Sunday, September 9, 2007

Permablitz #29 at the Permaculture Forest

Well yesterday and today we had a huge weekend, hosting Permablitz #29, having heaps of fun with about 20 wonderful visitors, and getting a heap done. As well as having workshops on hot composting (thanks Cam!), sourdough breadmaking (thanks Dan!), grafting (thanks Adam!) and even Chinese medicine acupressue points (thanks Kim!), we made enormous progress both on the zone 1/2 orchard and veggie area south of the house and the maincrop terrace north of the tennis court (which harvests water for the terrace) - see the pictures below to see what we achieved. On Saturday afternoon we had a tour and demonstrated some features of the mainframe water design, including bringing the South-Eastern spring sideways, taking the dam sideways along a swale, and converting all the swales into diversion drains by turning a pipe. Thanks so much to everyone that came along.

Our lovely dairy farmer neighbours helped us out with two huge trailer loads of cow poo.

Cam explains the approach to sheet mulching the orchard, as part of a plan to turn it into an edible forest garden.

Digging in the paths for the forest garden.

Going for it in the orchard on Saturday.

The sheet mulch (blood and bone, then newspaper, then cardboard, then cow poo, then woodchip mulch) down.

Marking out the maincrop bed on the terrace.

Putting in the paths in the (90 square metre) maincrop terrace, which we've designed to fit the chook tractor.

Digging them paths and planting them spuds.

Mulching spuds.

More spud mulching. What we don't eat or give away out of the 90 square metres of spuds we'll leave to build the soil.

The new maincrop bed at the end of the blitz.

On Saturday evening we took the group on a tour of the whole site, explaining the core features of the design as we went along.

Cam leads a compost workshop on Sunday morning.

Here's the team - we got a lot done but had heaps of fun too, with amazing food from Di and a bonfire and even a firebath on Saturday evening.

One more time...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Permaculture Forest Training Camp in December

We're running a one-week practical permaculture skills on-the-ground training camp this December. The venue is the Permaculture Forest, a beautiful 15-acre property near Leongatha in South Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.

We've timed the course to follow on from the next Permaculture Design Course at Rick and Naomi Coleman's Southern Cross Permaculture Institute which finishes December 15th. Our course will then run from 9am Monday December 17th to midday Saturday December 22 (We're also planning to run a second training camp January 21st-26th 2008 to follow on from Bill Mollison and Geoff Lawton's next Melbourne course but more on that to come).

This means that students of the acclaimed Southern Cross course keen to hit the ground can do so (we're only 20 minutes drive from Rick and Naomi's place) and that others who have done a PDC in the past can come along to get re-inspired and skilled up.

The Permaculture Forest is the perfect property for the training camp, with a range of permaculture systems well into implementation, including goose ponds, swales, extensive windbreak plantings, large-scale nut, fruit and support tree plantings, irrigation systems, main and grain no-dig cropping terraces, strip/cell grazing systems, soil improvement strategies, chicken tractor gardens, deep-litter straw yard chicken systems, wetlands, revegetation, greywater reedbed and compost toilets.

Students will learn about all aspects of broad-acre permaculture design, implementation and maintenance. We'll also be eating largely from the property (including veggies, carbs, eggs and possibly some meat) and will spend time in the zone-one vegetable gardens which includes compost and worm farm systems.

The cost will be $500 ($450 low income) for the week including everything - food (but we'll all take turns helping prepare it), accommodation, day and evening sessions. Though we'll be spending most of our days outside, we will seamlessly integrate theory and practice so that you're learning on every level. Both theory and practice sessions will also be catered to the interests of individuals and the group.

Teachers and facilitators will include Cam Wilson, Dan Palmer, Jessie Price, Carey Priest and Adam Grub. Along with long, productive days outside (you will sleep well!) we'll have evening sessions, workshops and guest speakers on a variety topics, including professional design consultancy, permablitzes, sustainable kitchen skills, and the soil food web approach.