autumn, explore growing

Looking forward

You also need to look back, see where you’ve come from to make sense of the forward journey. So on my way back from the market garden,heading south  this is what I check out…..

Feels a little like structured chaos.IMG_0795.jpg

As of a few days ago, when I pause for a cuppa, looking north is a whole new adventure…..


That ply sheeting (which thankfully was sealed before the rain came) is the base layer for a whole new ecosystem. A roof to grow which if the engineering and the headspace required are anything to go by, is going to be absolutely incredible. Amongst the treasures going up, 50 m2 of no dig garden beds. An increase of 10% on the market garden ON THE ROOF.

Right now it feels like a helicopter will land any moment.

As I look up the hill and see little no dig beds, seedlings, figs trees huddling together, I have to think of far the garden has grown instead of how much work there still lies ahead. Such a humble start –  a dozen pots hugging a northern wall 6 years ago and enough grass slashed to make a human sized nest for the whole family.

At least the roof top is clear and tidy.

collaboration, community

The next step

Building is one of those biggies. We may want to extend family space, create additional space, make our backyard more multi functional or all of the above.

But what a lot of us non builders don’t realise is, when you say ‘let’s build an independent turf roof covered studio’ it’s not NEARLY that easy. If only.

Once you’ve committed to a big fat hole in the ground (100t of soil excavated), then the questions really start. What are the most environmentally sensitive materials we can use that fit our location, need, budget, accessibitly, council standards,  minimal impact. So – not easy and far far far away from simple.

You may be in a flood prone area. Or bushfire prone region. Or both at the same time. Maybe there are privacy issues for your neighbours. Maybe to make your structure meet regulations, your shopping list may be limited.


the next step (building ocnstruction).jpg

BUT – there is a world of wonder and connectivity. You may end up meeting some of the more remarkable people you wouldn’t normally cross paths with. When you’re genuine and treat people like extended family, they give back. A volunteer does 6 hours of working with hardwood above head height, does the dishes and then another 2 hours because they can see how much of a passion project it is. And they’re still smiling.

The food is good at our house, but not that good! All the professionals we’ve had round have been are absolute treasures. incredible stories being woven into the fabric of this building snugged into a north facing hill.

So captured here is the independent stairs, edged in wax wood (rather than any other toxic compound) back filled with gravel for drainage. That massive concrete wall to the right – a water tank doing double time a retaining wall, being on the southern side of the build will stay lovely and cool. Sandstone retaining wall, predominantly from our backyard. Labour of love is an understatement.

Putting the icing on this cake are our glorious neighbours, because without their blessing and driveway, there is no chance of realising this dream. I think we’ll have to create a tribute wall to every single peep involved with the process, as it just goes to show what collaboration can do.

community, everyday, explore growing

Oh hello, New Year !

We’ve slid into the summery bliss of 2018 with heat, humidity, cucumbers and zucchinis.

We harvested just before Christmas, our two colonies have been busy indeed. For this they have our gratitude.


There’s been time for reflections and daydreams, making time to water before the garden turns into a crisp, making time for family, reading, reading some more, the occasional nap and feeling revitalized for the adventures ahead.

Growing your own food can be incredibly rewarding. Knowing people love what you do, are on the same values page and continue to support you with their hard earned dollars is humbling and great encouragement you’re on the right path.

I read a fair bit. More and more so about food politics, how to grow stuff, how trees talk, the interconnection of everything and how we’ve got a lot to learn about so much. Seems small scale urban agriculture can play a massive role in establishing food security, reconnecting neighbourhoods with real nutritional food and give people a sense of place.

There’s a lot that could be perceived as overwhelming. There’s also a lot to be optimistic about.  I’ve chosen just to start / continue)where I am with what I’ve got and learn from my environment. Small steps in my own backyard.

My word of the year is EDUCATION. The more we’re curious, we ask questions. We feel empowered to try new stuff and and know it’s a learning curve. More fun than standing still.


This is the foundation of what one day will be our demonstration site. Turf roof covered, north facing, super snug studio. Volunteers are helping us get this out of the ground – energy exchanges make a rich currency around here.

