Food & sustenance

We all need and enjoy food, even our food needs food. From establishing a backyard garden to a large food forest we can help guide you towards achieving some degree of food security.

Growing vegetables, fruit and nuts is a low cost, high yield activity that can be carried out at almost any scale and with careful consideration takes very little effort. Locally grown, chemical free food is a key component to health and vitality.

Setting of expectations

Setting of expectations

The expectations we have about what we should be eating and when determines what options are open to us in terms of where and how we obtain our sustenance. By adjusting our requirements and evaluations of what makes something desirable food we open up new sources and types of fruit and vegetables. This is a prerequisite of low input forest gardening.
November 22, 2015

Starplate geodesic garden structure

Details   It's always nice to have a protected are where birds can't interfere with the growing of produce. We have tried numerous techniques and constructions over the years. One that looks promising (and cool) is this geodesic frame made with starplates, polypipe and plastic netting.

Light, durable and almost circular (5 sided base) this seems like an ideal little garden space for Melisa
Date   December 31, 2021
Tags     2021  December  Construction  Garden  Pipe 
Clavulina rugosa - edible fungi

Clavulina rugosa - edible fungi

Details   After several attempts to inoculate and produce edible mushrooms I decided I might be better off educating myself on the local edible varieties that grow themselves. On several occasions we have found and eaten large field mushrooms but these are less common as the land rapidly returns to forest.

One species that I felt comfortable identifying due to lack of poisonous lookalikes is Clavulina rugosa, commonly known as the wrinkled coral fungus. Knowing that it occurs in symbiosis with conifer roots I went looking and was surprised to find some growing less than 100m from the house. Now that I know what I'm looking for I have found them in other locations.
Date   August 05, 2021
Tags     fungi  food 
Chimney Oven

Chimney Oven

I first came across this novel concept when I was a kid and friends of my parents had one. Seems like a pretty common sense idea so I've been on the look out for something like this for years.

Finally I got the chance to purchase this stainless steel beauty. On the initial test firing we easily got the temperature up to 350 centigrade and it hovers nicely round 200 with the vents closed and the fire idling.

We have used the oven to cook bread, muffins, roast nuts, muesli and veges. A very versatile and useful addition.
July 17, 2017
Shitake Harvest

Shitake Harvest

September 09, 2019
Finally, after several years of waiting, shitake mushrooms are sprouting from the logs. I inoculated these fresh willow logs using the wooden dowel method and kept them in a damp shady location, checking periodically but as time went by and nothing happened, the logs inadvertently dried out and I assumed it was a failure. I ended up partially burying the logs as part of some minor earth works near a small pond. Surprise when month later mushrooms began popping. So harvested and ate.
  fungi  harvest 
Perennial Brassica from the forest garden

Perennial Brassica from the forest garden

Details   Having freed ourselves of the expectation of eating vegetables that resemble the unnatural size and uniformity of those found in the supermarket we have reduced our efforts and disappointments in the garden. Perennial brassica are one way that we produce more food with less work. Foraged fresh from the surrounding landscape, these baby broccoli heads (flowers) are tasty and tender.
Date   September 03, 2019
Tags     2019  September  Perennial  Vegetable 
Natural woven flax weed mat

Natural woven flax weed mat

Details   Here's a simple technique for reducing weeds in a small garden. Biodegradable woven flax mats with seeds or small plants added in the gaps.
Date   September 11, 2018
Tags     2018  September 

Constructing and working with a chookhouse gardening system

Combining chookhouse and glasshouse is one of the classic permaculture examples of stacking functions, closing loops and all that but not something I had ever come across. It makes sense on a lot of levels:
  • Why have 2 buildings when you can have one
  • Waste products from chickens are great inputs for plants (manure, heat, CO2...)
  • Chickens eat insects and plant material and are great for preparing soil for planting
  • Plants grow well in sheltered, warm environment
May 05, 2016
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