compost

Happy New Year - A Word From Our VP

HI all and happy New Year to you!

Just a quick update re. the garden.

1. For those of you who pop in to the garden now and then note that we've planted quite a lot of new seedlings  - two sections of the largest communal bed and 1 small section in one of the smaller horseshoe shaped beds. If you happen to be there and the seedlings look like they are lacking water please feel free to give them some - just until they are established by which time the new watering roster folk will be easily able to take care of things.

2. Hydroponics system - we had a power outage for most of Sunday and the other day one of the pumps was disconnected so lucky it wasn't hot and sunny - if you happen to see the plants on this new hydroponics system (currently strawbs and lettuce) wilting in  a big way - can you let me know and I'll try to investigate.

3. We've had a big increase in the chook flock with 5 new ones (thanks to Kim for arranging) - they are currently fenced off from the existing chooks but should be getting introduced soon.

4. Slight change in the designation of the three open compost heaps - I'll have signs up tomorrow to indicate state of affairs.

5.Harvesting - we'll be hoping to harvest more than has been done in the past and will be leaving on one of the tables whatever isn't claimed by the folk who attended and helped with the Sunday work bees (good incentive to come and work on Sundays - get the best choice of the goodies!)

6. We have a big new whiteboard on the shed wall and will be trying to use this plus other notice boards to better convey info re. happenings and status of things in the garden - so do have a look each time you go in!This will hopefully work in conjunction with our existing excellent  website  to provide info as to what is happening and what is planned.

Think that's all 
Hope to see you in the garden (don't forget Sundays 2pm onwards for work bees)

cheers

Colin Maltman

Vice President

Chickens Acquisitions - The Road Trip

Today Mandy and I went to New Leaf Nurseries to buy three new chickens for the garden. To make the long journey up there worthwhile, we stopped at various places along the way...  First stop on our road trip was pulling into a farmer's market, where you can buy fresh produce straight from the farm from a little stall in their garage. They had the biggest cauliflower Mandy or I had ever seen!

 This picture doesn't even really convey the actual huge, massive scale of that vegetable.

This picture doesn't even really convey the actual huge, massive scale of that vegetable.

I picked up some sweet potatoes and Mandy grabbed some potatoes and we were off again. The next diversion along the way was to pick up some horse poo for Mandy's garden (which she is preparing for The Open Garden Scheme coming up on the 29th and 30th November) on the way in Duffy's Forest. It's such a lovely area with lots of bushland and horses.

 This is the very same horse whose poo Mandy was shovelling! 

This is the very same horse whose poo Mandy was shovelling! 

New Leaf Nursery is such a fun place to visit. While we were there, there was a children's play group on, and they were giving out free popcorn to all the kids, who were feeding it to the resident pig, rather than to themselves. I have to apologise I didn't take any photos at New Leaf Nursery as I was simply too immersed in the experience, so you will just have to rely on my attempt to describe it, or do yourself a favour and find an excuse to go.

 The only photo I took at the nursery... What a fabulous idea for a kids garden!

The only photo I took at the nursery... What a fabulous idea for a kids garden!

We perused the chickens and settled on two American breeds; a single Plymouth Rock, a breed known for their longevity, and two Rhode Island Red crosses, bred for excellent egg production. They had Isa Browns, a popular bird, particularly in batteries, due to their enormous egg production, but as Mandy said, if we got Isa Browns, then soon all there would be Isa Browns and these rarer breeds would die out. 

They put each chicken in it's own box and helped us to the car with a bunch of other things we picked up on the way... including more food and shell grit for the girls!

 Plymouth Rock having a peck near the water bowl.

Plymouth Rock having a peck near the water bowl.

Once we got the birds home to the garden, we opened up their boxes and left them to come out and very soon they were out and starting to explore their new world... which is a lot bigger and less overcrowded than their old one, but also is home to a brooding gang of chickens who are not so happy about the lack of consultation in this whole getting new chickens into THEIR enclosure situation.

 Morticia getting all up in the new chickens' grills! 

Morticia getting all up in the new chickens' grills! 

Pots and Horse Poo

I was invited a ride along with the boys to go and get some horse poo for the garden and to drop off some of the millions of old pots we have had piling up around the place.  Jo brought his trailer along and Roman, Colin, Jo and I piled most of the pots the pots into it.    

 Trophy shot of Colin with the haul of pots!

Trophy shot of Colin with the haul of pots!

After a bit of discussion, a decision was made to also donate an old, smaller compost bin to the same place that takes the pots, Eden Gardens in North Ryde, so we loaded that up into the trailer too.  

 The bin was really fiddly to take apart, a rather silly design we all agreed.

The bin was really fiddly to take apart, a rather silly design we all agreed.

 What a good service these guys are doing for the community by running this pot recycling service.

What a good service these guys are doing for the community by running this pot recycling service.

So we arrived at Eden Gardens at North Ryde and offloaded the pots into the wooden crate they have for pot recycling.  Apparently you can just come and help yourself to these anytime you want, so keep that in mind next time you're doing some seed sowing or re-potting and need a bunch of pots.

 Help yourself!

Help yourself!

They had a bunch of other free stuff around their parcel pickup bay too, such as wooden pallets, turf and pavers.

