Starting Tomato Seedlings Indoors

Tomato_Seedling-IMG_0132-640x480

If you live in Australia’s temperate climates, you can sow your tomato seedlings in late winter (August) – by starting them indoors! It’s in the list of Autumn garden tasks in my gardening calendar!

Starting your tomato seedlings early is a great way to get a good head start of a few weeks before spring arrives. By the time the weather is suitable for planting out the seedlings, you’ll have nice strong plants that will better survive pests and inclement weather!

For step-by-step instructions on starting tomatoes indoors in late winter, see my article: Starting Annual Vegetable Seedlings Indoors

Why wait for the warm weather when you can start now!

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Guest Article – Permaculture The Documentary

I’ve been contacted by Geoffrey and Craig Clitheroe to promote their upcoming film Permaculture The Documentary. In their article they introduce themselves, their work, and give us three sample videos which I’d like to share. I personally found the Permaculture Documentary : Jodie Venetti video incredibly inspiring, hope you enjoy these videos!

 

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Dogs Go Woof Productions is a documentary film company from Perth WA and was founded by twin Brothers Geoffrey and Craig Clitheroe.

They set to change the world through storytelling by challenging the way people think. After reading the book “The Myth Gap” by Alex Evans, Geoff and Craig realised there was an emotional disconnection between people and factual data from science. People can’t relate to science because it is filled with data, with no stories along with it. Craig and Geoff have decided to fill this gap by bringing together facts and emotion. Through storytelling in their documentary films, is their attempt to reconnect people to fact and dispel fiction.

Permaculture The Documentary is their first feature length film merging facts and stories together. The film’s theme centres around Climate Change and how we can as individuals make a difference and live sustainably. Unlike many environmental films, the documentary is designed to inspire people and provide tools that audiences can apply in their own lives.

Permaculture is an ecological design system about working with nature rather than against it. It uses science, systematic thinking and engineering to create more efficient, effective, balanced human settlements while respecting the surrounding environment’s limitations.

The film will be free to stream online. Geoff and Craig believe the message is what is important. “To really make a difference, the film needs to be available to everyone around the world without limitations of where or who it’s available to” said Geoff the Producer of the film.

Normally funds are raised through investors and distributors owning rights to its screenings. Instead Geoff and Craig plan on raising funds through donations and crowdfunding to produce the film so that it’s rights are not limited and available worldwide

You can support the film by following their Facebook page Permaculture: The Documentary https://www.facebook.com/permacultureDoco/ or visiting their website https://www.dogsgowoof.com.au/permaculture-documentary/

 

Permaculture Documentary : Jodie Venetti

https://youtu.be/B7c9SUotJ94

In the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia lies a Permaculture Food Forest grown by Jodie Venetti.

when Jodie discovered permaculture she became really excited about turning her backyard into a food forest. But she soon realised, growing food was one thing, having the time, using all the produce and working a full time job was another. Restricted by responsibility, she decided to throw herself into the challenge to live off her own home-grown garden for a year in a bid to bring her garden fully into her life.
What she gained, she couldn’t have even imagined in the beginning. This is her story.

 

Permaculture Documentary: Charles Otway

https://youtu.be/cWmpUjyXxVc

​Meet Charles Otway former Chemical Engineer and Permaculture Educator in Perth Western Australia.

Charles identifies the challenges with our economic system. From time in people’s lives becoming scarcer,  life becoming less and less diverse and trying to reach the unreachable in life. Discover how Permaculture has can give us another path to better the world’s future.

 

Permaculture Documentary: Craig Printing Company

https://youtu.be/Wur-LCT10Bw

As part of the journey to making Permaculture Documentary series, Craig & Geoff Clitheroe head out to find an eco-friendly printing for the documentary flyers and discovered The Environmental Printing Company.

Owner Craig Campbell tells his story of why they went environmental and what he hopes for the future.

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Gardening Calendar (Australian Temperate Climate) – August

It’s August, the weather is still cold and windy, but the end of winter is draws near, the days begin to grow noticeably longer and the change of season is not too far away.

