1. this is fantastic…really enjoying reading your site. .i know baobabs from africa but had no idea you could grow them in Aus. i want one! but it sounds like it could end up the actual size of my pitiful garden lol. 🙂

  2. You keep a plastic bag hanging over it and put it on a tray of wet newspaper.. then every morning and evening you spritz it with fresh clean water. Not straight out of the tap as that has chlorine, just let it sit for a while to outgas.

  3. Also note – Pink Siris are unbelievably tough. Viciously attacked by mealybugs, growing tips nipped off by rabbits or wallabies, mostly neglected over a not very wet winter and a large part of a rather dry summer – and they’re thriving. new baby green leaves coming out on _all_ the seedlings we planted. These trees are win.

  4. For anyone who, looking at the design diagram, doesn’t understand it – the little round circles running in lines across the in-ground beds are stepping stones so we can avoid walking on the garden beds themselves.

    I also forgot to mention that this design is intended to work in a 6 year rotation for the raised beds. At the end of each growing season we’ll put a (custom built trapezoidal) chicken tractor onto the raised bed and let our chooks scratch the remaining vegetable matter, bugs, and weed seeds out and fertilise the ground with their poo, ready for the next growing season.

  5. PS – if anyone (in Perth) wants some sourdough starter, kefir grains or water kefir grains, let me know. 🙂

  6. whoah this blog is magnificent i love studying your articles.
    Keep up the good work! You already know, many persons are looking around for this info, you
    can help them greatly.

  7. It worked pretty well actually. Still need to get the mix exactly right. We lack much clay in our soil here. However even as a method to create initial loose balls to finish manually it’s an amazing time saver!

  8. We’ll be making one of these this spring. I wonder how yours steers. 😉 Excellent work and thanks for sharing. How ’bout some pictures of the green rewards of your ingenuity!

    Is there any issue with slippage? Since the barrel and the drive are not attached to the same frame? One thing I would like is to configure the machine so that it can be operated by one person.

    What are your observations on the rotational rate of the barrel? Some other bike/seed-ball tumblers use the sprocket around the pedals rather than the wheel to turn the barrel, which would provide a very different effect.

  9. We find the rotation to be pretty good.. it’s a nice slow roll. Makes good clumping so far. We were thinking it would slip lots at first but even with a large amount of dirt in the barrel it continues to turn fine. The cord we’re using from the wheel to the barrel is slightly elastic so when we pull it tight it has a bit of give. We found this is totally adequate to provide the grip needed to keep it going. If you REALLY peddle hard suddenly it will rotate without turning the barrel for one spin but a nice steady pedal and it’s all go.

  10. Thanks for the detailed follow up. Very useful information! Good to hear it works so well for you. Makes me feel encouraged that we’ll meet our mechanization needs witj success!

  11. Love this. :3 Hope you guys are having a beautiful weekend. Is the electrical storm view good from where you are?

  12. The view was pretty good, but we were out at a movie night for most of the evening so by the time we got home it was almost over. 🙂 The whole place smelled of petrichor though, it was lovely.

  13. I follow your blog and love it. I wait with anticipation for every installment. My partners family has a block of land where we do a little bit of growing and gardening according to permaculture principles. We share some more of your interests :). But returning to the main topic – “The Summer is Coming” and the fire season is upon as again. There are ways to make your area safer for the animals and to have a better chance to save your home. I think “Grass Roots” had a few good articles last year. Some deciduous plants act like fire retardants and they are worth planting. Having firebreaks and automatic sprinklers/rainwater discharge points for difficult areas is good if you get an early warning. Also good to have a fire-fighting ute with an ibc full of water to sprinkle your firebreaks. We don’t have one but our neighbors have it and in the case of fire whoever is around will spread some water around before escaping. You are great at reading up and collating information for others. I am sure you’ll come up with a good fire plan and a setup that is safer for animals. Then you just open the taps, set the sprinklers, grab your beautiful cats and run away…

  14. Thanks! 🙂

    We definitely have plans for fire-proofing (as far as possible) our place – we just don’t have them in yet. Once we have all our water tanks in we’ll have a lot more options.

    We’re planting shelter belts of fire retardant trees and shrubs around the house, and also around the perimeter of the property. We’re going to put a sprinkler system in to throw water on our roof to keep embers form lighting fire if they do blow in, and the roof is steel anyway so that’s a relatively low risk. We might look into a similar thing for the animal shelters, chicken coop etc. And an IBC on the back of a small and very mobile vehicle is a great plan – our neighbour has a similar thing, to run about and put out spot fires.

