A mid-winter Permabee at the Dunstan Reserve, West Brunswick
Back in mid-June, the West Brunswick Community Garden and Food Forest held another permabee which turned into an incredibly productive and educational workday!
This beautiful and productive food forest was established in the early 1990’s by local residents and now managed by volunteers from Moreland Community Gardening. We’ve held working bees and perma-parties here before (2017, 2014 and 2013) and they’re always a very productive riot.
Our goals for the day were to prune and shape the numerous productive trees (namely olive trees), plant out a stack of productive perennials, and tidy up the whole garden.
The day started with a bit of rain (as if that would stop us!) but it cleared up and managed to stay dry for the whole working bee. After a quick huddle, we split into groups and got to work.
There were 3 stations on the go: tree pruning, general garden maintenance, and planting & composting.
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Karen has taken us through tool hygiene this morning, stressing the importance of taking care of your garden tools. Three products are important: 1. Wd40 or CRC to clean all parts when they get rusty (if you're using tools on an irregular basis, they'll likely get a little rusty…) 2. Methylated spirits for sanitizing your tools when switching between trees or orchards. This helps to stop disease transfer. 3. Oil – make sure to wipe over the blades and any moving parts with oil to keep them moving smoothly. These steps will help keep your tools in tip top shape and lasting as long as possible!!
Karen Sutherland (from Edible Eden Design) ran a workshop on how to prune and shape fruit trees and she more than delighted us with her wisdom on how to clean and sharpen your secateurs and pruning shears – an essential skill for tree pruning!
Karen took us through tool hygiene and stressed the importance of taking care of your garden tools.
Three products are important:
- Wd40 or CRC to clean all parts when they get rusty (if you’re using tools on an irregular basis, they’ll likely get a little rusty…)
- Methylated spirits for sanitizing your tools when switching between trees or orchards. This helps to stop disease transfer!
- Oil – make sure to wipe over the blades and any moving parts with oil to keep them moving smoothly.
These steps will help keep your tools in tip-top shape and lasting as long as possible!
Over in group 2, Libby kept us inspired with her knowledge of the medicinal and edible plants, which was great to hear about as we cleared out the grass, trimmed back any overgrown plants and took care of the weeds.
Then came morning tea – and what a spread! Croissants, home-made quiche, a plethora of teas and biscuits… Absolutely delicious.
And to top it off, we had a quick hot compost workshop with Richard from @brunswickwest_food_forest. I don’t know about you, but I love meeting someone just as passionate about compost as I am!
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Over morning tea, we had a quick hot compost workshop with Richard from @brunswickwest_food_forest. What is compost? The short answer is decomposed organic matter. Compost is garden gold as it adds a tonne of nutrients to your soil which feeds your plants and helps make the food you harvest as nutrient dense as possible. Plus it helps soil retain water! 💧 More often than not backyard soil is deficient in minerals and nutrients. It can be very sandy and full of building materials like cement, lime, bricks, broken tiles… Soil like that is not going to give your plants much of a shot at a productive life, so you'll want to add compost to improve it! Compost is a natural process that needs a few key elements to support those micro organisms to do their work. 1. Organic/green material (Nitrogen based – garden waste, coffee grounds, kitchen waste minus meat and dairy) 2. Brown material (Carbon based – shredded paper, cardboard, leaves, sawdust) 3. Water 4. Oxygen (turning hot compost every 2-3 days) 5. Elbow grease. Yep, it takes a fair effort to maintain the 5 bays they've got on the go here! The volunteer team keep the process going which helps produce heat and enhances the composting process. Turning the compost every few days adds oxygen, which combined with the carbon, nitrogen and water, generates heat. That heat kills off pathogens and weed seeds (good), but make sure you don't let it get too hot or it'll kill off the good guys like worms and helpful microbes (bad). With 5 bays on the go, it takes about 2-3 months to graduate from bay 1 to bay 5. The team will start off with about 1 cubic meter of scraps, and end up with maybe half a cubic meter of compost ready to go on the garden. Side note: how great is Richards shirt?! ❤