This month is the last chance to complete the pruning of deciduous trees and shrubs, and for planting raspberries and brambleberries (such as blackberries and their hybrids).

It’s now time to sow the first summer vegetable seeds. Where there’s a danger of frost, sow seeds in trays and place them in a protected area such as a veranda, greenhouse, or indoors near a sunny window.

Towards the end of August, feed fruit trees with organic fertiliser, manure and compost. Also dig these into the soil when preparing new garden beds. The soil life will begin working on the organic plant food and will begin to slowly release its nutrients into the soil after a week or two, ready for the beginning of new spring growth in September. If fruit trees need a feed of potash, late autumn is also the time to do that too.

 

Things to Do This Month:

  • Continue planting deciduous trees, shrubs, vines and cane fruits (and roses!). Wait till spring for planting citrus.
  • Continue pruning deciduous fruit trees (not apricots, best to prune these in late autumn).
  • Continue pruning deciduous shrubs (and roses too if you didn’t prune them in July).
  • Prune dead seed-heads, stems and branches on herbaceous perennial plants.
  • Relocate any deciduous plants (trees, shrubs, vines) or herbaceous perennial plants growing in the wrong place in winter. (Evergreens can only be moved in autumn and early spring, where they have time to regrow roots – remember, they retain leaves in winter which transpire and lose water!).
  • Apply organic fertiliser to fruit trees, so that the slowly released nutrients will become available when the new growth commences in spring.
  • Spray peaches and nectarines to protect against leaf curl fungus. Use lime sulphur or a copper fungicide at the bud swell stage (just before the buds begin to open) but before pink bud stage or colour shows. It is too late to spray once flowering occurs.
  • Feed pot grown shrubs and plants and refresh their potting mix by scraping off the top 2.5cm and replace it with fresh potting mix which has been mixed with slow release fertiliser. Top dressing with compost is also beneficial.

 

Vegetables and Herbs to Sow:

Sow in August   Harvest (weeks)
Asparagus* d 2-3 years
Beetroot ds 7-10
Cabbage ds 8-15
Cape Gooseberry ds 14-16
Capsicum s 10-12
Chilli s 9-11
Eggplant s 12-15
Globe Artichokes s 42-57
Kohlrabi d 7-10
Leeks ds 15-18
Lettuce ds 8-12
Mint s 8-12
Mustard Greens d 5-8
Onion ds 25-34
Parsnip d 17-20
Peas d 9-11
Potato d 15-20
Radish d 5-7
Rocket d 21-35 days
Shallot bulbs d 12-15
Snow Peas d 12-14
Spring Onions d 8-12
Strawberries (seed) s 12 months
Sunflower ds 10-11
Thyme s 42-52
Tomato* ds 8-17
Watermelon* ds 9-14

Key:
d = sow directly into ground
s = sow in seed tray
ds = sow directly into ground or seed tray
*= frost tender
**= sow after frost

Download printable PDF version of Gardening Calendar (Australian Temperate Climate) – August

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Maximum Unsustainability – The Worst Ways to Ride Your Bike

Bike lane

Riding a bike is a sustainable, green, eco-friendly transport option, right? Well, “it’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it” as the old saying goes. If you want to know how to destroy the planet faster, undermine community spirit and generally be ‘part of the problem’ in all ways possible by riding your bike, then you’ll love this step-by-step guide!

Read the article I wrote for Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) on their website  – “Maximum Unsustainability – The Worst Ways to Ride Your Bike

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Winter Fruit Tree Pruning – Free Workshop

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Winter Fruit Tree Pruning

Free Workshop

Pruning fruit trees may be regarded as an art and a science, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it’s fairly easy! Learn how to prune your fruit trees in winter to keep them to a manageable size and maximize fruiting.

Angelo Eliades from Deep Green Permaculture will explain the basic rules of fruit tree pruning, demonstrate how it’s done, and cover winter fruit tree maintenance to reduce pests and diseases.

