Over the past month I’ve been digging deeply into David Holmgren’s recently released book, ‘RetroSuburbia: the downshifter’s guide to a resilient future‘. The book is based on the premise that for most households, making the most productive use of a promising suburban block is a more realistic way to apply permaculture principles than moving to acreage in the country. It features a ‘RetroSuburban Real Estate Checklist‘ (follow link for spreadsheet) to assess a property’s fitness for sustainability – and a series of real-life examples, also included on this page of the website.
I’m using the book and the checklist to help structure a review of how our property retrofit has come along over the past 10 years and where we could take it from here. Making our progress quantifiable allows for comparison with the properties featured in the book so that we can gauge how we’re going a little more objectively. This month, my case study takes the place of the usual monthly garden guide (so please search the archive if you’re wondering what to plant and what garden jobs to do in April). If you’re thinking more broadly and long-term, read on 🙂
Andrew and I will also be speaking briefly about our retrofit process this Thursday evening (April 5) at the Joinery’s community dinner and film night featuring the documentary ‘Living the Change‘ – follow the link for details and tickets. Continue reading
THE START OF AUTUMN – OR MORE SUMMER?
The weather outlook for the next three months suggests that conditions in Adelaide and much of SA are likely to be drier and warmer than average for this time of year as the La Nina system gradually breaks down during autumn. For our gardens, the main question is whether this means it’s worth continuing to grow summer vegetables or to switch to typical autumn vegetables around this time. Continue reading
How is your garden looking at this time of year? Have those couple of heatwaves battered it around a bit?
Here we haven’t lost many plants, but we’ve seen some of those prized mangoes get sunburnt, along with many baby persimmons, both of which had a long way to go before ripening – the result of choosing not to shade trees when it was inconvenient to do so. And when we finally did shade the mango tree, the biggest fruit fell off. Never mind, I have just been to chat to my friendly local Indian grocer, who has shared a recipe for green mango dip. Wish me luck! Continue reading
Posted in Food, fruit, maintenance, markets, permaculture principles, planting, raised garden beds, recipes, summer, vegetables, workshops
Happy New Year! Gardeners will appreciate the deliciousness of Adelaide’s mild Christmas and New Year break, which has offered the perfect opportunity for planting and enjoying the garden. Although we’re in for a little heat spike this weekend it shouldn’t last long, but it means it’s time to keep a close eye on fruit for sudden ripening and sunburn, and just hold off for a couple of days on planting seeds and seedlings or summer pruning until the heat has passed. Continue reading
It’s been a busy couple of days in the garden, clearing out, rearranging and replanting a couple of vegetable beds, and planting new fruit trees, while the weather is mild enough for plants to settle in without getting either sunburnt or blown over. Weather over the next few days looks good for planting, with extra care needed next week as the heat builds up again.
If the plants need shade, water and protection, so do I.
Posted in bees, Christmas, compost, Food, fruit, hanging out in the garden, herbs, markets, native plants, planning, planting, propagating, raised garden beds, seedlings, seeds, summer, trees, vegetables, vertical gardens
The countdown to Christmas has started. The usual end-of-year round of social and family events, shopping, school celebrations, reports, awards, and expectations to have our homes, gardens, families and lives in perfect order to be showcased, and all the loose ends tied up at work before we take a break.
View from the office (spiralling in clockwise from top left): grapevine, white peach, nectarine, mandarin, spring onions, snowpeas, broad beans, persimmon, cape gooseberry, white shahtoot mulberry, zucchini, assorted leafy greens.
I’m not going to make that target. Continue reading
Spring keeps on springing…
I swear we have the calendar all back to front in this hemisphere. Surely when the chooks are munching on all the new leafy greens and laying as if their lives depended on it (fair enough, in some places that might really be the case!) it ought to be Easter. But instead, when the pumpkins are just germinating and are still six months off ripening, we get Halloween. But eggs are even more versatile than pumpkins, so who’s complaining? Continue reading