Costa visits PermaPatch for International Permaculture Day

Costa Georgiadis visited PermaPatch and Repair Cafe today for International Permaculture Day.

He checked out the crop swap table, interviewed PermaPatch President, Mandy Stubbs, and tasted some yummy pizza fresh from our oven.

International Permaculture Day on the first Sunday in May is a day of celebration and action for permaculture around the world. It is a day when visitors can see a myriad of initiatives, ask questions of their developers and decide for themselves whether the permaculture design system has relevance to the challenges we face and to creating communities that are resilient in the face of undesirable and unforeseeable impacts.

We had a Crop Swap table there, laden with preserves, herbs, seedlings, fruit and veggies, and lots of visitors touring the garden and finding out more about permaculture.

Check out Costa's videos on Periscope and another Facebook live from the Repair Cafe.

Tassie

Having a wondrous week in heavenly Hobart. Do love it here so much. Staying at an Airbnb converted barn, with its own garden. Also been to see what was Pete's Patch and is now Tino's at the Hobart Botannical Gardens. And who can get their head around why these are Botannical and the Sydney ones are Botannic?! Huge variety of fruit and vegetables going on there, from bananas to gooseberries, tomatoes to brussels sprouts, loads of thyme, plus a medieval garden with plants like borage, with hundreds of bees around it. 

Our bit of the house

Our bit of the house

Their bit...but we can walk in the garden, full of rhubarb, apples, zucchini etc, to use,

Their bit...but we can walk in the garden, full of rhubarb, apples, zucchini etc, to use,

Berries from the garden and the hedgerows

Macro iPad photo of leaf

Macro iPad photo of leaf

Flower seed - macro

Flower seed - macro

Pete's/Tino's Patch

Pete's/Tino's Patch

Hops growing...fancy a beer?

Hops growing...fancy a beer?

Grapes growing - fancy some wine?!

Grapes growing - fancy some wine?!

Repair Cafe 5th February

Another fantastic Repair Cafe at the community garden, despite temperatures reaching around 38 degrees! Brave re-users arrived red in the face and damp in the shirt, to have their jewellery fixed, tools sharpened, or just to have a cappuccino and do some knitting. The ukulele players managed some enthusiastic tunes, which were much appreciated and some of us sang and danced along, whilst serving coffees and food, networking and making yet more plans to help the poor old planet. Wendy D. made the usual fantastic array of cake, dips, gluten free and sugar free foods to suit absolutely everybody, from lovely organic produce from her garden (try the rhubarb and lemon cake .....mmmmm....dribble....!), plus some very cool cold drinks from her lemon grass, chocolate mint etc. to keep us hydrated and stop our brains boiling!

All that was left of the feast

All that was left of the feast

 

Lovely volunteers like Wendy B and Bridget repaired things in between fanning themselves and Big Al sharpened doggedly whilst wiping sweat from his fevered brow, and Arjen got toasted.

Celia managed to look glam whilst fanning herself and keeping us all in order, ably assisted by the hot Helen on the front desk.

Whew! Don't forget to come along next Sunday 11th February between 1 and 3 pm for another very cool cafe and gain some hot knowledge!

Some hot music from some cool musicians

Some hot music from some cool musicians

Wendy with some cool footwear

Wendy with some cool footwear

Arjen toasting

Arjen toasting

Beautiful Bridget cool as ever, ...or do I mean she' s hot stuff...!

Beautiful Bridget cool as ever, ...or do I mean she' s hot stuff...!

Our very own Knitting Nanna 

Our very own Knitting Nanna 

Celia glam with one of her fans

Celia glam with one of her fans

Big Al plays with  knives

Big Al plays with  knives

Opening the door to Permapatch 2017

 

 

Hello and welcome back to Permapatch, the only totally volunteer run community garden on Sydney's North Shore.....and possibly in the whole of Sydney? 

I'm having a go at Blogging! Haven't got a clue what I'm doing, so please stay with me while I learn.  I DO know what I'm doing in the garden (well some of the time anyway!), so am hoping to put up some items of interest, such as how to hand pollinate, recipes recently enjoyed by friends and family, how to bust some annoying seasonal problems in the garden, some attempts at macro photos, happenings at the community garden, goings on in my own garden, etc, whatever. Will try and get this up for now.....more later......perhaps!  (Posted by Mandy Stubbs, President, Permapatch Community Garden)

 

 

Meet the Enforcer

Welcome to the garden our latest hi-tech pest deterrent and watering system, the YARD ENFORCER. The Patch committee has researched a unique way to try to manage the damage being caused in the garden by Brush Turkeys. Yes, we would like to do drastic things to them to deter them from scraping and digging up the garden beds, however their protected status means all we can do is try to move them on.

Great internet research by Lian Choo determined a method of using water jets to scare off the birds. This system is infra-red and movement sensing. The Committee purchased three sprinklers and we are now testing the most effective combinations.

The first installation is in the large community garden at the southern end of the garden. Members approaching the area should be aware that any movement within a certain distance will trigger the sprinklers which will respond with a forceful jet of water.

Turkey repellant 3.JPG

So what happens if you want to work on the gardens within range of the sprinklers? You simply turn them off. To do this it is recommended that you approach the area close to the western fence, which runs down the side of Helen Street. The spinklers are attached to the tap along the fence just beyond the circular climbing beanpole plot. If you trip the sprinkler on the way it will spray in a repeat arc. Wait till it finishes and then turn the water supply off. 