 Free wood.

Free wood.

 There was also this rather gruesome scene!

There was also this rather gruesome scene!

We tried to leave the compost bin amongst all the other free stuff, but were mildly reprimanded by one of the staff, who accused us of dumping (which is of course the last thing we wanted to do!).  We explained the misunderstanding to him and back on the trailer it went.  

And so from Eden Gardens we travelled to the RDA in Ryde to load up our now mostly empty trailer up with pony poo!!  Riding for the Disabled Association of Australia (RDAA) is a voluntary, nonprofit organisation which provides opportunities for anyone with a disability to enjoy safe, healthy, stimulating, therapeutic, horse-related activities in Australia. When I was a kid I actually went to a riding camp that they run at their centre in Kellyville, and it was the best riding camp I had ever been to as far as the care they provided for both the horses and patrons, so I was really looking forward to visiting their rather new instalment in Ryde.

 They had some pretty serious fencing so we only caught glimpses of the ponies between the bars!

They had some pretty serious fencing so we only caught glimpses of the ponies between the bars!

They are looking for volunteers always at RDA, something I might follow up on as soon as I get more time!

 A pile of steaming horse $H17

A pile of steaming horse $H17

 Jo loading the manure into the trailer.

Jo loading the manure into the trailer.

 The manure was obviously full other great organic matter such as straw and wood chips, BONUS!

The manure was obviously full other great organic matter such as straw and wood chips, BONUS!

We took turns filling the trailer and of course then had to load the unwanted compost bin back on it too. What a lucky compost bin, getting to go on such an interesting excursion!  Once we got home back to PermaPatch we offloaded the the manure onto a pile just outside the gates of the garden.  We let it cure and dry there and then add it to the compost as a good source of carbon.

When Roman asked me to come along to journal this task, he pitched it to me as a story about one community organisation helping another.  Through horse poo.  Which of course appealed to all my best instincts, as I love horses, horse poo and recycling and am committed to the concept of not for profit upcycling, recycling and freecycling within the community as a means to not only help each other but reduce waste.  So it was fun and special to be part of something that achieves those ends in a real way.  

HELLO FROM OUR GARDEN MANAGER

Hello all

I'm just taking this opportunity to introduce myself to those I haven't already met.

I'm Colin Maltman and have recently taken on the role of garden manager at our ever wonderful and productive PermaPatch community garden.

In this role I'll be overseeing all the varied and interesting (and challenging!) tasks and operation within the garden.

As you probably already know every Sunday afternoon from around 2pm is a working-bee of sorts where members  come along and help out with the various activities within the garden - so please do come along on a Sunday afternoon and meet others, help out in the garden and have a well deserved cuppa!

Every now and then I'll be sending out garden management updates and notifications of activities for the Sunday work sessions - I'll try to get these up on our new website too.
http://www.permapatch.org.au/

As part of my first post as garden manager I thought I'd just list some useful information.

Compost - please bring your fruit and veg scraps and place in the big plastic compost bins - just follow the signs in the compost area for how to do this. When the bins are full we transfer contents to the large open compost bays.

Grass clippings - if herbicide and pesticide free we want them! – place them in the wooden pallet enclosures near the back gate

Leaves and leaf-mulch - same as for grass clippings BUT please no leaves from Camphor laurel or gum trees (they contain chemicals which can deter other plants from growing)

Coffee grounds - these are great to go in the compost bins but best not to spread over the garden beds or on top of plant leaves.

Private and communal plots - all of the raised wooden-sided garden beds in the upper garden (in the area between garden shed and chook shed) are private plots. The communal plots are the large bed and the 5 horseshoe shaped beds in the lower garden (plus herb spiral). However, the beds in the lower garden adjacent to the wall or the metal fence at the far end are private.

Worm farms -  There are three worm farms over by the chooks area, please just follow the sign on the side of the caravan (above the worm farms) for what and how to feed the worms. Food for worms is best chopped up into small sections.
If anyone has spare worms from a worm farm – not from their garden! Feel free to bring them and ad them to the worm containers, we’re a bit short on worms.  

Watering the garden - Pauline has already sent out information and a request for help with watering. We’re proposing that ‘owners’ of individual plots take care of their own watering (as part of the ongoing job of tending to their own garden plots) and that we have a roster for watering the communal beds and other areas.

Planting and harvesting fruits of our labour - We’ll be planning to plant out seeds or seedlings each Sunday as well as harvesting – so come along and help plant the seeds for our future meals!

Chickens - we have a well functioning chook roster for feeding, supplying with water and letting chooks in and out each day. A sign by the hatch on the chook shed has information as to what and what not to feed the chooks. Just remember best not to throw food in for them in the evening or late afternoon as they are less likely to eat it over-night and so could attract rats.

Tank water - we try to use this rather than mains water when we can – to use the tank water you’ll need to switch the electric pump on (or off and on if already on) – the switch is up close by the big water tank. After rain there is also a fair amount of water in the big containers  - 1 by the garden shed, 1 by the chook shed (fed from their respective roofs). These are good for using with watering cans.

Think that’s all – hope to see you in the garden!

Colin Maltman