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Archive for November, 2009

We in the North often have a highly skewed understanding of the word ‘poverty’. Mention it, and the mind is immediately filled with images of emaciated children, queues at aid stations, and the like. Somehow our own acute poverty – in community, social cohesion and ethical purpose – usually goes unrecognised. We live in a consumer-oriented society where our own personal fulfillment and happiness is dependent on that next ‘must have’ purchase, yet can’t see the truth of this hollow form of existence. The happiest people you can see on the streets of our cities are those in the billboard advertising all around us – its actors possessing artificial smiles almost as large as the overflowing shopping trolleys, baskets and bags they carry. We also can’t see that the true cost of this energy intensive but empty ‘life’ is externalised – paid for by our environment and the far-removed and faceless billions that live in other parts of the globe. We can’t see that our lifestyles are running up the tab from hell, promising depletion and even war.

please read original post here

[permaculture.org.au]

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Fire Retardent Trees

Fire Retardent Trees

 

 

Fire Retardants and How They Work

Information about which trees are fire retardant and which are accelerants, about how retardants and accelerants work, and some design and management “do’s and don’ts” which could make a difference to the safety of live and property.

more information

[smalltreefarm.com.au]

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Kiva.org

Kiva.org

Team Permaculture We Let You Loan to Low Income Entrepreneurs

Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.

The people you see on Kiva’s site are real individuals. When you browse entrepreneurs’ profiles on Kiva, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else.

Kiva partners with existing microfinance institutions. In doing so, we gain access to entrepreneurs from communities world-wide. Our partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, our partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently.

Kiva provides a data-rich, transparent lending platform. We are constantly working to make the system more transparent to show how money flows throughout the entire cycle, and what effect it has on the people and institutions lending it, borrowing it, and managing it along the way. To do this, we are using the power of the internet to facilitate one-to-one connections that were previously prohibitively expensive. Kiva creates an interpersonal connection at low costs due to the instant, inexpensive nature of internet delivery.

Team Permaculture

[Kiva.org]

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The term permaculture–a combination the words “permanent” and “agriculture”–was coined in 1978 by Australian ecologists Bill Mollison and David Holmgren to describe an “integrated, evolving system of perennial or self-perpetuating plant and animal species useful to man.” According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, “It is a land use and community building movement which strives for the harmonious integration of human dwellings, microclimate, annual and perennial plants, animals, soils, and water into stable, productive communities.” While permaculture is often associated with communal living, its principles can be used in rural or urban setting to create a sustainable, organic garden that minimizes environmental impact.

[eHow]

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Folio - USDA Zone for garden

Folio - USDA Zone for garden

Our zone map is created by thousands of gardeners from all around the world. Sign up and add your zone!

Search by address on this map to find your local USDA Zone! (anywhere in the world)

map

[folia]

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Growing a forest garden

I’ve always been interested in sustainable ways of growing food. Ever since I read Forest Gardening by Robert Hart I’ve had idle thoughts about planting a small orchard in my back garden. I’ve dabbled here and there but when I moved into my new house in 2008 I decided to start planning. After a lot of head scratching and preparation I planted the first trees that winter.

The aim of this website is to document how the garden develops, share experience and to provide some links to sources of information to help anyone else interested in doing something similar.

website

[landed.weebly.com]

Thank you Simon for this website recommendation

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Don’t be intimidated by composting! Composting is easy to do, and this guide is full of tips on how to get the best results.

If you don’t have time to read this whole site right now, no problem!

Just remember that all organic material breaks down. Even if you just toss your yard debris into a hole in the ground, it will eventually turn into compost. There are ways to get faster results, but it’s not the end of the world if you make step in the wrong direction along the way. For instance, if your compost is too dry, you can put some water on it and set things back on the right course. It’s like driving a car. If you are going in the wrong direction, turn the wheel and get back on the right road.

How quickly compost breaks down depends on four things – moisture, oxygen content, temperature, and a good mix of ingredients. The perfect compost pile is damp without being wet, like a squeezed out sponge. It should also be well aerated, with plenty of the oxygen that aerobic bacteria need. And it should have a mix of different types of materials. If you have just one thing, like grass clippings alone, or leaves alone, then it takes a really long time to break down. But if you have several materials and mix them all together, then they break down much more quickly.

To achieve optimal conditions, here are the things you should focus on:

1) Drainage.

2) Air flow.

3) Insulation.

4) Good Mix of Various Ingredients.

more information

[compostinstructions.com]

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Planning Your Vegetable Garden

So, where to begin?

First of all, think small. Get the hang of growing a vegetable garden first and then expand. I grow more vegetables in a small, well-cared for garden that in a large garden I can’t control.

There are a number of choices that need to be made prior to planting your garden. The better you plan, the more success you will have. I recommend you do the following:

  1. select a suitable location for the garden
  2. proper garden layout
  3. prepare your soil
  4. decide what to plant
  5. know when to plant what
  6. grow the right amount

more information

[vegetablegardeningideas.com]

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The basics are covered in a thousand books, so here are a few tips you don’t come across quite so often.

