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When things work out dam right

Now this is a little removed from a backyard veggie patch, but we do small-scale-rural design too, and last week Dan was consulting on a small acreage in Hurstbridge when the landscape gave him three independent thumbs ups as to where to site a small earth dam on the property. See him walk and talk through them here:


Community Wicking Bed Install

Dan had a fun morning helping Maribyrnong council with a community wicking bed garden install a few weekends back.  We had a machine planned to help unload the beds from the truck, but it was late, and we had to resort to a couple of long lengths of cypress Dan luckily had in reserve on the VEGmobile.  With about 10 residents and sundry from a quiet Footscray street we set up ten VEG-style wicking beds in an unused block, each one to be looked after by a street on the household.  Thanks to Jennifer for organising, Anthony our dingo man for doing what he does, and all the residents who after a quick demo were pumping out wicking beds as good if not better that what we can!

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Permaculture Blitz at The Welcome Garden

A few weeks ago, with the support of Shoestring Gardening and the Wyndham City Council's Growing Community program we facilitated a permaculture blitz at The Welcome Garden -- a burgeoning community garden at a new school/church, St Philips in Tarneit, just north of Werribee.  Good times were had, and much achieved!  The beautiful photos below (in reverse chronological order) by Andrea Winter can be viewed full size at thewelcomegarden.tumblr.com

permablitz photos

permablitz photos

Wicking bed fix-it job

The VEG wicking bed we installed in the Hobson's bay council staffroom court yard had unhappy interaction with two big sharp stakes recently, so we were called in to perform a fix-it job. A few hours and a tube of silicon later, all good! Great to see how well it had and now again is working, and also to see how much the staff were actively engaging with it, harvesting lettuce for their lunch as we were working on it!


Latest VEG Chook Systems

On Friday we finished another VEG Chook House and Strawyard install in Coburg.  In addition to our research and experimentation over the last seven years, we have recently had the honour of incorporating some feedback from the lovely Meg Miller, renowned chook expert and editor of the Australiasian Poultry Magazine.

Meg saw one of our small chook houses on display at the royal Melbourne show and, based on her extensive experience and knowledge, her two main suggestions were more ventilation and wider roosts.  We have since added a second ventilation shaft in the rear top of our chook houses, which in conjunction with the mesh floor and the fact that the side door into the strawyard is usually open, allows ample ventilation during those hot summer days and nights.  On real stinkers we'd recommend putting a bucket or basin of water either in the house or underneath it for the cooling effect of the evaporation. We have also increased our roost width from 4 to 6cm.  We have had some wonderful feedback lately from VEG Chook System customers and it is great to find our systems meshing beautifully with both the people and their edible gardens.

This youtube from Friday shows these features, along with our standard double-gate system, chook hatches, and pulley-hatch opener that is appropriate in some cases.  On this job the chooks moved themselves into their new digs before we actually finished building it!



This next clip, also from Friday, is of Rosalie's system in Northcote, where we are complementing her VEG Chook House & Strawyard with a chook run & gates to keep her dog separate from the chooks.  Rosalie came home recently to find one of the chooks in the dog's mouth (unharmed) so doesn't want to take any chances.  Anyways this clip shows how Rosalie is now enjoying collecting snails from her garden and feeding them into her magical contraptions (i.e., chooks) that turn them into eggs & compost (via manure)!  To paraphrase Bill Mollison, no-one ever has a snail or slug problem.  What they have is chook or duck deficiency.  If you are feeling such a deficiency in your life and garden, be in touch and we can set you up with a chook system that will work an absolute treat and last for many, many years.


VEG gets a router

VEG acquired a router the other day.  Yes, it is just another tool, but look what we can now do to the corners of our VEG Bed bench seats with it!


How hard should I prune my fruit trees?

Eddie, Julie & Annabel live in Yarraville with a few dogs and a lovely weeping mulberry tree.  Until Dan moved recently they were a few doors down.  Knowing how soft-core most folk are when it comes to pruning, when Eddie asked Dan for some mulberry pruning advice, Dan's main message was clear: "go hard!"  Deciduous fruit trees can pump out shoots two metres long in a single spring and once you know how fast and vigorously they bounce back from a winter prune you realise you can really get stuck in to them.  Dan more so than others wrecks havoc with his felcos, and has been know to bring a 3-4m high orchard of 25+ trees down to a reachable, manageable and nettable 1.5m in less than two hours.  Anyway, when Eddie invited Dan to assess his pruning efforts, he said "I went pretty hard." "Sure sure" Dan thought, he's taken a twig off there, and branchlet off here.  But this is what he saw of what was previously a large gnarly weeping mulberry...


Dan smiled and nodded while thinking "gosh Eddie, I actually think you went too hard!"  Then, just three months later, this!

So fear not budding fruit-tree pruners and go hard knowing nature's amazing ability to bounce back with renewed vigour.  That said, maybe don't go quite as hard as Eddie and keep in mind the trade off between getting the desired form and getting fruit this season!


Here are a few more photos of this amazing recovery from serious surgery.

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Big Beds in Caulfield

Two good-sized VEG Roughsawn Beds with oiled bench seats we finished installing in Caulfield yesterday - happy growing Judy!

2013 Permaculture Calendar

Edible weeds (courtesy of VEG's Adam Grubb), snuffling pigs at Taranaki Farm, people permablitzing, bountiful piles of produce: all wonderful things to look at over the course of your year, and all featured in the 2013 Permaculture calendar.  Each month tells a short story and illustrates a permaculture principle.  Here's the spiel from the producers: 

Organise your life and share your schedule with this lovely, deceptively simple but thought-provoking, calendar in your home or workplace. It's filled with inspirational and thought provoking images that support and reinforce your values every day of the year

"It would easily be the most useful and inspiring calendar I've ever come across - it's the very appropriate, definitely gift worthy, and what I like to call honest" Rob Bartrum 

Produced in Australia on 100% recycled paper using vegetable based inks. 10% of net return donated to Permafund. Size: A4 (210mm x 297mm) opening to A3. 

RRP $12 and available from www.permacultureprinciples.com

2013 Permaculture calendar

Dirt Girl World meets VEG

Hanging out with the Dirt Girl World girls at Maroondah Festival today...


Amazing weeds walk photos

Some amazing photos from Adam's weed walk last weekend. Thanks to Sal Abubakar.