An Exciting Spring Project: retrofitting a Local Back Yard

Plum tree waking up after its Winter slumber in Lyttleton Gardens

Plum tree waking up after its Winter slumber in Lyttleton Gardens

The August winds are still howling despite the arrival of September. Many exciting events are coming up. I will be giving a little talk on Thursday September 21st about our upcoming "Permaculture in Action: Backyard retrofit" project.

Ann is a local regular in the shop, and brings us her home grown mandarins to swap for produce regularly. When I went to visit her backyard, she mentioned that she had wanted it to be productive for her gorgeous family for years, but being a busy homeschooling mum, she could never get round to making it happen. I tried to think of how we could help, and realised this big back yard was a perfect space to teach and learn about permaculture design. So I thought and thought, and came up with the "Backyard retrofit" project.

It begins with a one day "Introduction to Permaculture" class on Saturday, September 30th. Then, I will be conducting a series of 4 affordable, hands-on weekly Saturday workshops in Ann's Lawson back yard from of October 14th to November 4th (inclusive).

The workshops will each cover different aspects of retrofitting a back yard for sustainability.

They include setting up annual vegetable garden beds from scratch (with minimal soil disturbance), setting up an effective home composting system, transforming an orchard into a food forest, and keeping back yard chickens.

I will be illustrating all of these practical aspects while putting them in a Permaculture design framework.

For those new to Permaculture, attending the Intro to Permaculture session is not compulsory but recommended. I will be talking about the ethics and principles, as well as basic ecology and design methodology.

What I love about this project is that it gives us a chance to share skills, and help a local, single income family retrofit their back yard into a resilient, productive space. Hopefully, people will come away with methodology they can use to observe and retrofit their own back yards.

I would love to expand this project and help more people retrofit their peri-urban spaces in the Blue Mountains. I will be talking about it at the next Backyard Grower Meet Up on Thursday September 21st evening from 6 to 8pm. Come along.

"Permaculture in Action: Backyard retrofit" project breakdown:

NOTE: There is the option of attending all classes in this series for $220, or sign up to individual ones.

Introduction to Permaculture Design
$120 includes tuition, workbook and refreshments.
Saturday 30th of September from 9-4pm
Please feel welcome to bring your own lunch or purchase an organic hamper for $20 to enjoy in the Lyttleton Gardens!

Setting up a veggie patch from scratch
$40 hands-on workshop, bring closed-in shoes, hat, gloves, sunscreen
Saturday, October 14th 9-12pm

Setting up a functional, effective, dynamic home composting system
$40 hands-on workshop, bring closed-in shoes, hat, gloves, sunscreen
Saturday, October 21st9-12pm

Turning a small orchard into a food forest
$40 hands-on workshop, bring closed-in shoes, hat, gloves, sunscreen
Saturday, October 28th 9-12pm

Integrating chickens into your back yard system
$40 hands-on workshop, bring closed-in shoes, hat, gloves, sunscreen
Saturday, November 4th 9-12pm


Nurturing Budding and Blooming Edible Gardeners

Yesterday, Cameron and I (Manu) ran our first 'Introduction to vegetable gardening' workshop. It was an absolute joy to be part of each person's journey into growing their own food. More than this, I think we always marvel at the opportunity to spread the word on what each person can do to live more sustainably: growing food locally, regeneratively and organically insures that we not only become resilient growers, but also stewards of our small patch of topsoil.

With industrial agriculture we have seen a devastating loss of topsoil worldwide. Half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to this, a huge amount of carbon is escaping into the atmosphere from all different sources. Imagine how much carbon we could capture and store in our soils, and what an impact this would make if more and more of us looked after our garden soils and made compost to feed it!

With the volume of environmental issues facing us, one can easily feel helpless and overwhelmed. But as Bill Mollison said, "the solution remains embarrassingly simple." Having a regenerative and wholistic approach to growing food is one of the simple things you can do to make a difference. We find it incredibly exciting to be able to help and support people who are on this path.

Soil Building Workshop

The garden is looking gorgeous at the moment and we are getting ready for our soil building workshop coming up on Saturday November 19th. We will teach you the ins and outs of building beautiful soil from scratch by setting up no-dig garden beds in two different settings. Delicious picnic lunch hamper provided.