So our focus is educating ourselves, sharing knowledge (volunteering is a great way to see/ experience/ contribute/ learn at large without spending a cent), growing, eating and sharing beautiful produce and regularly taking time to appreciate where we are.

Join us on the ride.

community, observe, spring

Makes me smile

It’s all the little things.

These are in no particular order…..

When someone doing great work is happy to share their experiences with you (thanks to super mentor market gardeners Cal at Green Connect & Lizzie of Piccolo Farm ), when you go into a volunteer in a school garden with a loose plan – you end up with 48 students instead of the regular 24 and everyone has a great time – including the volunteer. (Also stoked with our newly arrived veg garden mascot – miraculously ‘appreared’ one day)

When your remarkable partner helps solve your irrigation issues because he understands you can’t be good at all the stuff all the time and brings home a second hand tank still smiling himself after a very long day, ’cause he knows how important it is to you. (And hooks it up the following day)

It makes me smile when you receive an email showing interest in your enterprise, to find out someone you admire in business has recommended you. (Thank you Ciara at Earthwalker & Co !)

Having enough time and space to share around with the neighbours. (working out where our neighbour will plant chillis and corn this summer)

Being curious enough and brave enough to ask people questions and their opinions when you don’t have the answers yourself.

Variety outside. Being outside. And being barefoot outside. Simple and effective.

Seeing kids impressed and fascinated by checking out the school garden compost worms without squealing.

Having so many ideas you don’t know which way to look, so you just start and it starts working out.

The generosity of people, wanting to be involved and offering their time. (Spring into Action volutneers – you all rock !)


So much goodness – it’s all that interconnectedness, collaboration not competition, that keeps our world spinning. Enjoy.

biodiversity in the garden, explore growing, produce, salad days

Salad days

Last day of winter, and there’s markers of the seasonal change all around.last day of winter

Brassicas (broccoli here) flower merrily, days are longer minute by minute, grass is growing a little quicker. Rainbow colours planted to stir fry, salads in next level for diversity, grab & go meals, shallots for skinny places….

The tip of this garden gets the most sun, so quick greens were planted. As days grow longer, the other planting will catch up. It’s all a bit of a dance, weaving time, space, light and flavours.

Have you ever tried broccoli leaves ? They were my go to green last night – cut the stem out, chop & pan fry – remarkably yummo !

Going for garden domination on the right there is our beloved rhubarb. Originally divided from the school garden, this one can have it’s roots traces back at least 35 years.

The possibility of small spaces requires a firstly a little imagination and observation – good strong starting blocks. What do you want to pop into your salad bowl ? What can you start from seed ? What do you let flower ? Can you eat the flower and which ones do the bees love ? What to snack on as you check the pulse of the outdoors ?

Time to explore and have fun.

produce, Uncategorized

Diversity on the dinner plate

In this day and age many rush, rush, rush and stick with the familiar. Apparently approximately 100 plants supply 90 % of our diets ! So when harvesting for a customer, I was mindful to make sure they had a decent cross section of what’s currently available in our seasonal garden. Produce from 15 plants at a quick glance, and all (bar one) you could eat raw. (Edamame are bested boiled/ steamed for 5 minutes before popping the beans out of their pods and into the mouth).

Herbs are a wonderful way of enhancing a meal, bringing seasonality to the fore. Basil all through summer (you can freeze your surplus pesto), chilli for waking up the tastebuds. A combo lettuce and herby salad only needs the lightest of vinaigrettes so the flavours are not swamped. And texture ! Give your mouth a party and wake up those tastebuds.

Don’t forget the ‘marginal’. Once you’ve juiced your fruit, zest that lime. You can add the nutritious and flavoursome slivers of the outer to sauces, meals or dehydrated and used with a sugar or salt. Watermelon rind can be pickled and enjoyed in the next round of salads once the fruit has long ago been gobbled up.

Make sure you make the most of your chemical free produce and be inspired by variety.IMG_8832.jpg