Now you can turn the actual enforcers into an off position so more detections do not wear down the batteries. Turn the switch on the side (in the photo above) to the OFF position. All is now safe for whatever you wish to do.

When finished turn the switch on the enforcer to the “ALWAYS” position then return to the tap and turn the water back on. Return the way you came unless you do want a shower.

On pollinator patrol at the patch

A blue-banded bee spotted in the garden

A blue-banded bee spotted in the garden

A few intrepid bug spotters gathered at the garden this morning to take part in the Wild Pollinator Count.

The Wild Pollinator Count is an opportunity to contribute to wild insect pollinator conservation in Australia. Thousands of native pollinator species contribute to pollination in crops and gardens all around the country. However, relatively little is known about them. This citizen science project aims to help identify all our insect pollinator species, understand their ecology and how they are affected by human activities.

Unfortunately, the overcast day meant that our pollinating pals weren't out in force, but we still managed a few sightings.

The salvias won the 'Best Pollinator Attractors' award. We also found pollinators on the basils and brassicas.

Our final tally for the day was:

  • European honey bees: 11
  • Blue-banded bees: 2
  • Ladybird beetles: 1
  • Hoverflies: 4
  • Wasps: 3
These little green long-legged flies weren't doing any pollinating, just hanging out on the leaves.

These little green long-legged flies weren't doing any pollinating, just hanging out on the leaves.

A house for the native bees

Just in case anyone is wondering about the little house which has just appeared perched on the gum tree by the aquaponics - it's a native bee house. These bees are solitary, not the social stingless ones and solitary bees do not store any honey in their little nests but only collect tiny amounts of nectar to feed their young. 

Colin built this over Easter (great what you can get done when you don't go away!) and attached it to the tree yesterday.

The new native bee house at PermaPatch Community Garden

Some brief info about native bees (from www.aussiebee.com.au):

Nearly all of Australia’s 1,500 or more native bee species are solitary. Solitary bees do not have queens, workers and drones. Instead in most species, just one female bee mates and then builds an individual nest for her eggs, just like a bird does.

Blue banded bees, leafcutter bees and teddy bear bees are examples of solitary bees. Solitary bees do not store any honey in their tiny nests.

Australia has over 1,500 species of native bees. Only eleven of these species are stingless! These are the social native bees, Tetragonula and Austroplebeia.

All the other native bee species in Australia can sting. Most are too small to deliver an effective sting and Australian native bees are not aggressive. However, if one of the larger native bees is picked up or trodden on, it could be quite capable of stinging.

Most stings are not as painful as those of a bull ant or paper wasp and last only a few minutes. However, a native bee can sting more than once and it is possible to be allergic to the sting of a native bee. So please treat native bees with respect.

More info at Aussie Bee

Let's hope the house gets lots of tenants!

Happy bee watching

Sunday 13 March - garden fun

This Sunday coming 10am-12pm (usual new gardening time) it would be great if you can come along to help with some garden tasks!

We plan to get most of the below done in the garden:

  • pull out old/spent plants
  • get compost onto communal beds
  • mulch beds with lucerne
  • get compost and liquid out of aerobins
  • plant seedlings into aquaponics
  • water plants with worm juice
  • construct brush turkey/chook deterrent portable fences!
  • tea and nibbles.

Coffee-powered morning in the garden

Sydney summer is in full swing! It's hot, and it's humid, too. Recent rains have filled the rain gauge to the brim. The warm wet weather means the garden is prolific: the zucchini plants are putting on one zucchini after the next, the tamarillo tree is laden with fruit, and the cucumbers are flowering whilst producing plump cucumbers. 

A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

Weeding is a good job to do now (isn't it always ;-) ?) to help vegies grow. And a feed is important, too. With so much to do yet so few cool(ish) hours of the day we have moved the Sunday working bees forward to the morning, commencing at 9AM.  

J.,  a PermaPatch member has been pulling out weeds since the start this morning. Sweat drops glisten on her forehead and there is  is a big smile on her face "I love this garden!" "Look at these beautiful little flowers" she says pointing to the sage showing off red and white hues "they add so much colour". And they are edible, too, adding a bit of colour when sprinkled over salads. 

This morning we are joined by our very own barista, T. from PermaCulture Sydney North. He is manning the coffee machine and makes sure nobody goes without a coffee to fuel our work efforts. And there is homemade cake, too - what great way to start the day! 

Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

We also had bee-keepers inspect our hives. Unfortunately, unwanted beetles have taken over, driving out the bees. The infested boxes needed to be removed. 

This might be a bit of a relief for those of you who need to be careful around bees because of allergic reactions to beestings. Our bee-keeper has some good advice: "Avoid wearing any colourful clothing, or perfume". Basically anything that a bee might mistake as a flower. Also, bees can be attracted by the glistening of eyes, so wearing sunglasses is another good tip to keep bees away. 

Eventually we'd like to get another beehive established because they are so important. And in previous years we were able to treat our members to beautifully cold-filtered honey  straight from the garden. So hopefully we'll soon be able to welcome a new beehive!

The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

All in all a beautiful morning in the garden - thanks to all who contributed with coffee and cake, hard work and community spirit. 

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