical information and discussion on everything goats,
  • Tour of goats in action on the farm,
  • Delicious and nutritious lunch from Fat Pig Farm,
  • Course notes, tailored for the Tasmanian context, and
  • New networks and goat friends to connect with into the future.


Jilly Middleton runs Twelve Trees Farm in Cygnet – an organic blueberry farm. While she currently has no goats on her farm, she spent 7 years farming goats naturally for meat, milk and to manage a range of weeds on her farm include gorse and blackberries. She is a wealth of practical knowledge and has a rare depth of information on everything goat.

She recently sold her goat herd to Fat Pig Farm where they now spend their days eating blackberries. You can see her talking goats with Matthew Evans talking  on a recent episode of The Gourmet Farmer here.


Hannah Moloney runs Good Life Permaculture where she’s the lead educator and permaculture designer. For the past two years, she’s also been doting on two toggenburg goats – one of which she milks daily in central Hobart. She brings the unique experience of urban goat keeping, has worked through numerous challenges of sourcing food, health and fencing. All of this can be applied to any domestic “house goat context” in both rural and (some) urban locations.



This workshop includes delicious and nutritious lunch from the Fat Pig Farm kitchen. You’ll feast on seasonal produce straight from their farm. We can’t really describe how good their food is (it’s really good), so you’ll just have to come try it.


We’re holding this workshop at Fat Pig Farm in Glaziers Bay. Fat Pig Farm have their own herd of goats which students get to see in action. Bred by Jilly around the corner on her own farm, these goats have been trained to eat weeds, specifically gorse and blackberries.

Where’s Fat Pig Farm? The exact location of the venue will be shared with students closer to the workshop.


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.


Please note, this workshop will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – contact us beforehand to discuss options.

Looking to learn other hands-on skills?

We run lots of workshops – register your interest here and we’ll let you know what’s coming up.

Sold out! Pop your name on our wait list to snaffle any spare spots.

Leave a comment

DIY Duck Feeder & Watering System

At the beginning of the Covid lockdown for Tasmania this year, we scrambled for home projects for our little 5 year old Frida while her kindy was shut and landed on a few things including hatching Indian Runner duck eggs which we had been thinking of re-introducing into our garden for a while.

We sourced 12 eggs from a friend, made an incubator to keep them warm for 28 days and waited. Out of the 12 only 2 turned out to be fertile (that happens sometimes). Both hatched and we met Star Bright Shimmer and his very weak sibling Marison (named by Frida of course). Marison was born with only one working leg and was lack lustre from day dot. And yet we adored her, she lived for 2 months before dying (this happens sometimes). We buried her in our garden and planted flowers on top – Frida is beautifully attentive to these plants and sometimes I catch her singing to Marison at her grave. So much unexpected learning and conversations about life, death and love when we just thought we were hatching ducklings.

Star Bright Shimmer – the most beautiful.

While this was all happening Star Bright Shimmer imprinted himself onto Frida which means he legitimately thinks Frida’s his mum and will follow her anywhere. And while he now strictly only lives outside, there was a while there where Star Bright was an inside duck and the bathroom sink his personal bath. Sounds sweet, but the smell, the mess – so much poo!

We sourced Star Bright two girl ducks for company from a farm – Dandy and Daisy, we have no idea who is who but we’re ok with that. As we didn’t hand raise them they are completely uninterested in us, except when we feed them. Star Bright continues to be Frida’s true love and will clamber all over us at every opportunity.

We keep our ducks fenced in our young olive orchard as they’re enormously destructive to annual gardens. Between their bills snuffling under little plants, copious amounts of poo being splashed around and their big flat feet they can demolish whole annual crops and compact the soil while they’re at it. But in an orchard or established food forest, they’re perfect.

Ducks are messy creatures. They specifically like to poo in water – we have a bath pond for them which we empty as needed and drain onto a nearby food forest. You can see a much older blog about that system here.  

The feeding & watering system

I’ve struggled to find an effective water and feeding system for them that I can build easily myself. But recently found this DIY bucket system which contains all the food and water and stops them from walking and pooing in it all.

All you need is two 20 Litre buckets, I sourced mine from a local wholefoods shop for free once they’ve finished with them – ask your local cafe or bakery if they have any spare.

Using a jigsaw, I cut three holes into the sides of the bucket – one for each of my three ducks. The holes are approximately 20cm from the ground height, ensuring the ducks can reach in and touch the bottom of the bucket with their bills.

