March into abundance with jam and edible weeds!
We’re now officially in autumn – it’s time to take stock of all the great produce growing around you. It could be making pies from the abundance of apples, peaches, figs or apricots, or it could be drying out herbs like sage, basil or oregano. You could even be preserving your chillies or beetroot for use later on! We’re a fan of making jams, blackberry jams, raspberry jams, funky jams – all kinds of jams!
It’s in the spirit of jam-making that our song of the month is none other than 1989’s classic Pump up the Jam by Technotronic. Get into it!
The S(p)eed Dating Permabee Event - it really happened!
Recently on Valentine’s Day, Permablitz launched our very first Seed Dating event. After a short and wildly popular promotion period, 16 carefully chosen volunteers (OK, it was pretty much the first ones!) got the info to join this auspicious debut event, ten of whom attended on the day. The day was a follow up Permabee for Mel’s Blitz in Surrey Hills – not all tasks had been finished so the 10 busy bees joined forces to help wrap up the job, and perhaps more importantly, get to know each other.
We had an extra long introduction and lots of cake, games and dances. The inaugural root-removal-dance and the secret hugelkultur-compaction-dance were performed, a choreographic event that no-one will forget anytime soon. Eager bees put a lot of work in on different work stations; we needed to adjust the greywater infiltration swales to make sure they perform as intended. (Greywater. Sexy!) We also filled up Mel’s garden beds with compost and soil, laid pavers and mulched paths. All tasks were performed with lots of smiles and style!
The hugelkultur bed was moved and tidied up to accommodate more cuttings. Throughout all of these activities there were games, good chats and did I mention cake?
Everybody had a super fun time – we can’t wait to have an event like this again!
Naomi joins the Permablitz Collective
We’ve had a number of new additions to the Permablitz Collective lately – and we’re thrilled to have Naomi join the fold! She brings a wealth of knowledge of herbal remedies and naturopathy and will be helping Matt with the Guild role while Kat D takes an extended break to head off to Darwin. Knowing Kat, there will be new blitzes up north in no time!
Designer's Guild Session 11 - Edible Natives talk and a tour of Karen Sutherland's GardenWe're now officially in autumn - it's time to take stock of all the great produce growing around you. We're a fan of making jams, blackberry jams, raspberry jams, funky jams - all kinds of jams!
Very soon we have a mega-special event, as our special guest Karen Sutherland from Edible Eden Design will be not only sharing with us her pet passion – edible natives, but also giving us a tour of her personal garden Gunyah!
As well as being a blitz designer veteran, Karen has over twenty years horticultural experience, and is well known for her garden designs – she’s even been employed by The Melbourne Zoo! Her home has often been part of the Open Garden program, and is jam-packed with over 200 interesting and unusual edible plants.
Hero of the month
Purslane is an aesthetically attractive weed with fleshy leaves and often yellow flowers, but its health benefits are even more desirable.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin A – one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and an essential vitamin for vision. it is also required to maintain healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
To read more about this amazing plant, click here!
Bits and Pieces
Inner-west repair café to launch at Sustainable Living Festival
Don’t throw out that broken bicycle or toasted toaster, because a group in Melbourne want to help you fix it.
The Inner-West Repair Cafe launched recently as part of the Sustainable Living Festival.
Organiser and Permablitz Collective member Michelle Fisher said the cafe aims to help the environment by reducing the number of items being thrown away.
“People can bring their broken items to be repaired rather than thrown out into landfill,” she said.
The first repair cafe was set up in Amsterdam in 2009 and the movement has since spread worldwide with locally organised groups in more than 20 countries including Liechtenstein, Azerbaijan, Romania and India.
Repair cafes already exist in Sydney, Albury-Wodonga and Mullumbimby, but Ms Fisher’s group will be the first repair cafe to establish in Melbourne.
Ms Fisher said the group, which will meet in a cafe in Seddon in Melbourne’s inner-west, was not a drop-off fix-it service; rather it was a place where people could learn new skills.
“People are losing the ability to repair things themselves,” she said.
“There are those that do know how to repair things and are happy to share that knowledge.”
So far the group has attracted people with skills in electronics, woodworking, computers, textiles and bicycle repair.
“We’ve got a few all-rounders who just like to play with things and take them apart and troubleshoot,” Ms Fisher said.
“We’ve set up a meet-up group where people register and say what skills they have.”
Free Coffee Grounds!
Coffee is brilliant when used in your compost- the worms love it! You can also scatter it around your brassicas to ward off slugs. And if you want some for your garden, Dustin has a heap of it for you.
Find out how to get your hands on some coffee grounds here!
Plants eat Bacteria
When Justus von Liebig discovered the elemental composition of plants and promoted the agricultural use of synthetic chemicals with “Chemistry in its application to agriculture and physiology” in 1840, he did not foresee the enormous impact this would have on agriculture. In the following years this discovery set the stage for the widespread production and mining of nitrogen and phosphorus based fertilizers. Buying a bag of superphosphate rather than maintaining livestock and carting manure freed time and enabled farmers to work on larger acreages.
Nowadays, we are still applying the old principles of Liebig, although alternatives exist, which do not impoverish the soil and pollute waterways and climate. Why is it that the world’s heaviest vegetables are grown with compost tea and not in mineral solution (John Evans, Compost Tea Advocate with worlds largest Broccoli)?
The question arises: is there more to growing food than just applying chemical fertilizer? In other terms: Do plants “prefer to eat” more than the mentioned water soluble nutrients?
Permablitz’s own Hermann Paulenz decided to interview Dr. Chanyarat Paungfoo-Lonhienne after reading her paper “Turning the table: Plants Consume Microbes as a Source of Nutrients” where it is outlined that certain plants took up bacteria through their roots and digested them in order to grow. Is this an opportunity for agriculture to provide a more wholesome “diet” for the plant and therefore grow healthier plants that need less fertilizer and pesticides?
Get arty with moss!
When designing edible landscapes for people, we’re always looking for interesting things to captivate people’s imagination while bringing them back to nature. And creating your own personalised mural definitely makes a statement!
Learn how to make your art statement here!
In the garden
March is the beginning of Autumn, so there’s plenty to do! It’s a great time for planting new trees now that the weather is a bit cooler and there will also be time for the trees to establish before the onset of winter. Yes, winter is coming!
If you’ve got pumpkins in your patch, it will be time to pick them soon – make sure they are fully ripened (there shouldn’t be any green on the stem or skin), and cut them when the vine starts to die off.
Thinking of garlic as well? It’s a good time for it!
Seeds that do well in March include…
- Broad Beans
- Chinese Cabbage
- Garlic clove
- Mustard Greens
- Potato tubers
- Salad Burnett
- Shallot bulbs
- Spring Onions
- Strawberry runners
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!
Til next month, from all at Permablitz Melbourne decentral – pump up the jam!