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Posts tagged ‘growing food’

Grow Your Own Food: Okines #3

HANDS-ON LEARNING, EQUIPPING YOU WITH THE SKILLS TO GROW FOOD IN YOUR OWN HOME.

We’re partnering with Okines Community Garden in Dodges Ferry to bring you a special 6-part series of hands-on permaculture skills. This is workshop #3, Grow Your Own Food and it goes hand-in-hand with #2 Super Soil Skills. Join us to learn the foundations as we take you from soil to seeds, poop (manure!) to propagation and get you growing your own food at home – skills that you’ll have for the rest of your life.

If you live in the South East coastal region, you might be eligible for a phenomenal subsidy* to access these courses. To access this discount please type your postcode into the “coupon” field at checkout. If your postcode fall subsidised area, your ticket price will be reduced to $150 before you pay.

YOU’LL GET TO LEARN ALL ABOUT…

  •  Vegetable growing: We’ll introduce you to growing both annual and perennial vegetables so you can create diverse, edible gardens.
  • Planning your veggie patch: We introduce important considerations for planning and looking after a garden (design considerations, protection, crop rotation etc)
  • Garden troubleshooting: take a look at practical approaches to living with weeds and insects
  • Propagation: empower yourself to grow your own food from scratch – we’ll look at everything from making your own seed raising mix, sowing seeds, and growing plants from cuttings

 

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 soil skills. To round out your learning, we recommend you take the previous course too, Super Soil Skills – because great soil, helps you grow great food. 

STUDENTS RECEIVE

  • Fully catered  – it’s going to be delicious,
  • Some solid time in the Okines’s Community Garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your small or large garden,
  • Peter Cundall’s “The Practical Australian Gardener”
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge, useful for the rest of your life!

CATERING

Our caterers will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. And, of course, we can accommodate any dietary requirements.

Nestled in the Southern Beaches community of Dodges Ferry, Okines Community Garden is an inspiring place to learn, share knowledge and contribute directly to the wellbeing of the land and the people it supports. The gardens consist of mature fruit trees, over 30 raised veggie beds, chickens, bees and an outdoor kitchen providing a hub for shared outdoor meals and a workshop space. ‘The Garden’ is connected to Okines Community House – which provides added space for learning and undercover workshop needs.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

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

YOUR TEACHERS

Nadia Danti brings years of market gardening experience and has travelled the world working with some of the best growers out there to learn the skills she needed. Nadia is passionate about soil health and understanding the ecosystem under our feet, as well as supporting people to connect to their local food system and empowering them to grow some of their own food in whatever sized space they have!

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James DaCosta has worked on a huge range of small farms across Tasmanian including running the Hobart City Farm for 6 years (since closed). Originally from NW Tasmania, he was reared on the rich red soils of that region where he grew large and strong like a Kennebec (potato). He is a gardener, bee keeper, and permaculture designer. A natural teacher, James has a knack for inspiring and equipping people with the skills they need to get growing!

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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. Thank you so much everyone. You are great bunch!

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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.

Covid-19

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.

Subsidies and Discounts

We have partnered with Okines to present this series of workshops for their region. Thanks to Okines, if you live in the Lower South East coast of Tasmania, you will qualify for a significant subsidy – each course will cost you just $150. We strongly encourage people living within the region to enrol, but these courses are also accessible to anyone that wants to join us! Areas that qualify for a subsidy extend from Sorell, to Swansea and down the coast to the whole peninsular, incorporating Dodges Ferry, Carlton, Primrose Sands and Dunalley.

*To get the discount, please enter your postcode in the “COUPON” section – if you are in a qualifying area, and it will automatically make your course $150.00.

**WANT TO LEARN EVERYTHING? Whether you are full-fee-paying or on the subsidised rate, if you purchase all 6 courses (see the full list below), you can get an extra 15% off the second series! To do this, buy the first three, then email us at admin@goodlifepermaculture.com.au and we will give you the special code. Huzzah for accessible learning!