I then fill one with water and the other with pellets for them to eat.

Importantly, you should still expect the water to be very dirty at the end of the day. This is because ducks use water to keep their eyes and bills clean. As they’re constantly foraging beneath mulch and soil all day for slugs and grubs, they keep clean by frequently dunking their head in water. So there’ll be a fair bit of dirt in the water still – nothing to worry about.

So far -this is the best and easiest DIY method I’ve found for ducks. I can move the buckets around easily preventing one patch of earth becoming an absolute compacted mess, they prevent duck food being wasted and keep all poo out. All is well in duck universe :-).

More duck resources



Free Home Composting Workshop

Learn how to compost your food waste at home for free!

In collaboration with the City of Hobart, we’re very happy to announce more free composting workshops for YOU to support you to compost your food waste at home and keep it out of landfill where it becomes a stinky, nasty pollutant.

Sold out – Join the waiting list here. 

BECAUSE….. Did you know that food waste comprises nearly half of the rubbish in an average household rubbish bin and that up to (and over) 40% of landfills across Australia consist of pure food waste. Yuck!  Once in landfill, food waste undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 25 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

So if you compost your food waste you’re diverting it from landfill and transforming it into nutrient-dense compost. Perfect for growing a great veggie patch in your own home or community garden!


  • Chickens,
  • Small compost bins,
  • Large compost bays and piles,
  • Compost worm farms,
  • and more!


This workshop is being held at Mathers House at 108 Bathurst St, Hobart on a Sunday at the same time Farm Gate Market is happening directly out the front. Because of this you will be unable to drive directly to the front door. Instead, park in the Melville St carpark and walk across the road.


Hannah Moloney is director of Good Life Permaculture and their lead educator and designers with *many* years of experience in composting. She’s worked with Cultivating Community and the City of Yarra running innovative community composting programs plus a number of home composting pilot projects with the City of Hobart. Passionate about composting food waste, Hannah educates people how to harness this precious resource and transform this kitchen waste into garden gold!


Please note, this workshop will be run in accordance to Covid-19 guidelines recommended at the time. If you are unwell with flu like symptoms we ask you to please not attend the workshop – please contact us beforehand to notify us if this is the case so we can pass on your place to someone else.

Sold out – Join the waiting list here. 

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Four Ways To Manage Codling Moth – Naturally!

Last year we had a small amount of codling moth (Laspeyresia (Cydia) pomonella) on our young apples for the first time. Bummer. There were tears.

Unfortunately even if your trees are healthy, if there’s any codling moth in the immediate neighbourhood it’s only a matter of time before they find their ways to your apple trees. This season I’m ready and have just applied the methods below to managing coddling moth. Here they are.

But first: Their lifecycle

Understanding their lifecycle will help you manage them…

  • First, tiny eggs are laid on leaves after dusk, this starts to happen once night time temperatures reach 15 degrees or higher.
  • Eggs hatch after around 10 days, they feed on leaves then eventually move into fruit where they’ll chew their way into the core and eat for 3 – 5 weeks.
  • Once they’re full, they leave the fruit and move down the trunk, looking for a loose crevice to make a cocoon. This is usually under loose bark or in the ground directly near the base of the trunk.
  • It’ll then metamorphosis into an adult moth which will then flies at night to mate and repeat the cycle.

In cooler areas the moth will have two productive cycles each season, while it warmer areas they’ll have three. So you have to manage the moth throughout the whole season to catch them in these cycles.

1. Trunk Trap

Wrap hessian cloth or corrugated cardboard around the base of the trunk to trap any caterpillars looking for a place to pupate. They love hanging out in those cardboard corrugations – inspect every three weeks to see if there are any cocooned caterpillars and destroy them. Then replace with a new collar.

2. Pheromone Trap

There are a range of pheromone traps you can use for codling moth. A pheromone is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species, in this case it mimics a “mating smell” (not the technical term) and attracts the codling moth directly to it.

This is the one my local nursery happened to have. How does it work? The codling moth are attracted by the manufactured pheromone lure, they enter the trap and are caught on the non drying glue inside the trap. The glue insert can later be removed for inspection and replacement.

Above: The pheromone trap with the little lure in the middle -which comes in the below packet below. The lure sits on sticky non-drying glue which traps the codling moth. 

