Friday, April 29, 2011

From the home garden out – a survey as mindmap

Today I surveyed all the plants that feed and fuel us in our garden; that allow us to continue our four year boycott of supermarkets. I then made a drawing showing our household economy-ecology, extending out into the community and the commons.

Click for bigger.

This map demonstrates why the war on weeds is so antithetical to everything in the world, except of course to corporate profits.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Our recent SWAP cuts the ribbon on the SOI

Joel FitzGerald, with a capital 'G', came and stayed as the inaugural SWAP (social warming artists and permies) in the Shed of Interrelation.

The SoI is made largely from reclaimed, upcycled materials and is a small garden room built to host friends, peers, poets and artists to come and stay, contribute to our/their food and energy needs by working within our relocalising systems.

Joel brought with him valuable composting knowledge which has been keenly taken on and practiced since. One of his jobs in Sydney is working for councils, fixing methaney composts. Before his stay our composts would cook at a slow 35-40 degrees celsius. Now they're baking at about 60 degrees, fast tracking much needed fertile soil building. He also set a slower compost, collecting a pharmacopeia of barks and wild plants based on a biodynamic recipe. This will be an enhanced compost ready for the spring, he told me, as we set out to forage for the materials to build it.

Collecting bark (above) and plantain (below) for the compost.

We collected mushrooms, stinging nettle, chicken and horse manures to make a tea so as to mist each of the layers as we stacked green and brown materials (nitrogen and carbon) simultaneously. The misting with both the tea and rain water create an even moisture throughout the compost which help generate humidity.

Two important things I learned about composting from Joel was keeping the pile small, so as to concentrate the heat, and the fine misting to help generate the humidity. These two things alone seem to account for the temperature hikes I can now get in my composts.

At the end of the build we bulked up the last layer of straw,

before putting the pile to bed for the winter.

Last weekend Joel returned with his girlfriend, Emma, and the SoI's cherry was well and truly popped.