Sign up to the Okines Series and get skills!

Series A: Available to book now

  1. Introduction to Permaculture
  2. Super Soil Skills (take this with #3 to become a gun gardener)
  3. Grow Your Own Food (perfect followup to #2)

Series B: Coming soon – 15% off Series 2 if you purchase all 6 courses**

  1. Beekeeping for Beginners
  2. Eat your Harvest: Ferments and cheese making
  3. Homemade Herbal Remedies and soap

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

 

 

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Super Soil Skills for Happy Veggies: Okines # 2

HANDS-ON LEARNING, EQUIPPING YOU WITH THE SKILLS TO GROW FOOD IN YOUR OWN HOME.

We’re partnering with Okines Community Garden in Dodges Ferry to bring you a special 6-part series of hands-on permaculture skills. This is workshop #2, Super Soil Skills for Happy Veggies and it goes hand-in-hand with #3 Grow Your Own Food. You might have heard that “good soil” is essential to a thriving, resilient garden, but what is “good soil” and how do we make it? Join us to learn the foundations and get you growing your own food at home – skills that you’ll have for the rest of your life.

If you live in the South East coastal region, you might be eligible for a phenomenal subsidy* to access these courses. To access this discount please type your postcode into the “coupon” field at checkout. If your postcode fall subsidised area, your ticket price will be reduced to $150 before you pay.

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.
  • Improving soil fertility: We’ll look at a range of DIY techniques you can create at home to improve your soil and plant health, including worm farms and liquid fertilisers.
  • Garden beds and tools: Help prepare a garden bed, and get to know tools for weed management and planting.

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 soil skills. To round out your learning, we recommend you take the next course too, Grow Your Own Food where we cover the essential skills and knowledge required for veggie growing to set you up for success in your garden. 

STUDENTS RECEIVE

  • Fully catered  – it’s going to be delicious,
  • Some solid time in the Okines’s Community Garden where you’ll see strategies you can apply to your small or large garden,
  • A Soil testing kit.
  • Extensive course notes on everything we cover over the weekend, and
  • Skills and knowledge, useful for the rest of your life!

CATERING

Our caterers will spoil you with food to fill your belly, warm your hearts and inspire you to grow your own. And, of course, we can accommodate any dietary requirements.

Nestled in the Southern Beaches community of Dodges Ferry, Okines Community Garden is an inspiring place to learn, share knowledge and contribute directly to the wellbeing of the land and the people it supports. The gardens consist of mature fruit trees, over 30 raised veggie beds, chickens, bees and an outdoor kitchen providing a hub for shared outdoor meals and a workshop space. ‘The Garden’ is connected to Okines Community House – which provides added space for learning and undercover workshop needs.

HOW DO I GET THERE?

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

YOUR TEACHERS

Nadia Danti brings years of market gardening experience and has travelled the world working with some of the best growers out there to learn the skills she needed. Nadia is passionate about soil health and understanding the ecosystem under our feet, as well as supporting people to connect to their local food system and empowering them to grow some of their own food in whatever sized space they have!

.

.

...

James DaCosta has worked on a huge range of small farms across Tasmanian including running the Hobart City Farm for 6 years (since closed). Originally from NW Tasmania, he was reared on the rich red soils of that region where he grew large and strong like a Kennebec (potato). He is a gardener, bee keeper, and permaculture designer. A natural teacher, James has a knack for inspiring and equipping people with the skills they need to get growing!