The only challenging thing with the pheromone trap is the price. These kits range from $30 – $50,  so not an option for everyone, and honestly our trees are too young to even produce that amount of fruit. I just panicked bought it when I didn’t think there was another options…

But then I researched some DIY methods which, while quite different to the above (not pheromone based), can still trap codling moth. Like this one from Utah State University Extension where you mix water, molasses and yeast together in a bucket. Apparently the codling moth is attracted to the smell, dives in, gets stuck, dies and your apples live happily ever after.

3. Beneficial plants that attract insects that eat codling moth

Include strategic plants in your orchard which attract beneficial insects that eat codling moth. These plants include clover, queen annes lace, dill and fennel.

These beneficial insects I’m referring to are the Trichogramma – a minute wasp, less than 0.5 mm long. The adult female lays her eggs *into* the codling moth eggs (wow). There are also a number of other number of wasps, night flying birds, tree frogs and small bats that can eat codling moth. So the more diverse plants you have integrated into your orchard, the better. You might be interested in checking out edible forest gardens to learn more.

White clover in flower

4. Horticultural glues

People also use a type of “horticultural glue” at the base of the trunk to prevent some of the female moths from crawling/fluttering up the trunk of the tree. It’ll also stop ants and other crawling insects you don’t want in your trees.

Put masking tape on the trunk first, then apply a very thin layer of the glue on top of that (with anything but your fingers – it’s real sticky). The codling moth get stuck on there as they try to walk up the trunk. You need to replace it every 2 – 3 months.

Importantly, you can’t use vaseline. Me being me, I researched all the DIY options. Vaseline popped up again and again as an alternative to commercial glues – so I tried it. But it doesn’t last more than a few days, at which point codling moths, caterpillars, ants etc will happily crawl over it. So don’t waste your time there. I bought a 500g tub of natural horticultural glue from nursery for around $13 – the tub will last for years and it will work .

EDIT: Also importantly – If you’re in Victoria Australia, the Agriculture Department specifies that all glue traps used for insect capture must have some time of barrier/cage/fence around them to prevent any animals coming into contact with them. This is in the spirit of animal welfare. You can read more about this on their website here. 

Horticultural glue on top of the masking tape. You’ll notice the trunk appears “shiny” – that’s remnant vaseline that I trialled (not the hort glue) – the vaseline will come off gradually. 

Be mindful that…

You have to do more than one method to ensure success. The one thing everyone I ask agrees on is that you HAVE to do more than one method if you want success in managing codling moth.

Other things to note

  • Never leave fruit on the ground – it’ll rot and provide food for the codling moth. Keep your orchard clean.
  • If possible, run your poultry through the orchard, they’ll eat any rotting fruit and any codling moth that happens to be in the top layers of the soil.
  • Sheet mulching around your trees can also help slow codling moth coming out of the ground as it create one extra barrier it has to break through.



How To Treat Leaf Curl On Your Nectarine Tree

Leaf curl (Taphrina deformans ) is that horrifying-looking disease your stone fruit get where the leaves curl up and dye and your yields are drastically impacted. Leaf curl predominately affects peaches and nectarines, but can also hit apricots and almonds.

Leaf curl in action – yuck. 

We have a mixed orchard which includes some stone fruit – our nectarine tree is the only one with leaf curl…

Our winter orchard. For those of you who are interested, this particular row of trees has been pruned to a rough espalier “fan” shape to be more space efficient.

Where does it come from?

While it’ll start to show up in early spring it’s actually been living in your trees over winter, dormant – waiting for the seasonal rains to come and spread it into every little nook and cranny throughout the tree.  Effective treatment must begin when an affected tree loses its leaves in late autumn or early winter.

So what do you do?

A number of things, but two of the most important ones are:

  1. Before the tree buds swell spray it with lime sulphar. The lime lodges around unopened buds providing a temporary rainproof seal. Warning the lime sulphar smells like rotten eggs.
  2. When the buds are swelling (opening) usually in late winter/early spring, spray it again with Copper oxyxchloride  – this kills the fungal spores. If you’re a bit late to the spraying party and your tree’s buds are already swelling (so can’t do the lime spray), go straight to the copper spray – it’ll still worthwhile.

Be sure to spray on a still day (wind gets a bit chaotic and messy) and that it’s not about to rain (it’ll wash it away).

Both treatments mentioned above can be sourced from your local nursery – they’ll provide details on quantities to use.

Importantly, once leaf-tips appear, it’s too late to do the above treatments – timing is everything! I literally put these treatments in my diary a year in advance so I don’t forget – I recommend you do the same :-).

