Blitzes and cake and chickens. Oh my!
What a month October was! A film screening, birthdays, blitzes, first ever Chicken Bingo event – it’s almost more than a Collective kid can bear! But there are gardens out there that need edible planting, and we’re firing up to get into it. And it’s an awesome time to be out in the garden – the hoverflies are everywhere, getting stuck into the aphids and protecting our brassicas, and the bees are buzzing around the blossoms of the fruit trees. It’s. Just. So. Awesome! Of course, there’s been quite a bit of rain of late, which has been great for filling our water-tanks and soaking the layers of mulch, so to honour these downpours the song of the month is a truly awesome cover of Guns’n’Roses with November Rain. Reggae style.
Permablitz #189 - Essendon
The brief was to reinvigorate and re-vegetate the existing back and front yards keeping the lawn space for the kids. And thanks to a top design team of Anne, Austin and Tyson (and the help of 15 amazing volunteers) we were able to smash it!
Permablitz #188 - Frankston
A sunny spring Sunday, despite the weather forecasts, made for excellent blitzing weather. Our host, Bronnie, suffers from chronic migraines and her biggest stress reliever is enjoying her garden – so our plan was to make it even better! There was a lot to do over the day, including building a greenhouse, installing hugelkultur and keyhole beds, re-fencing the chook run, digging paths and plenty of weeding and mulching.
Chicken Bingo - it's the shit!
How do you play you ask? It’s simple really… participants get a ticket and some seed.. Each ticket corresponds to a square on the grid.. The chook is unleashed and eats the seed, grass and whatever else it finds… And then… the chook does what a chook does. And when the poop lands, the crowd cries and a winner is declared!
Guild Session 13 – Save Our Seeds screening with Seila Hierk
Join us as we view SOS – Save Our Seeds. Introduced by Seila Hierk, this documentary discusses the importance of saving seeds – for your garden and for a nation’s food security. Seila will also talk about his own experience as a school gardener, his eminent wicking bed making skills and tips and tricks for saving your own seeds to get the best crop for your own garden.
Inhabit - Film screening & panel discussion
Permaculture practitioners and newcomers alike attended our From Garden To Globe event on 13 October at VU @ MetroWest in Footscray. The evening started off with a screening of Inhabit: A Permaculture Perspective and was followed by a panel discussion that was both engaging and provocative.
Pre-blitzed rental still available
Alastair hosted Permablitz #45 way back in 2008 (Preston West Blitz). The property is nowstill available for rental and he’s looking to get tenants that are permie-informed or at least have green thumbs. Sounds like something for you?
Hero of the Month
Okra (or lady fingers) are easy to grow and its flowers and fruit can add both ornamental and edible value to your garden. The flower has white or cream-coloured petals and its throat is a deep claret red. Okra can be pickled, used in a New Orleans gumbo or Middle Eastern stew, lightly cooked in a Vietnamese stir-fry, coated in Indian spices and fried, or prepared Mediterranean-style with tomatoes, garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice.
A Herb For Thought
The Permablitz Tenth Birthday party event saw Naomi take a morning Medicinal Plant Lore Walk along Peppertree Place’s luscious garden pathways – check out a bunch of the plants and the handout she put together for the walk here!
Bits and Pieces
Creating an African-style keyhole garden
At the recent Frankston blitz we started a keyhole garden – and we’re going to finish it soon! The host Bronnie was good enough to put together a worksheet on how keyhole gardens work.
The Keyhole Garden concept is brilliantly simple. A circular raised bed has a centre compost basket that distributes nutrients to the surrounding lasagne-style garden bed. A small pie-slice section of the bed is used for easy access to the centre compost basket forming the keyhole design.
Kitchen and garden waste, along with household grey water, are added to the centre basket. The soil bed layers are slightly sloped away from the centre to aid water and “compost tea” distribution. As the materials decompose, soil, composting materials and amendments are added to the bed in later growing seasons.
Characteristic of a Tree Guild
Like any other forest, a food forest is a multi-storied affair, with plants from underground, surface, undergrowth, shrubs, understory trees, and the canopy. The basic food forest building block is a Tree Guild. A tree guild might consist of smaller trees, shrubs, vines, herbaceous plants etc.
A Useful Fruit Tree Guild consists of: the tree at the centre, either nut or fruit, and perhaps smaller trees or shrubs, at least one insect attractor, at least one nutrient accumulator, a mulch maker, and at least one nitrogen fixer.
In the Garden
The end of Spring is near – make sure you mulch around your fruit trees and plants to retain moisture in the soil and prevent water loss from evaporation. Be sure to keep mulch away from plant stems and trunks as this can cause stem or collar rot. You can also mulch your strawberries by placing straw underneath to keep the berries off the soil.
And if you’ve not done so already, it’s definitely time to get your summer crops in! Tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumber, zucchini, capsicum, tomatoes, basil, chillies, corn.. and tomatoes!
Seeds you can plant in October include:
- Asparagus Pea
- Cape Gooseberry
- Chinese Cabbage
- Climbing beans
- Dwarf beans
- French tarragon
- Globe Artichokes
- Jerusalem Artichokes
- Lemon Balm
- Mustard Greens
- Summer Savory
- Sweet Corn
Remember: some seeds do better starting off in punnets, some in pots and some in the ground. To get the best from your seedlings be sure to check the best methods first!