 

 

Greg Lawson has 10 years of experience teaching in commercial design but in recent years has turned towards small scale, sustainable food production, organic farming and permaculture. Greg spent 4 years in the Huon Valley growing medium-scale commercial garlic crops as well as running a small, part-time market garden on the same farm and selling the produce at weekly farmers markets in and around Huonville. Through this process, he has developed a passion for setting up low maintenance, no-dig gardens with a focus on low water systems, building healthy soil. He works two days a week at Okines Community garden and is setting up his own off-grid farm on the edge of Dodges Ferry. Studying the ‘Introduction to Permaculture’ course with Goodlife Permaculture in 2015 was a game-changer in terms of his outlook on food production, community, garden design and the key principles that are the foundation of permaculture.

.

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. Thank you so much everyone. You are great bunch!

.

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.

Covid-19

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.

Subsidies and Discounts

We have partnered with Okines to present this series of workshops for their region. Thanks to Okines, if you live in the Lower South East coast of Tasmania, you will qualify for a significant subsidy – each course will cost you just $150. We strongly encourage people living within the region to enrol, but these courses are also accessible to anyone that wants to join us! Areas that qualify for a subsidy extend from Sorell, to Swansea and down the coast to the whole peninsular, incorporating Dodges Ferry, Carlton, Primrose Sands and Dunalley.

*To get the discount, please enter your postcode in the “COUPON” section – if you are in a qualifying area, and it will automatically make your course $150.00.

**WANT TO LEARN EVERYTHING? Whether you are full-fee-paying or on the subsidised rate, if you purchase all 6 courses (see the full list below), you can get an extra 15% off the second series! To do this, buy the first three, then email us at admin@goodlifepermaculture.com.au and we will give you the special code. Huzzah for accessible learning!

Sign up to the Okines Series and get skills!

Series A: Available to book now

  1. Introduction to Permaculture
  2. Super Soil Skills (take this with #3 to become a gun gardener)
  3. Grow Your Own Food (perfect followup to #2)

Series B: Coming soon – 15% off Series 2 if you purchase all 6 courses**

  1. Beekeeping for Beginners
  2. Eat your Harvest: Ferments and cheese making
  3. Homemade Herbal Remedies and soap

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

 

 

Leave a comment

What Worm Farm Is Best For You?

Worms. we love them and actually really need them and so, we foster them. Not the type that crawl under your skin (gross), although they’re probably playing an important role I just don’t know about. We’re talking about the types that live in our soils – keeping busy aerating and cycling nutrients making them more available to other members of the soil food web and to the precious plants which we happen to depend on for a good portion of our survival .

worms

Did you know that…

In one worm, there is around 474, 075 million bacteria – wowzers. These bacteria do an incredibly important job – mainly making minerals available – more on this below.

When compared to the parent soil (the original soil), worm castings (the worm’s poo) have approximately:

  • 7 times the available phosphorous
  • 6 times the available nitrogen
  • 3 times the available magnesium
  • 2 times the available carbon
  • 1.5 times the available calcium

(Both these facts are from ‘Earthworms in Australia’, David Murphy, pg 26)

The key word used above is ‘available’. The worms do not magic these minerals into existence, they were already present in these quantities, however the worms have changed their form by digesting them (which involves all that bacteria). This process makes them available to plants as the minerals have been changed from being an insoluble form to a plant-available soluble form.

So this is why people keep worm farms – the castings and diluted worm juice (the liquid that comes out of it) are an invaluable fertiliser for food crops. A quick and important note, worm farms can only house compost worms, not your common earth worm you see in the garden or lawn. Compost worms are red wrigglers and tiger worms – you can buy these from nurseries, but you can usually find them at your local school/community garden if you ask nicely. Do not put the common earth worm into a worm farm – they will die.

So what type of worm farm should you have? It all depends, where do you live, i.e. apartment or farm, do you have a big or small garden, do you have lots or only a small amount of of food scraps coming out of your kitchen? Here are some options for you to ponder…

The Wheelie Bin Worm Farm

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CERES Community Environment Park in Melbourne make their own wheelie bin worm farm which can house thousands of worms and a whole lot of food scraps. The great thing about this design is that there quite easy to move, having wheels and all – so perfect for people who are renting or for the busy cafe/workplace who may need to move it around every now and then.

