Spring is here! Reducing energy use and Hermann talks soil
Spring is here! The soil is beginning to warm, the fruit trees are blossoming, new life is emerging, and the garden is yearning for new seeds to be sown. To mark this exciting time of the planting year, the theme song for this month is The First Days of Spring by Noah and the Whale
Permablitz – booking out fast!
The last few blitzes have had a huge amount of interest, with the upcoming Preston blitz reaching capacity in well under 12 hours!
While it’s great that so many people are getting involved, it does mean that there are people out there who are missing out. If you feel like you just keep missing the announcements, subscribe to our Permablitz Facebook Events page – you’ll get a notification of a new event within seconds!
Of course, don’t forget that while clicking “Join” is awesome, you will only be able to join us on the day if you get the address from the host by filling in the form on the link.
Permablitz #169 in Coburg North
On Saturday the 22nd of August we blitzed Hamish & Mel’s front and back yards – it was a beautiful day and we all had a blast! We sheet mulched, made wicking beds, created trellises for berries, learned to make sourdough crumpets (yum!), set up hot compost, made new friends and generally had a good time. Thankyou everyone for making this such a great day. Check out all the photos and full recap here!
Permablitz #171 Kew
And because this was a super-Permablitz’n weekend, the very next day (Sunday the 23rd of August) we blitzed Michelle’s place! Most blitzers involved were first-timers and all left with big smiles on their faces. We sheet mulched, created a hugelkultur bed, pruned trees, prepare veggie beds, made a compost pallet, had a few laughs and even presented Hermann with a monster worm to say thankyou for his work in the design!
Designers Guild Session #9 in Carlton
The next in our fantastic series where we talk about designs and permaculture principles is just around the corner – keep your diary free for Thursday, September 24.
The Guild Sessions are designed as a way to gather, share skills, and meet the other great people in the Permablitz network. Even if you are new to Permablitz – come along! You’ll always find like-minded people and smiles.
This time we’ll be joined by John Ferris from Edible Forest Gardens who has almost 40 years of horticulture experience which has been challenged by the learnings of his PDC – this is guaraunteed to be a fascinating talk!
As always, if you’re currently involved in a blitz design, be sure to bring your designs along to share and discuss with the group.
For full details, keep an eye on this page.
Hero of the Month
Tomatilloes are easy to grow and are an important ingredient in salsa and many Mexican dishes. (Check out this awesome salsa verde recipe!!) They grow in similar way to tomatoes but are hardier and less prone to diseases such as fusarium or verticillium wilt. They will tolerate partial shade.
You can read more about tomatillos here.
Bits and Pieces
Energy: Thriving On Five Percent?
The modern city has been shaped by the availability of cheap oil and resources, and plentiful credit. Massive resource and energy flows have been used to build skyscrapers, heat and cool buildings, move and treat water, feed people, and move them and their goods around.
US energy use since 1650, including wood, biomass, fossil fuels, hydro, nuclear, etc., has grown at a steady 2.9 percent, and most governments and industries assume that this growth trend will continue as it has for centuries.
But will it?
Technical experts say that for our world to be ‘sustainable’ it needs to endure a ‘factor 20 reduction’ in its energy and resource metabolism – to five percent of present levels. This is not as dramatic as it sounds – for eighty percent of the world’s population, five percent energy is their lived reality today – and it does not always correspond to a worse life.
Take as an example, healthcare. In Cuba, where food, petrol and oil have been scarce for of 50 years as a consequence of economic blockades, its citizens achieve the same level of health for only five percent of the health care expenditure of Americans. In Cuba’s five percent system, health and well-being are the properties of social ecosystems in which relationships between people in a real-world local context are mutually supportive. Advanced medical treatments are beyond most people’s reach – but they do not suffer worse health outcomes.
Another example of five percent systems that sustain life is food. In the industrial world, the ratio of energy inputs to the food system, relative to calories ingested, is 12:1. In cities, up to 40 percent of their ecological impact can be attributed to their food and water systems – the transportation, packaging, storage, preparation and disposal of the things we eat and drink. In poor communities, where food is grown and eaten on the spot, the ratio is closer to 1:1.
You can read John Thakara’s full article here.
Under our feet – Soil with Hermann
Winter was a good time to think about soil. Preparing for a good spring crop, the crew from Palate came to visit our very own Hermann Paulenz in his suburban backyard.
Check out this great video and learn about the magical kingdom beneath our feet – you’ll never look at soil the same way again!
Manhattan’s next floating park may be a giant food forest
It seems the way to create new public spaces in New York these days is to float them in the rivers. First there was the +Pool, then Pier55, and now we introduce to you Swale, a floating food forest that may grace New York’s waters next summer.
The New York Observer reports that artist Mary Mattingly is looking to embark on the project, which will “be created with collaborators and built from repurposed shipping containers, will stretch 50 feet across and will feature a gangway entrance, walkways, and an edible forest garden.” The floating garden will move around to different docks in the harbor to serve various communities. Local students and gardeners are working on a wetland plant base that will filter the river water to help grow edible plants.
Back in the Garden
Finally Spring is here and we can start getting ready for spring and summer planting! Planting from seed is a rewarding and cost-effective means of getting started, and soil blockers can be a highly effective method to prepare your plants for final planting.
Seeds you can sow in September include:
- Asparagus Pea
- Cape Gooseberry
- Climbing Beans
- Corn Salad
- Dwarf beans
- Globe Artichokes
- Jerusalem Artichokes
- Mustard Greens
- New Zealand Spinach (Warrigal Greens!)
- Potato (once the frosts have finished)
- Snow Peas
- Spring Onions
- Sweet Corn
- Winter Savory
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 – enjoy your spring gardening