Eco-Hemp Tea Towel Range

The Lilliane Wilde range of Eco Hemp Tea Towels are now available at Gumboots – The Farmgate in the Village (Yarragon). Gumboots offers a range of Gippsland produce and products in the one stop as you pass through Yarragon.

The Lilliane Wilde range include 100% Hemp and 50/50 Hemp Cotton Tea Towels. Hemp is a naturally anti-bacterial fabric. You will find that these tea towels improve with age and will last a life time. You may wish to wash your tea towel before use. You will find that with washing and ironing the fabric will soften. It is a highly absorbent fibre and an extremely eco friendly crop to grow due to the speed at which Hemp grows and the lack of pesticides needed due to its speedy growth rate.

Discover more gorgeous local produce available next time you pass through Yarragon at the Gumboots website.


Raised Vegetable Garden for Renters

Gardening for renters can be a fruitful experience with a little planning and some open discussion with your agent. With a series of heat waves and all of my transplanted plants already showing the stress of being uprooted I was looking for an alternative to slowly dying pot plants. When I constructed this raised veggie bed I began to realise the cost of filling it with enough quality compost was going to out way the benefits of growing my own greens. So by interplanting established pot plants within the veggie bed, I have not only cut back on the amount of soil needed, but also provided some shade for my soon to arrive seedlings and provided the pots with some insulation from evaporation. It also means year round green and diversity for me to look out at while admiring my veggies. Here are the steps I took:


Step 1: Begin to collect lawn clippings.

Keep half of them in sealed garbage bags with several holes in the bottom, this will break down quickly; keep the other half unsealed to dry for more bulk. Mix both piles with animal manure to balance the PH levels. Hose this layer down thoroughly.



Step 2:

Once the grass clippings reach half way up the veggie bed place the bags of compost where you will be planting your seedings or seeds. Then place your potter plants around them keeping in mind shade lines and companion planting techniques. Hose this layer down



Step 3:

Pile sugar cane mulch or lucern around the boundaries of the soil, walling them in and insulating the edges. Then empty the compost into the holes formed. To this compost add organic fertilisers and wetting agents (coffee grinds are a great alternative to the manufactured varieties). Hose thoroughly and get planting!!!


Hemp Fabric

Why Hemp

The choice of Hemp and Hemp/Cotton blends for the Lilliane Wilde tea towel range was both practical (it is a top quality, anti-bacterial, hardy fabric) and ethical (Hemp plants can be grown quickly, without the need for pesticides and without the need for as much water as cotton alone). The use of Hemp for Industry is second to none! This was shared by a friend over lunch one day and had everyone converted in minutes! I hope it does the same for you

Grafting Wtih Graeme George

Graeme George is a National Treasure. His wealth of knowledge is like non other that I have crossed, not am likely to ever come across this life time. We were lucky enough to have him for an afternoon of grafting at the Ballarat Observatory in August. The heritage conservation of fruit trees through grafting is something that I came across at the Toora Heritage Pear Orchid and so it was lovely to have this experience re-enforced during this weekend workshop. Withing the process of harvesting heritage species the importance of good record keeping is essential – and while labeling your stock and cyam is the obvious first step – keeping an electronic record is probably more critical. Which reminds me to photograph and blog what I grafted and planted!