The Bathtub Worm Farm

bath worm farm

The bathtub worm farm is a true beauty and, when designed properly, can double as a table for potting up or doing garden jobs on. A few years ago I worked with the Urban Bush Carpenters in Melbourne to build local NGO, Cultivating Community this fancy worm farm you can see above left for a community garden. As well as doubling as a table, you can also use the space below the bath as storage (as well as having a permanent bucket to capture any worm juice.  You can see more info on this one at Urban Bush Carpenters

The Shop Version

binsOf course you can just go and buy a commercial worm farm from most nurseries or hardware shops, you can even add compost worms to a standard compost bin.

The Styrofoam Worm House

styro

You make make your own worm farm from styrofoam boxes. Images from here and here

This version is a great way to start if you’re on a low budget as it’s free or very cheap to start. It simply operates on the same system of having layered boxes with holes in the bottom for drainage and for the worms to travel in between. The bottom box has no holes and captures all the worm juice for you to use later as a fertiliser (dilute it so it looks like the colour of weak tea) for the veggie patch.

The Worm Tower

WormTower

 We love this one as it’s integrated INTO your garden so the benefits for your food crops are immediate and fantastic. You can buy them commercially, but they’re so easy to make we think you should just do it that way. All you need is some large pipe (ideally no smaller than 200mm wide), a pot plant to fit on the top as a hat and a drill to put holes into it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is what it looks like once installed into your garden. Image from here

Worms-Worm-Towers-Worm-Tower-03

Drill a number of holes of various sizes that the worms can travel in and out of. Image from here

But will your worms run away? Not if you continue feeding them fresh food scraps, as long as you do this they’re not going anywhere. It’s a great system for the forgetful  as you can’t kill your worms through neglect, they’ll simply leave and find food elsewhere.

There’s literally a type of worm farm for any context, this is just a taster. Have a fun time exploring the options, just make sure you get one, they’re the bomb.

Worm Resources

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Biointensive Food Production

Developed in the 1970s by John Jeavons, biointensive agriculture is an organic food production system which focuses on growing large amounts of food on small areas of land, while simultaneously improving and maintaining the fertility of the soil. A happy combination of biodynamics and French intensive gardening, it was originally designed for developing countries low on resources, machinery and fossil fuels. This method is all about achieving long term sustainability on a closed loop basis and is particularly effective for back-yard gardeners and small-hold farmers.

bio frenchEarly 1900s, French gardeners which John Jeavons drew inspiration from

The biointensive agriculture head quarters is in California at Ecology Action where it operates as a research and education centre. Practitioners on this side of the world are slim on the ground with only one person, Jodi Roebuck in NZ, a certified practitioner who has trained directly with Ecology Action. So when I found out Harry and Bonnie Wykman from Black Earth Collective were doing an internship with Jodi, we organised them to pay a visit to Tasmania to share their skills with us and others.

This dynamic brother/sister team have have been involved in urban agriculture, permaculture and small-scale farming for the past decade or so, are deeply committed to all things good and worthy and happen to be dear friends of mine. I love it when work and play come together!

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Harry and Bonnie Wykman, Black Earth Collective, Perth – W.A

But why biointensive agriculture? Because we need to learn about methods (there’s more than one) that can guide us in reducing our ecological footprint – right now, we take up too much space/resources and our population is ever increasing. As is shown below, each person requires up to 28 000 square metres (around 7 acres) of land to provide their food and fibre and we simply don’t have that much fertile land available to us. Biointensive agriculture has proven that as little as 400 sq metres is enough for one vegan diet, that’s smaller than your average urban house block – wowsers.

 

how muchImage from Black Earth Collective

To achieve its’ goal of having a closed loop system and using land efficiently, the biointensive method advocates the following ratios for our food and fibre crops.

