seedlings

Transformation task force PermaBee

It is not often that a Sunday working bee truly transforms the face of the garden. However, last Sunday's (19th April) working bee achieved exactly that.

The upper garden had always been reminiscent of its past life as a car park; and despite luscious private plots it never quite managed to acquire the same cozy feel of the lower garden. So a few months ago, the plan was hatched to cover the bitumen surface with woodchips.

Woodchips would not just be a cosmetic enhancement. They would also help to keep the upper garden cool(er) in summer and encourage beneficial ground and fungal networks to grow. And, all of the energy that is used sweeping the upper garden's surface clean of leaf litter and bark strips could go into proper gardening activities.

How many woodchips does it take for such an endeavor? MOUNTAINS of woodchips! 

  Colin at the summit of Woodchip Mountain

 Colin at the summit of Woodchip Mountain

And of course, it takes people to move the mountains.  Given the scale of the project, we asked Permaculture Sydney North (PSN) to lend us a helping hand and called a special Permabee working bee. This meant instead of our usual afternoon shift of a couple of hours, we started early to make the most of the day.

And things progressed really well! By the time we gathered for late morning tea the mountains had already been eroded to mere speed bumps.

                     Time for morning team - catching up with old friends and making new ones.

                    Time for morning team - catching up with old friends and making new ones.

Not that there we were short of tasks...There is always something to do in the garden. A whole range of activities had been planned and prioritised for the day:

  Our impressive project schedule for the day. After number 9 we ran out of white space on the board...

Our impressive project schedule for the day. After number 9 we ran out of white space on the board...

Excitingly, about 400 new seedlings had arrived just in time for the working bee. We received a mix of little lettuces, cabbages, carrots, coriander and several others. So not only would we be able to refill the lettuce pots of the acquaponics, the common beds had been weeded and topped up with compost the Sunday prior - perfectly prepared to provide for the little seedlings. 

Tasks like these cannot be tackled on morning tea alone. Since the early morning we had fired up the pizza oven and served pizzas for lunch. 

We're certainly getting the hang of how to get the pizza oven going, and even used the residual heat for roasting corn cobs and a slow-cooked pork roast. 

Activities continued well into the afternoon, until the wind picked up and temperatures dropped announcing a change in weather. Time to clean up and pack the tools away!  

It had been a wonderful day, - very productive in terms of all the tasks we accomplished. But most importantly, it was really fulfilling to work alongside like-minded people and have a great time turning our garden into an even homelier place. Thank you to everyone involved! 

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