Lime sulphar mix ready to go

Make sure you drench the trees with the spray to ensure it gets into all those nooks and crannies.  

Other things you can do as well

For the best results in controlling leaf curl, use a number of control methods together. Complete elimination can be challenging, but the impact on the tree and fruit production can be minimised.

  • Clean up any fallen leaves from previous infections and dispose of in the bin to minimise hiding places for the fungus spore.
  • If a tree is already infected, remove all distorted leaves and fruit and destroy (bin or burn them).
  • Feed your soil with slow release organic fertilisers and soil conditioners, as well as regular watering regimes, to ensure it is healthy and can recover from infection.

A healthy tree = more fruit

If you don’t treat your trees than your yields will go way down and the fruit you do get will be small and deformed – and it’s likely you’ll cry. While the year of 2020 is throwing a hole lot of shite at us – lets not add leaf curl to the list. So if you’re privileged enough to have a fruit trees – have a crack at maximising what you can get from them.  Cause the more you have, the more you can share with your community :-).

More resources


Permaculture and Racism

It’s been a devastating week in our global community where systemic racism has repeatedly reared its ugly head with the death of George Floyd, Rio Tinto literally blowing up an aboriginal sacred site 46,000 years old and Christian Cooper being threatened while bird watching. And all while National Reconciliation Week is taking place here in Australia.

What’s permaculture got to do with racism?

Everything. As permaculturalists, we can either perpetuate racism or we can help break the cycle.

Permaculture is based on three ethics – earth care, people care and fair share. You cannot do one without doing the others, all three or nothing. It’s more than just gardening/farming – it’s a holistic approach to actively re-thinking and re-shaping the system we all live in to be good for everyone. 

It also bases a lot of its strategies and techniques off indigenous practices. It’s vitally important this is acknowledged when practicing permaculture – otherwise you’re part of the problem. You’re taking away from First Nation cultures when there’s an opportunity to work with them and highlight their incredible skills, knowledge and resilience. I’ve personally been in situations in Australia and overseas where I can vouch that First Nation farmers know better than some young, white permaculturalist (i.e. me). My advice?  Be quiet, listen and learn and then use your white privilege to highlight/celebrate First Nation farmers/land stewards in that region, giving them the credit and authority they deserve and helping others realise this.

You cannot practice permaculture without practicing social justice. 

What are we personally doing about it?

  • Paying the rent: As of this past week we now pay the rent to a local Aboriginal organisation (Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre). We encourage you to connect with local First Nation organisations in your region to find out how you can support them.
  • Supporting climate action: We are members of Groundswell Giving which fund effective climate action. When you fund/support climate action, you’re supporting First Nation communities who feel the impacts of climate crisis disproportionately to others.
  • Getting educated: We are continually learning how to stop being racist. Yes we’re racist. As white folks, we’ve grown up in a system which we benefit from and we have bone-deep implicit biases that we’re working on dismantling. I find reading and listening to First Nations voices helpful in this ongoing mission. Here’s a good book list for you to explore (I’d just add Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe to the list )and a new podcast “always was always will be our stories” by Marlee Silva launched this past week. Please leave your recommendations in the comments below.

As the impactful artwork of Molly Costello says below, we were built for this. This is hard, uncomfortable work and we will all be better off for doing it.


How To Grow Green Manures & A Better World For All

Green manure crops are used within a crop rotation cycle to re-nourish the soil in preparation for further annual crops. Our latest AND LAST Crisis Gardening video steps you through what green manure seeds you can grow for both cold and warm seasons and how to do it.

It also explores how we can grow a better world. Because as we still have months/years ahead of us in recovering from covid-19, now is the perfect time to ask ourselves

“what type of world do we want to re-emerge into?”

Instead of going back to business as usual- why not consider going forward and outgrowing the status quo? You can watch the whole video here and read about how to garden both of these things into existence below.

What are some of the common green manure crops?

