Cindy Raikabula

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.

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.