Posts tagged ‘permaculture’

A-picking we did go

Early yesterday morning, a group of 12 adults and 6 children set off for a berry picking adventure. We went up the windy road to the lower hills of the Strzelecki ranges and found that the Sunny Creek Organic berry farm was a little cooler than the highway we had transcended from.

The day started with  a talk on the history and setting up of the permaculture designed property by one of the owners, Phil. We learnt of the importance of frogs and bees to the organic berry farmer, why currants will grow under chestnut trees but raspberries won’t, and how to tell a golden raspberry plant from a red raspberry, even before it fruits. Most importantly for our purposes on the day, we learnt how to judge a berry for immediate eating versus one for keeping a few days or freezing.

Then it was time to pick and be merry. Everyone had a bucket to fill, and there were oodles of beautiful plump berries to be had – silvan berries, boysenberries, youngberries, blackberries (all types of brambles), a rainbow of raspberries (yellow, red, purple and black) some red currants and a smattering of blueberries.

It was a perfect temperature for picking and we were in under the nets reaching for large clusters of berries, some so ripe that they fell off their stalk as soon as they were touched (then you had to ferret in the undergrowth to save them!). Of course a fair amount of berry grazing was done along the way, encouraged by the owner, who suggested we savour the sharper, more acidic, less ripe fruit and compare it with its more fully ripened and darker neighbour.

The owners gave us a lovely spot to have morning tea and our picnic lunch, and the children had a lovely time seeking adventures in the nearby bush and looking for tree frogs in the pond.

After weighing and packing our bounty, we wandered our separate ways home with our berry treasures, some stopping off in Yarragon on the way for a cuppa, and others checking out the new foal on a local farm, all determined to add one or two varieties of berry to our gardens next spring.

Perhaps the apple season will take us for another venture up into the hills– cox’s orange pippins and Canadian cider apples await.  We will keep you posted re picking season for the apple crop and highly recommend the quality of the berries and berry picking experience at Sunny Creek.

Rachel and Jos
(on behalf of the fun_raising group)

Youngberry pickers

Youngberry pickers

Boysenberries

Boysenberries

Buckets of goodness

Buckets of goodness

Missed out? Wished you could’ve come too? Join our mailing list and next time you’ll know about it!

31 December, 2010 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Local Food Tour

On Saturday 9th of October more than 30 people came on on a tour of local food sites, taking in community gardens, productive backyards, Preston Market and a talk on Preston’s rich food producing history, as publicised in the Preston Leader a couple of weeks ago.

See pictures here!

We met at Sprout, a community garden next to Thornbury station that helps people experiencing homelessness and mental illness get some hands-on skills. The garden plots are communal rather than private, and the garden throws open its gates to the wider community with a market on the first Thursday of the month.

Transition Darebin’s very own Kat Lavers opened our eyes to the useful weeds growing all around us on our way to Angelo’s house. Angelo’s house has an amazingly productive permaculture bursting out of his backyard and he was only to happy to give away tips and even seedlings and cuttings to people inspired to start growing their own.

At Costante Imports on Bell Street we found all kinds of food processing and preserving equipment – which is just what you need if you have a yard as abundant as Angelo’s!

Then we grabbed lunch from Preston market and walked to a nearby park to listen to tales of Preston’s food-producing past from Merv Lia from the Preston Historical Society. You can download a scanned copy of Merv’s notes (PDF, 292 KB).

Finally we had a well-deserved sit down at Motor Mower cafe on Murray Road where we heard about how a cafe can be set up in a low-impact way.

See the map below or download the schedule (PDF, 60KB).

food tour map

10 October, 2010 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment

Permablitz #89 in conjunction with Transition Darebin and Permaculture Inner North

Short days, cool weather and a forecast for rain can’t keep keen blitzers indoors. Where there’s a yard to make over, they’re there in spades. Or is that shovels? That was just one of life’s more enduring questions to be debated on Saturday 29th May in Damian’s front yard as its gentle slope was engineered into swales to feed a future orchard. In between chai breaks and a hot vegie feast, an old bath tub was converted into a frog bog, surrounded by relocated rocks and plants, and a new ‘plucking garden’ laid out next to the back door.

There aren’t many social occasions where the guests are asked to bring a plate of rotting food. In this case the bounty of past-it produce went into the compost pile along with a healthy helping of manure, leaves, straw and grass. Paul the compost connoisseur demonstrated the Berkeley hot compost method, the result of which Damian will be able to spread on his new garden in a matter of weeks.

Pre-swales: Maximum run-off

Pre-swales: Maximum run-off

Water catchment for yet-to-be planted fruit trees

Water catchment for yet-to-be planted fruit trees

You can also see the whole day unfold on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone who dug, mulched and weeded. See you at the next blitz!

If you are a Darebin resident who has a balcony, courtyard, back or front garden ready to be transformed into an edible oasis, simply lend a hand at 3 blitzes then get in touch with Transition Darebin! Find blitzes happening near you at www.permablitz.net.

31 May, 2010 at 12:44 pm Leave a comment

Eating Reservoir! Permablitz #82 in conjunction with Transition Darebin

Providing access to cheap, local, organic food? Check. Building local communities? Check. Getting some exercise outdoors? Check. Learning new skills? Check. Having a good time? Check. When you’re onto a good thing, run with it! Permablitz has been a hugely successful mechanism for bringing food production back to the burbs, and Transitioners have been working to get more blitzes happening in Darebin.

On Saturday 21st November more than 40 keen-as-mustard blitzers, fuelled by an unbelievable feast of traditional Greek food, transmogrified* Caro, Greg and Angelina’s little slice of Reservoir into a beautiful vegie patch with a rock wall terrace, a greywater mulch pit system to supply a future fruit orchard, and a multipurpose fire circle/sandpit/outdoor in-ground seating area.

During the day we learned how to make dolmades from Angela, string with cordyline leaves from Kat, and netting from Robynann. Caro also gave a tour of the Amazing Frog Bog (featuring a relocated frog that we rescued from the cordyline stump!), and the Transition Darebin team discussed our plans for 2010 and beyond with the locals.

But enough talk, check out these photos!

At the Pre-blitz design visit:

Site of the vegie-patch-to-be

Site of the vegie-patch-to-be

Caro and Kat admiring the "room for improvement"!

Caro and Kat admiring the "room for improvement"!

Nearing the end of the blitz:

The brand new vegie patch

The brand new vegie patch

Improvements accomplished!

Improvements accomplished!

You can also see the whole day unfold on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone who shoveled, mulched and weeded. See you at the next blitz!

If you are a Darebin resident who has a balcony, courtyard, back or front garden ready to be transformed into an edible oasis, simply lend a hand at 3 blitzes then get in touch with Transition Darebin! Find blitzes happening near you at www.permablitz.net.


*Transmogrify: to transform, as if by magic!

23 November, 2009 at 11:55 am Leave a comment


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