    We’re also thinking about putting in a fire bunker. Not so much for us (although as a last resort, that too) but for our less movable animals, once we get them, and our documents and electronics.

    Give me a few weeks to read up on all the options and I might put a post together on what people could and should do to prepare for and minimise their risks during the fire season.

  15. That’s great! I’ll be looking forward to reading about it 🙂 We are a few steps behind you (not in the creepy sense though – just trying to establish a permaculture garden in a place where we can only go about 2 times a week) and we are appreciating the knowledge you are sharing. Thank you.

  16. I think all of the wattle have germinated, and most have got their first true leaves already! And about half of the poincianas so far are at seed leaf stage. None of the honey locust or jacarandas have come up yet, but they can take a bit longer.

  17. I’m enjoying your posts and wasn’t expecting to be reading such rural topics during #blogjune. We found lawn mower catchers (sourced from the dump) made excellent nesting boxes.

  18. We had planned to use standard timber doors, as purchased form a hardware store – but it turns out that standard doors are not 900mm wide, even thought standard doorways are (the doorways allow for doorframe etc.) so we’ll have to construct custom doors. That’s not so hard though, since they’re internal doors. A bit of carpentry. I’ll post about them when we’re done.

  19. I’ve had a few more trees suggested to me (via Facebook) – figs, quandong (Santalum acuminatum), and the Illawarra plum (Podocarpus elatus). All good thoughts.

  20. I’d be interested to know how easy (or not) it is to milk the various animals and what their production rate is compared to cows. A taste-test would certainly be interesting, but I only know of a possible goat milk source – not any of the others.

  21. Some stats for you:

    Dairy breed cow (Jersey): approx 6 – 25 L /day (5% butterfat)
    Dual purpose breed cow (Highland): 2 – 12 L/day (8 – 10% butterfat)
    Meat breed cow (Dexter): 4 – 10 L/day (4 – 6% butterfat)
    Dairy breed goat (Saanen): approx 6 L/day (2 – 4% butterfat)
    Dairy breed goat (Anglo-Nubian): approx 4 L/day (4 – 5% butterfat)
    Dairy breed goat (Nigerian Dwarf): 0.5 – 3 L/day (6 – 10% butterfat)
    Dairy breed sheep (Awassi or East Friesian): approx 0.5 – 2 L/day (6 – 8% butterfat)

    Butterfat percentage is useful for making cheese and yoghurt. Commercial ‘half and half’ (or half regular full cream milk and half cream) is about the same consistency as 10% butterfat milk.

  22. Cows and goats can be hand-milked or machine-milked without much trouble. Sheep are more skittish, and are apparently quite difficult to milk because if they get a fright the adrenalin stops the milk flow. This is sometimes managed with oxytocin injections, sometimes with more handling so the sheep are tamer and less frightened by the milking process.

    Within the machine-milking category there are small scale hand powered or battery powered machines and large commercial machines. The commercial machines for cows, goats and sheep are different, but some of the small-scale machines are multi-species or can have different milking attachments for the one machine to allow for milking more than one species. Small scale machines (like the ones we’d be looking at) cost around $80 – $150 US on ebay.

  23. Turns out baby quail have a high mortality rate. We hatched 13 chicks from 16 eggs, and just over a week later we have 3 surviving. The babies get dehydrated very easily, take 2 – 3 days to learn how to eat, and aren’t smart enough to g back to the heat lamp when they get cold. On the bright side, the 3 survivors are clearly both the toughest and the smartest of the bunch.

  24. Taste test completed, using Meredith Dairy plain (unsweetened) sheeps milk and goats milk yoghurt. Results are in. For me, cows milk yoghurt wins.

    The goats milk yoghurt was slightly sourer than the standard cows milk yoghurt I’m used to, but quite edible. No musky, ‘goaty’ flavour, and it was quite nice. I prefer the cows milk yoghurt I usually eat, but that’s more a texture thing – my favourite plain yoghurt includes Lactobacillus bulgaricus, so it has a creamier, less ‘grainy’ texture than most pot-set yoghurts.