When: Tuesday 25th July, 7pm-8pm
Where: Nunawading Library, 379 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading
Bookings Essential:  www.winterfruittreepruning.eventbrite.com.au

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Gardening Calendar (Australian Temperate Climate) – July

It’s July, Midwinter has arrived! As all of Nature’s energies turn inwards, and life comes to a standstill, we finally have a chance to rest and reflect too. This month temperatures will hit their lowest for the year, rain will fall for half the month, and the windiest time of the year in Melbourne begins.

There are still a limited range of seeds to sow, and lots of opportunity for winter pruning, relocating deciduous plants and planting new ones!

Things to Do This Month:

  • Plant deciduous trees, shrubs, vines and cane fruits. Wait till spring for planting citrus.
  • Divide existing perennials and plant new perennials.
  • Protect plants that are not frost-hardy in frost-prone areas. Frost-tender plants in pots are more vulnerable as roots are above ground, wrap pots of plants with plastic bubble-wrap or hessian.
  • Install windbreaks, such as the plastic tree guard sleeves, around newly planted evergreens.
  • Prune deciduous fruit trees (not apricots, best to prune these in late autumn when the leaves start yellowing, during dry, preferably windy weather to prevent diseases entering the pruning cuts). To prune fruit trees, first cut away any dead or diseased wood, then cut away any branches growing inwards towards the centre or crossing other branches (to prevent rubbing and bark damage), and finally, prune tree to shape using the appropriate technique for that species.
  • Prune deciduous shrubs (and it’s rose pruning time in July too!)
  • Finish pruning grape vines and take hardwood cuttings from these for propagation.
  • Finish pruning currants and gooseberries and take hardwood cuttings from these for propagation.
  • Apply organic fertiliser to fruit trees at the end of July, so that the slowly released nutrients will become available when the new growth commences.
  • Spray peaches and nectarines to protect against leaf curl fungus. Use lime sulphur or a copper fungicide at the bud swell stage (just before the buds begin to open) but before pink bud stage or colour shows. It is too late to spray once flowering occurs.
  • If you use horticultural glue bands on tree trunk to prevent winter insects crawling up the tree to lay their eggs, now is the time to replace the glue bands with new ones.
  • Relocate any deciduous plants (trees, shrubs, vines) or herbaceous perennial plants growing in the wrong place in winter. (Evergreens can only be moved in autumn and early spring, where they have time to regrow roots – remember, they retain leaves in winter which transpire and lose water!).
  • Sow seeds from berry producing trees and shrubs. Stratification (exposure to cold) over winter will break seed dormancy.
  • Some perennials can be propagated from root cuttings, which can be taken through winter.
  • Continue propagation of hardwood cuttings which began in autumn – prune off 30cm long shoots of current season’s growth, cut off the soft growing tip, cut off the bottom end below a bud, and dip end into rooting hormone. Make a ‘slit trench’ by pushing a spade into soil and rocking it back and forth. In clay soil, add some coarse sand for drainage. Put cuttings in so 2/3 is below the soil, and press the soil down around them. Cuttings will root and be ready to plant next autumn.
  • Continue planting strawberry runners and shallot bulbs.

 

Vegetables and Herbs to Sow:

Sow in July   Harvest (weeks)
Beetroot ds 7-10
Lettuce ds 8-12
Mustard greens d 5-8
Onion ds 25-34
Peas d 9-11
Radish d 5-7
Shallots d 12-15
Snow Peas d 12-14
Strawberry runners d 11
Strawberries (seed) s 12 months

Key:
d = sow directly into ground
s = sow in seed tray
ds = sow directly into ground or seed tray

Download printable PDF version of Gardening Calendar (Australian Temperate Climate) – July

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Technological Utopianism – Why bad ideas cause very real environmental problems

Technology in the hands

Is science going to solve all the world’s problems? Can we continue engaging in practices which cause environmental damage and disregard our impact on the planet because ‘one day in the future’, through our technological brilliance, someone else will be able to fix it and all other problems? This is what the ideology of Technological Utopianism proposes, and it’s a more commonly held belief than many people would imagine. What do you think?

Read the article I wrote for Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) on their website  – Technological Utopianism – Why bad ideas cause very real environmental problems

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