60 30 10 circle

This workshop was jam packed of useful, practical skills for efficient growing – here’s some snapshots to give you a sense of how great it was.

Propagation

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Once up and showing a couple of leaves, radish seeds were transplanted from a standard seed tray into a purpose built ‘planting flat’ (see below) to provide the plants extra room for their roots to mature. Turns out you can propagate and transplant all types of crops this way including carrots and beetroots… and they don’t mind it one bit. This means that you can completely avoid the sometimes patchy outcome when you do direct sowing of seeds.

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Harry and Bonnie made these planting flats from pallets we salvaged from around town. They’re incredibly practical with extra depth and capacity, plus they’re totally beautiful.

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Pallets are a great resource, free and everywhere in cities. Just be sure to only collect the ones which have the “HT” stamp on them which means they’re heat treated and chemical free.

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Tools

Tool types, tool care and tool use are all central to successful biointensive agriculture. While we didn’t have the ideal array of tools that are usually used with this technique (check out that u-bar below!) we used common garden tools which still did the job. HOWEVER, be mindful that if you have hard clay soils some tools will bend and break.  Invest in quality  tools to do the job properly, key brands recommended by Harry and Bonnie are Wolfgarten, Bulldog and Spear and Jackson.

tools

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We spent some solid time learning how to use tools ergonomically to do double digging, which sounds simple, but actually requires some re-wiring of the brain and body to ‘get it’. But it’s worth it, as most of us know, when you don’t use tools correctly, you end up working harder and hurting yourself.

harry

 Harry demonstrating the right digging techniques

Double Digging

DoubleDig

The above diagram shows the double digging process for which biointensive agriculture is famous. The aim of the game is to transform compacted and/or lifeless soil into friable, living, brown gold. To do this is, you do two lots of ‘digging’, the first dig turns over the top layer of soil while the second only loosens the subsoil (not turned). Depending on your soil type, compost can be gently integrated into the subsoil layer and/or just integrated into the top soil layer. For a thorough demonstration, watch this youtube clip from Ecology Action.

A really important point: Make sure your soils have a good level of moisture before you double dig. Too dry and it can be like digging rocks (especially with clay soils), too wet and you’ll just dig up large clods. It needs to be just right, damp enough that your spade/fork can slide in easily and not too wet that it’s sticky or muddy.

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Planting

And then there’s the planting system where you can plant up to 4 times the amount of crops compared to a traditional market garden system – awesome.

bio collageDiagram from John Jeavons comparing biointensive spacing to a traditional market garden meanwhile Penny’s putting it all into practice on the right.

Using a series of measuring sticks, you can precisely plant out seedlings to maximise the space.

But what about weeding, I hear you ask??? Good question, during the bred preparation a super thorough weed is done to rid the soil of 99% of any weeds. The thick planting helps suppress any weeds that may come up after the crops are in and then it’s up to manual intervention, i.e. the grower and their hands to pull out any tricky weeds that do come through.

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2014-03-29 15.26.11Harry testing the friability of the new beds by seeing how far he can push his arm into the soil. While not exactly text book perfect, the beds are now around 1000% better compared to when we started. 

Talking

And like all workshops which bring growers together, there’s a lot of this happening – ‘grower talk’ where experiences are shared and hot tips swapped for how to refine green thumbs. We love watching this happen… and taking part in it.

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A massive thanks to Bonnie and Harry for making it to our island, staying with us for a week and teaching us some real life skills to add to our belt. We’re already dreaming and scheming on how we can work with these guys again!

harry-bonnie_SnapseedKeep an eye on the Black Earth Collective, they’re about to unleash some damn exciting and fantastic things – watch this space!

Want to read more? Check out the How to Grow more Vegetables book by John Jeavons for a complete run down on all things biointensive agriculture and Ecology Action’s fantastic videos for practical demonstrations.

*Your blogger is Hannah Moloney, co-director of Good Life Permaculture and lover of all things garden-esk.

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