    The sheeps milk yoghurt was odd. It tasted like.. yoghurt made from cream. There was no odd flavour, no unusual sourness, it was just super rich. And yet.. I didn’t like it at all. I think maybe it was just too rich for me. I honestly can’t say why I didn’t care for it, but I really didn’t. Unexpected.

  25. Hi,

    I’ve been selling heritage (heirloom) vegetable seeds in the U.S. for twelve years , have spent several years urging a my seed friends in Oz to get involved, but they did not see the merit.

    Well, YOU have!

    If there are seeds you cannot get, please let me know. I’m well acquainted with AQIS, ship everything according to their regulations, and own, or have access to many strains. If you need anything, please let me know. Time has come for me to change directions, as scoundrels, frauds, and the Chinese are destroying the market here (plus I have nothing more to say about tomatoes after a decade.)

    I may come back to you for some bush tucker in the future. The brilliant U.S.A. has yet to discover Permaculture, but they’re on the verge.

    In any case, If you need something I have, let me know. If you need something tracked down, let me know. I’m at your disposal.

    Mia Myers
    aging heirloom seed vendor
    1 909 576-6206

  26. The curds worked really well, and the topping was equally amazing. Much appreciation from everyone. The mead was also actually really lovely, even though it had only been fermenting for 2 days, and the flavours of the apple and honey came through really well.

    The other dishes brought for the feast included: barley & vegetable soup with rye & oat bread, lamb skause (a meat and vegetable soup similar to cassoulet), roast pork with spiced apples, smoked mackerel with braised fennel, roast leg of lamb with honey roasted carrots, baked apples, and a cheese tart (which was savoury rather than sweet, made primarily of brie, cream, and butter, and tasting a bit like a very rich quiche). All were delicious. I particularly liked the braised fennel, and the skause.

  27. Irrigation is a must-have when trying to establish a food forest in our climate, make sure you do the calculations for head height and psi at the outlets when figuring out where to put the tank. Many people are surprised at how high the tank needs to be above the drippers to get a reasonable out put.

    Also if you want another bee colony for your empty warre hive I have a wild colony in a hollow tree in Bullsbrook and I am happy to teach you how to do a trap out?

    Get in contact if you are interested.

  28. Yea, the apples are feeding off one of our “small” tanks which is 22,000 litres. And it’s feeding very well. The IBC fed beds will be a bit more work around height calculations but I’ve had some good help from an irrigation expert. 🙂 So far it’s so good… The actual challange has actually been getting some IBC’s at a reasonable price and actually delivered to the property. I just don’t have the time and resources at the moment with working full time to go seek some out and haul them. As always time is the limiting factor. 🙂

  29. Hi, I’ve been looking at your blog and trying to see a way to contact you but this is the only way I can see. We are starting up a permaculture farm in the Southwest (I say starting up, it’s been 3 years… I still feel like we’re starting up!). I was reading your post about starter trees and would love to get in contact with you to compare notes/seed swap etc. We’ve also found acacias to be excellent pioneers but I’m particularly interested where you source honey locust seed. Anyways, please email me if you have time/don’t think that I’m a troll (I’m not! I came across your blog looking for info about geese and saw that most of your posts were about stuff of interest to me).

  30. I’m so sorry it’s taken so long to reply – I literally didn’t see the comment. We do have a facebook page, which is probably an easier way to get in contact with us, but I should have seen this earlier.

    Honey Locust seed I actually just collect from street trees around Perth 🙂 I’ve also had really good luck germinating jacarandas from seed collected that way.

  31. Wow this is awesome, I am going to try this one out soon. Thank you for the time and effort of putting this wonderful information together and posting it for us to use; just excellent.

  32. Hello Mr. Deej. Are you still active on this site? I came across this article you posted several years ago and was curious about your research into the intersection of olive agroforestry and livestock, specifically cattle.


    If you have good information on this subject, I’d be happy to pay you for a short call over zoom or skype. I’m living in Portugal and looking to get into regenerative livestock grazing, and there are millions (its seems) of hectares of olive grove pastures here

  33. hi – sorry for the delayed reply, I forgot that I had comments set to moderated. I have some research papers, but no one seems to be looking into agroforestry grazing systems, the focus is all on intercropping. Generally speaking, the trees help the pasture do well, which is a benefit to grazing animals, but cattle especially will damage young trees just by rubbing on them. If you have mature olive trees, though, I think there’s definite potential.

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