Green manure for cold seasons

  • Broad beans (also known as faba or tik beans) (Vicia faba)
  • Mustard (Brassica nigra)
  • Peas (Pisum sativum)
  • Lupins (Lupinus)
  • Oat grass (Avena sativa)
  • Rye grass (Lolium rigidum)
  • Vetch (Vicia)
  • Annual crimson clover (Trifolium incarnatum)

Green manure for warm seasons

  • Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
  • Lablab (Lablab purpureus)
  • Soybeans (Glycine max)
  • Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata)
  • Millet (Panicum miliaceum)
  • Marigolds (Tagetes)

The benefits

Different green manure options will have different benefits for the soil, as  Sustainable Gardening Australia puts it below…

  • Biofumigants, like marigolds (Tagetes patula) planted in spring, brassicas (Brassica napus and Brassica campestris) and mustard, planted in autumn help to control root knot nematodes and root rot fungal pathogens. These crops must be dug in to release beneficial gases as they decompose.
  • Legumes, like lucerne, clover, beans and peas, which fix nitrogen and will make it available to whatever follows the green manure crop.
  • Weed smotherers include lablab, cowpea, lucerne and buckwheat.

How to plant them

  • We mix up a range of the above seeds in a bowl (usually a blend of mustard, peas and broad beans or lupins) and simply broadcast them across the soil.
  • We then rake them in, not overly worried if some are still exposed.
  • If needed, we water them in – if rain’s coming we let nature water them instead.

Then what?

We make sure they’re never allowed to flower, as once they do the plant starts to put all their energy into flowering/fruiting instead of into the soil. Remember we’re feeding the soil NOT ourselves. So we will slash them down a couple of times over the season to ensure they’re putting all their good stuff into the soil.

Once it’s time for the next crop to be planted, you can either:

  • Dig the plants into the soil (remove any excess green matter from the top of the plant first), slash/mow/sythe them to ground level and leaving the roots in the ground,
  • Plant your crops amongst them (knowing you might have to manage any re-growth) or,
  • You can slash them down, water it and then smother the garden bed with a non-toxic tarpaulin/silage tarp 4 – 6 weeks before you want to plant the next crop. This process encourages all the biology to the top soil level where they eat the whole plant – leaving no trace of it.

This last method is our preferred one as it means you don’t have to dig the soil at all (meaning you don’t disturb the soil food web) and all green manures have perfectly “disappeared” into the soil, with all the biology having eaten and cycled them back into the soil profiles. You can see how a variation of us doing this in our garden here. 

Photo from Longley Organic Farm

Where to source seeds

In Australia we recommend the follow – but check in with your local nursery to find local ones.

How to grow a better world

Green manures are the perfect way to feed, rest and activate your soil simultaneously. Which leads me to how to grow a better world. During these past 10+ weeks of covid-19 lock downs, people have been retreating, hibernating, watching, wondering, resting, feeding and activating their brains with new thinking – sewing new seeds for how we might move forward.

Some of these new “social seeds” we can all start or, continue sewing are listed below with links to impactful organisations and resources already working in these areas.

First Nations Justice

Organisations and resources to help you learn and support First Nations Australians.

  • Original Power – a community-focused organisation that aims to build the power of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through collective action.
  • Seed Mob –Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network, building a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
  • Amazing book – Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe – Reexamines colonial accounts of Aboriginal people in Australia, and cites evidence of pre-colonial agriculture, engineering and building construction by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Food Sovereignty

  • Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance –The Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance is a farmer-led organisation made up of organisations and individuals working together towards a food system in which people can create, manage, and choose their food system.
  • La Via Campesina – an international movement which coordinates peasant organisations of small and middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities

Regernative agriculture

  • Savoy Global – is the large-scale regeneration of the world’s grasslands through Holistic Management to address the global issues of desertification, climate change, and food and water insecurity.
  • Regeneration International – promote, facilitate and accelerate the global transition to regenerative food, farming and land management for the purpose of restoring climate stability, ending world hunger and rebuilding deteriorated social, ecological and economic systems.


  • Market Forces – believes that the banks, superannuation funds and governments that have custody of our money should use it to protect not damage our environment.
  • – an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.

Donut Economics

Where our economic system operates within ecological and social constraints and drops the finite growth approach.

  • Kate Raworth website resources and book explaining this concept thoroughly.

Renewable Energy

  • Renew Economy – Australia’s best informed and most read web-site focusing on clean energy news and analysis, as well as climate policy.
  • Beyond Zero Emissions – a climate change think tank, showing through independent research and innovative solutions how Australia can reach beyond zero emissions.

Gender equality

  • Plan International – driving change to advance children’s rights and equality for girls by working together with children, young people, our supporters and partners.

Compassion and Courage

  • This Ted Talk by political strategist, Tom Rivett-Carnac is well worth watching. It’s about approaching crisis with love.

