04 May 2014


The celebration and honouring of  International Permaculture Day this May the 4th couldn't have been finer than by 'cranking the goodness' at the Garden.

In true Garden style, the organic fair trade coffee was flowing in the early morning as Greg worked his magic on the machine and kept the gardeners smiling as they hooked into garden maintenance. 

The forecast, gale force winds out of the south west reminded us of Wollongong's indigenous name, 'windy place', however the windbreak plantings provided an ideal microclimate to work in for the day.

We had a great turnout, with folk coming from Marrickville, new volunteers from as far as Wombarra and Brazil, as well as  the usual local gardening varieties who love to get down and dirty in the humus!

Todd's bobcat made short work of the north western corner in preparation for the new raised garden beds. 

Lisa, Fran and Claudia prepared new beds for the winter legumes of broad beans and snow peas. The fungi decomposed paths were dug up and mounded on the beds to build the soils before a light straw top dressing ready for direct seeding.

Tommy D, Alan and the rest of the mob got into the planting out self seeded local chard, garlic seed and a second planting for the season onion crop. They got into the rhythm with interplanting the leafy green and brassica beds with broad beans, a valuable little tip for robust yields.

In other spirals, the compost was turned, while the food forest mulched with a combination of wood chip and pigeon manure. (There's a good story about the Illawarra pigeon fanciers and the banning of falconry in Australia that will be told in good time... )
The Garden Feast was another joy, although small it was extremely tasty.
We believe in direct action, be the change we want to see in the world, and have a great time doing it. See you all June.

The fossil fuelled and solar powered approach to composting

The infamous Garden Feast around the 'table of goodness'

The Permaculture mob and new friends 



Jake and the Garden's Bowen mangoes a week prior to harvest

Family fun 


Our first ripe Dragonfruit, after a four years of growth

Gleaning acorns from the streets of Canberra

Continuing the theme of planting up the riparian zones with useful exotic species like the avocado, we turn to the amazing oak tree. With a number of deciduous and evergreen species providing us with a range of benefits including, soil building, acorns for human food and animal fodder, bark for cork, timber, carbon sink, habitat for biodiversity and the list goes on. So when the voice of Bega Valley's finest community catalyst and change agent, John Champagne of Brogo Permaculture Gardens, again sounded the gifts of Canberra's oak street trees a plan was hatched!
On the weekend of May 25th & 26th 2013 we headed out from the warm 20 degree weather of the Illawarra and down into the instant crisp autumn air of the 'Berra to meet up with some wonderful Permaculture folk and glean for acorns. Already the street verges of Canberra were heavily laden with leaves and some neighbourhood commencing to clear the valuable 'unwanted' leaf fall.
We caught up with the talented Dan Harris Pascal, local food forest aficionado and botanist and Chilean plant whisperer, Veronique, who were right up to the hunt, with a well documented street tree map, plenty of enthusiasm and a picnic basket full of homegrown organic delights.

Acorn gleaning wouldn't be complete without a dance in the oak leaves!

Although we were late in the season for the acorn harvest, we found hundreds of quality acorns in around a variety of street plantings. The varieties included: Pin oak (Quercus Palustrus ), Cork oak ( Q. suber), English oak (Q. robur ), Burr oak (Quercus macrocarpa), Turkey oak ( cerris) and Holm oak ( Q. ilex). Armed with wicker baskets, paper bags and markers we were soon laden with a huge seed store which we were keen to plant up on the Illawarra coast.


Summer at the Garden is an amazing experience in a subtropical paradise, and the February working bee was all play in the verdant abundance. 

Take a wander through the Garden food forest...
A colourful mob gathered to share in a variety of garden maintenance activities, including 'chop & drop' in the food forest, 'no dig' soil building in the 4 season vegetable beds, propagation in the nursery, path mulching and harvesting a bounty of vegetables, herbs and fruit to share.
The famous Garden feast, was held at 1pm with a huge spread of tasty organic dishes and lively conversation enjoyed by all. 

Illawarra mangoes are a marginal crop. It is when the Spring rains are absent that the fruit sets and we enjoy the richest and sweetest of the 'King of Fruits'...