  1. Design. A few extra hours spent thinking about your garden layout can save you many heart-aches, head-aches and back-aches down the track. Permaculture and Organic gardening books are a good place to start, a PDC (Permaculture Design Course) is a very helpful experience, or you could hire a Permaculture consultant for a couple of hours to look over your design attempt (paying someone with experience to tell you “That won’t work because…. Try this instead….” is money very well spent, keeping the ache-trio I mentioned before in mind.
  2. Protection for the garden is really important. Those books that say your vegie garden needs full sun are either from the very South of Tassie or they’re written for cloudy English conditions. In the harsh Aussie sun, most vegies only need about 6 hours of full sun and those baking afternoon rays from the west can be more of a liability than an asset. A deciduous vine to the west will provide summer protection, whilst allowing in valuable winter sun. Some movable pots of bamboo can also be a good solution.It’s also important to block out hot-dry summer winds, which suck the life out of your plants. If you’re in Melbourne, those winds come from the N/W. In this case a 1m wide strip of fast growing acacia planted against the fence can be a good solution. Allow them to grow up as a windbreak for the summer-time and then chop them back in winter to allow in sunlight (the prunings make excellent mulch for fruit trees).
  3. Catch and infiltrate runoff right where you need it. If you’re planting fruit trees it pays to dig basins or trenches just above them. These intercept any runoff, giving the water time to infiltrate, right where the tree needs it. If you’re setting up a vegie garden, make your pathways level and place a mini dam wall at each end. This means that your pathways will hold water and allow it to infiltrate into the vegie beds. If it’s been really wet and you risk leaching valuable nutrients from your garden, you can just dig out your little dam wall and the paths act as drains. So that you don’t need gumboots to walk in your garden, crusher dust can be used to fill the paths, which provides drainage, a nice surface to walk on and will add trace minerals into the bed over time.
  4. Cycle all nutrients. What springs to mind for most is to return the parts of the vegies you don’t eat back to the garden (via the worms for example). That’s a good start but there are some other important ways:– If a weed pops up in the garden, as you’re pulling it out say ‘Thanks!’ for the carbon it’s captured and the nutrients it’s brought to the surface, and tuck it back under the mulch where it will break down and feed your vegies.
    – If you have a slope, gravity will do its best to leach nutrients from your garden. By planting ‘dynamic accumulators’ such as Comfrey, Yarrow, Tansy, Horseradish or Nasturtium at the base of the garden, they’ll capture these nutrients and bring them up into their foliage. You can cycle them back onto the garden by chopping them back from time to time, and then tucking them under the mulch. (Important: don’t plant comfrey ‘inside’ your vegie garden where you might disturb its roots or else it will take over)
    – Why do I keep mentioning tucking green plants in under mulch? Because if you leave green plants such as a green manure crop on the surface they quickly turn brown, and what’s happened is that a good chunk of nitrogen has evaporated off into the atmosphere; lost. By covering green stuff with a thin layer of brown mulch, you’ll notice when you come back a few weeks later that it’s still green underneath, and it’s holding onto the nitrogen until the soil critters get around to breaking it down and incorporating it into the soil.
    – Wee in a bucket of water and put it out on the garden once a day. If you have a nice layer of carbon rich mulch, the garden won’t smell at all. (By the way, urine actually contains far more nutrient than your #2 does.)
    – Commercial composting toilets can now be legally installed in any sewered area of Victoria, even in the heart of the city. Also check out Jo Jenkins The Humanure Handbook which you can download from this website, but I’d recommend supporting Jo’s ‘shit-hot’ work by buying a copyand keeping it in the dunny.
  5. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Seems like a strange one to add in a list of ‘not-so-common tips’, but there are a couple of aspects which are often misunderstood. Here’s a couple of quick tips:– Think of your mulch as a flat, spread out compost pile, for which you should be aiming for a similar carbon:nitrogen ratio. If you just put down pea straw for example, this is really high in carbon. The soil critters that will want to get to work on breaking it down need nitrogen to build their bodies and if you don’t provide it for them they’ll go looking in the soil and will steal every last bit from around your plants; that’s what’s known as nitrogen drawback. By providing a bit of nitrogen in the form of blood and bone, manure, urine etc., you’ll get the wonderful benefits of mulching, along with the decent plant growth you’re after.
    – It’s a good idea to use mulch which has a similar herbaceous/woody consistency to the plant you are growing. The reason for this comes down to the soil biology, in particular the ratio of fungi:bacteria, which different plants prefer. For example, as a result of millions of years of evolution, vegies prefer a soil that is fairly bacterial dominated rather than fungal. If you mulch with woodchips, which are predominantly broken down by fungi, that’s what your soil will be dominated by. A more appropriate approach would be to use grass clippings or pea straw on the veg, whereas for a fruit tree you’re better off with the slightly woody tree prunings from leguminous trees or from a local tree lopper.

Cam Wilson

Cam Wilson

Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy people

Feel free to check in anytime to read about some of the stuff I’m up to.

[permaculture.org.au]

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