Other resources for a better world

  • Retrosuburbia – a book by David Holmgren that’s recently become available as an e-book that you can pay what you feel. This book outlines how our suburbs can transform for the better.
  • Australia reMADE – a national organisation working toward whole system transformation.
  • From what is to what if, book by Rob Hopkins.
  • 2040 documentary – explores just some of the possibilities available to us.

And look, there’s more than this list (obviously). I haven’t even mentioned healthcare for all, education, housing and adopting a more ethical approach to refugees seeking safety. There are many, many things needing our attention. And while some of us might feel covid-19 restrictions easing and the sense of crisis lifting. We need to remember that there’s also the ever-present climate crisis here, waiting for us to address it effectively.

Here’s the good and interesting news. A lot of what we’ve already been doing in response to covid-19, i.e. relocalising our diet, flying less, walking/riding our bikes more, working from home where possible, fostering more community (albeit online) – everything – is actually in line with what we need to do to address the climate crisis (except please f*#k off forever physical distancing). But we now know we can make global changes quickly and effectively – if the will is there.

So please my friends, please go forth and sew both those green manure and social seeds to re-nourish our soils and societies towards a better world for all. We are more powerful than we think.

This clever artwork by Brenna Quinlan captures it all…


How To Propagate Plants From Cuttings: AKA Free Plants!

Learning how to grow plants from cuttings is a liberating activity. You’ll never see the world the same again and you’ll always carry secateurs with you just in case you walk past an interesting plant you’d like to grow yourself. For week 9 of our Crisis Gardening series, we show you how easy it can be. You can watch the video here and read about the process below.

Our prop station in action which you can see more of here

Firstly, there are three main types of cuttings, softwood, semi-hardwood and hardwood. I’m focusing on the hardwood cuttings for this blog and video. Depending on what plant you’re taking cuttings from (and what season you’re in) will depend on the type of cutting you take – be sure to research for the particular plant you’re working with.

Hardwood cuttings are taken from dormant, mature stems in late fall, winter, or early spring. Plants generally are fully dormant with no obvious signs of active growth. The wood is firm and does not bend easily. Hardwood cuttings are used most often for deciduous shrubs but can be used for many evergreens. 

Softwood cuttings are prepared from soft, succulent, new growth of woody plants, just as it begins to harden (mature). Shoots are suitable for making softwood cuttings when they can be snapped easily when bent and when they still have a gradation of leaf size (oldest leaves are mature while newest leaves are still small). For most woody plants, this stage occurs in the warmer months (i.e summer). The soft shoots are quite tender, and extra care must be taken to keep them from drying out. The extra effort pays off, because they root quickly.

Semi-hardwood cuttings are usually prepared from partially mature wood of the current season’s growth, just after a flush of growth. This type of cutting normally is made from mid-summer to early autumn. The wood is reasonably firm and the leaves of mature size. Many broadleaf evergreen shrubs and some conifers are propagated by this method (NC State Extension). 

The prop mix

We use a 50:50 mix of coarse potting sand and coco peat for any type of cutting. The sand provides good drainage and the coco peat provides water retention. You don’t need any compost or garden soil as the cuttings don’t require any nutrients at this stage of growth.

The finished prop mix, ready to be planted into

Taking the cuttings

Choose a small hardwood branch with lots of nodes on it. Nodes are the little things sticking out the side where usually leaf would grow from. Once buried in your prop mix, this will be where the roots come out of. You need to have a 3 – 4 nodes buried in your prop mix, so overall try to have at least 6 nodes.  Below you can see a cutting from a Salvia Leucantha bush, being an evergreen I made sure to little bit of leave on top to help it photosynthesise – deciduous plants don’t need any leaf remaining. You can read more about this type of Salvia here.

A cutting with a small leaf left on the top and 7 nodes. 

Planting the cuttings

When it comes to planting, you can choose to dip each cutting into a rooting hormone (of which there are many). We often just dip them in honey which is anti-bacterial and can also help with root growth.

Then, you can simply pop them into some pots with the prop mix. As you can see below, you can plant them very close. After a month or so you’ll notice small roots coming out the bottom of the pots – this is one way to know they’re reading to be transplanted into larger pots of their own.

From here, we simply make sure we water the cuttings as needed and pot them up when they’ve struck roots.

Cuttings are an under utilised option for growing a huuuuuge amount of plants easily and affordably. Even I don’t do it enough. So lets all remember that the whole world is our garden and crack on with it!