Suburban Farming Archives

My New Interest – Permaculture

To call Permaculture an interest is a little insulting because Permaculture is a lifestyle!

In my journey to self sufficiency and health it is only natural to run across this method of gardening.

What is Permaculture?

For me Permaculture is a way of designing my garden, my home and my life in a sustainable way.  A holistic approach to working with nature rather than against it.

Wikipedia described it as:

The core tenets of Permaculture are:

  • Take care of the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
  • Take care of the people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
  • Share the surplus: Healthy natural systems use outputs from each element to nourish others. We humans can do the same. By governing our own needs, we can set resources aside to further the above principles.


So begins my journey into Permaculture Design.  Unfortunately all PDC design courses are either out of my price range or not convenient time wise.  I can’t afford to take up to 10 weeks off from work to complete this course so I found a couple of other resources to help me along.

One is a course recorded by North Carolina State University by Prof. Will Hooker.

Introduction to Permaculture

This is an awesome series of recorded lectures and field trips and I learned a lot from it.

The other is held by  Permaculture Education Centre.  This is an online course which lets you complete the theory and then you need to find someone to help you with the practical stuff if you want to become certified.

So for the moment I will use these resources and my current garden and at a later time, universe willing I will get my PDC and follow a new realised direction.


Garden Update

It’s been some time since I updated my website and so much has happened in my garden and kitchen.

In the garden I planted Pumpkin, Zucchini, Carrots, Beetroot, Onions, Shallots, Popcorn, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Beans, Strawberries, Watermelons and Tomatoes.


The Verdict, how did I go with my first ever crop?

Cucumbers – Oh my goodness did they do well, we ate, cooked, pickled, relished and froze them there were so many.

Zucchinis – A bumper crop but just enough to eat and make some relish.

Carrots – a few but mostly stunted, tasty though.

Beetroot – One survived.

Popcorn – Great but I left it too late to pick and they were too dry to do anything with.


Strawberries – Yummy looking forward to next year.

Tomatoes – The cherry tomatoes did really well the rest rotted before ripe or were eaten by the pesties.

Pumpkin – I only got one the rest from research didn’t get pollinated and died before getting big enough.

Watermelons – these were yummy, I planted a small variety so each one was able to be eaten in a day by moth, myself and our son.

The rest didn’t germinate or the dog dug them up.


Oh and did I mention that my basil plants are insane, I’ve dried, froze and pesto’d and it still keeps on a comin.

Farming on a Suburban House Block

Other stuff we’ve been doing.

I followed Anna Hess’s Killer Mulch method and laid down a couple of garden beds and I’m in the process of a third.  Killer Mulch is a no-till garden bed, it is also referred to as lasagna garden beds.  I found it a lot easier than digging up dirt which I did for my Gourd Bottles.

It comprises of a layer of grass clippings, a layer of wet cardboard, a layer of horse manure, a layer of top soil and a layer of sugar cane mulch.  We only paid for the top soil as we didn’t have any excess.  We found cardboard from our local Bunnings Store and the Horse manure was free as long as we went and collected it ourselves.  We spent about an hour shoveling horse poo into a hessian bag, wasn’t too difficult and as long as it wasn’t fresh not too smelly either.


So far we’ve planted Strawberries, Cucumbers, Basil and Mint in a pot because of it’s tendency to take over.  We also have two dwarf Apple Trees.  I planted them in pots because I’m not too sure how the garden is going to end up and it would be a bit difficult to transplant if I put it in the wrong place.

Currently I am also germinating Heritage Tomatoes and Mini Capsicum.   We also have a chili tree as well.

I used old egg cartons because after purchasing peat pots I found that egg cartons had the same kind of feel about them and I remembered my mother used to use them for her seedlings.

I still want to plant lettuce, shallots, potatoes and a few other things that we eat regularly.  Very soon we’ll be picking and eating our own home grown food, can’t wait!


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