Farm Stay at David Arnold’s Murnong Permaculture Property

The All Season’s Permaculture course has moved into Spring and we celebrated with a Farm Stay at David Arnold’s place Murnong, at Violet Town. Having now visited several Permaculture properties, what struck me about David’s design was its clear Zones and forward thinking. Consideration to succession planning was not obvious at first, but after spending the day walking the land with David, the complexity of his design became more evident. He had made use of Peter Andrew’s leaky wear system to create a miniature delta flood plain (while the drought is over), with nearby town run off, that runs through his property, much the same as at David Holmgren’s place at Hepburn Springs. Two elements of David Arnold’s property got me really excited – the first being the emphasis on Agroforestry and the second his approach to grass or paddock spaces as microforests also to be managed through seasonal “pulsing”. David’s consideration of tree species for optimum yield – for both fruit and timbre has developed over years of working with re-forestation projects and also through the simple method of trial and error. This is an area which has scope beyond what we could cover over the weekend and hopefully down the track an agrofrestry course may follow this PDC! At first glance of David’s design, there appeared to be a lack of layering as is seen in the common design of food forests. However, as David spoke about the spacing of his orchard species, in relation to rain fall and soil type the picture above the surface of the soil began to make more sense. This is a farm which is harvesting soil life and plant complexity in all forms. What appears to be grass is in fact a microforest of species for trapping and ultimately recycling micro-organisms and nutrients into the orchid and farm system as a whole. What is critical for this element of the system to work is timing the cutting of the grasses, allowing for enough growth to harvest the full potential of the plant life both above and below the ground. I admire David’s ability to “Accept Feedback” and relate the land as a teacher.

Retrofitting the Burbs

I had the chance today to sit in on David Holmgren’s Retrofitting the Suburbs for Sustainability at The Wheeler Centre.

It was very timely. Getting into work – a colleague spoke about how crazy the amount of time it took him to commute into the City given that he lived just North/West of the CBD. We had both experienced not being able to board 2 trains/trams simply because we couldn’t fit in!!

As I took the tram up Swanston St and compared the volume of foot traffic to when I was studying in the city 10 years ago … it feels as though it has doubled.

With what David describes as our Energy Descent Future and the subsequent reduced mobility of people and goods – moving either closer to the city or re-locating to a job closer to home is already looking like an appealing option.

At the moment riding my bike is an option – but even along Swanston St – with the new MEGA Tram Stops (no more Trams actually servicing these stops) the bike riders are currently battling with pedestrians and tram, so bridging the South Side of Melbourne has become ever more of a challenge for our warriors on 2 wheels.

But above the doom and gloom David’s talk was humorous and engaging. I live in a street very much like the one he described in his talk on ‘Aussie St’ – a neighbourhood of four houses battling to come to terms with a failing economy and energy crisis. What rang true for me out of this talk – was how much richer in community we can potentially become. Choosing your neighbours wisely in this scenario was critical. I see the ‘incremental adaption’ that David described already emerging. I run a small business – using recycled material – not only because I love the vintage look – but because having worked for a multi-national fabric company – I know the extent of price exploitation on imported fabrics. I am also aware of the social and environmental impact fabric manufacturing has on our Asian neighbours – where most imported fabrics are sourced. I see the increments becoming leaps and bounds before we know it. Its not only a rather confronting time to be alive – but if you are willing to move out of old habits – its a really very exciting time – to watch and see – can our innovation overcome our fears.

The easiest Compost Pile Technique

I saw this technique on gardening Australia.

Two stakes – either side, and alternate dry / wet piled high. I supported the pile by putting a narrow baboo stake through the centre.

I added thistle and comfrey to assist the break down.

Lets see… time will tell!

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About three weeks ago I was weeding around the plum tree and thought what a shame that the Cabbages I had planted beneath had bolted. My efficient-self was eager to pull them out and add them to the compost bin. Another quiter-self said, not now. Lucky they didn’t get the yank… as I got a fabulous fright to see two big white Cauliflower faces smiling up at me – seemingly sprouting over night.

I harvested them today and not a bug in sight!

Curried Cauliflower for dinner!

Linda Eldredge on Radio National

Today while listening to the bush Telegraph on Radio National – Linda Eldredge’s description of working the land while referencing her apps via her iphone and making the paddock her office got the host and in turn myself very excited.

Although determined not to be online 24/7 and therefore holding off the temptations from my phone company to sign up for an iphone, this interview conjured in me some practical uses for Permaculture Design.

For example. Being able to assess a remote property – anywhere on the globe in fact and reporting back a Permculutre design with the aid of video footage.

Also an accurate assessment of lay of the land, climate patterns and topography, while walking the land with a client.

I think it is early days – this interview will provide some inspiration for those (like myself) who are tech wary!

From the kitchen table to the tablet, Nuffield scholar researches real-time technology – Bush Telegraph – ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)