Permibytes October 2011


Presidents Report

Hi PSN members and friends!
PSN has a strong and active membership and we are leading the way in running permaculture events throughout our region. We are seeing a huge surge of community interest in permaculture and self sufficiency, and it's important that our organisation continues to renew and build on its successes. If you care about making a difference, we are looking for new leaders and skilled people. Volunteering in PSN is also a great way to learn practical skills in organising and community development, and a fun way to build learn on the job in a supportive community environment.
For those of you who missed it, our September meeting in Lindfield was a full house, with those who came to see Munir and Mittul Vahanvati present bamboo construction designs from all around the world. It is so inspiring to see the beautiful shapes that can be made out of natural materials. Details for this month's meeting will be posted on our website shortly

This month we are looking to start training a new person to take on the membership secretary's role at the end of the year. If you enjoy meeting people and have a reasonable grasp of spreadsheets or databases, please contact me to discuss the role.

Lastly, spring has sprung and it's a great time to get some ideas for your own garden through some great upcoming events, such as the PSN Tour and the Introduction to Permaculture course. Please check out the website for more details. Have a great month, and we hope to see you at our meeting on the 17th.

Lane Cove Local Group - Mandy Stubbs

Our gardens are all waking up to another glorious Spring. The community garden fund-raising stall at Hunter’s Hill Public School in September enjoyed a hot and sunny day. Lots of organic vegetable and herb seedlings sold and an impressive stall set up by Wendy from our community garden, and the team.
The community garden is also coming into its own, with new members and much work going on with everyone planting and composting. Jo and Roman are making a huge chook house and run. Then Jo will focus on the balcony garden project structure to go in front of the gorgeous Permavan. Planting is going on in pots, baskets and containers and it is already starting to look a bit like a productive balcony. Most of the plants have cost nothing or next to it, and the majority of containers have been found or donated.
Last week, I found a big, starving cumquat tree beside the road, kicked out of its pot and doomed to the green waste. It was rescued for the community garden balcony project and put into a bin to soak in seaweed solution. After about four days, tiny buds appeared. Meanwhile, Jo had found a lovely ceramic pot in which it perfectly fitted. He also donated some compost from his chook yard to go into it. It was watered in with rain water from our tank and direct from the sky. Thinking how blessed we were I walked my dog. In someone’s rubbish pile was an unopened bag of citrus food! The universe has provided once again.
In October, we have our annual fund-raising stall at Sustainability Lane. Come along and support us (Permaculture and Permapatch) at this wonderful green event in Lane Cove on Sunday the 9th. We will be selling cute painted kid’s chairs, organic herb and veg seedlings, powdered lemon myrtle, lemon butter, marmalade, hessian sacks etc and raffling a ‘found’ juicer. Lane Cove group members – please come and work on the stall for an hour or so – you don’t need to know anything or anybody (though you soon will) - great fun, lots of community interest and as always – coffee and CAKE!

Pittwater Warringah Manly Local Group - Chris Pothof

In August Norm Webb from NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association gave a presentation on Backyard Beekeeping to our local group. Interest was so great that we decided to run a more intensive workshop about keeping bees in September. Daniela from our group had since been to a Beekeepers meeting and lined up a hive so her backyard was the perfect venue for a hands on workshop.

The workshop was attended by about 15 PSN members who learned from Norm and Dave Wilson (NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association Secretary) all they need to know about starting up their own hive. From purchasing of hives and equipment to wiring new frames, diseases and pests, locating hives, extracting honey and much much more.

Dave and Norm then opened up Daniela’s hive and gave us a guided tour of the hive. We were also lucky to be joined by Jean-Claude Ferrier who is a Northern Beaches local, PSN member and long time beekeeper. Jean-Claude has a great wealth of knowledge and has offered to assist with our enquiries going forward.

As a result of this workshop and interest shown by everyone it looks like it will be possible for a new branch of the NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association to be started on the Northern Beaches. Given Parramatta is the nearest branch this is great news for locals. The advantage of a localised branch is that equipment, knowledge, workload etc can be shared by the group, very much the Permaculture way! We are also hoping to start up a hive to be shared and worked by a group so that we can all learn together before diving in individually.

I would like to say a special thank you to Norm and Dave for all their time and effort given to us free of charge, Jean-Claude for also sharing his knowledge and offer of assistance going forward and Daniela for hosting the workshop.



Ku-ring-gai Local Group & North Sydney Local Group - Manly Food Cooperative Tour & Beach Picnic - 8 October
Libby and Diana have come up with some fantastic ideas for our next two local group meetings with the Christmas silly season in mind. Our next meeting on October 8th we will be teaming up Peter Pezzolesi & the North Sydney Group at the Manly Food Cooperative www.manlyfoodcoop.org for a tour & Christmas shopping spree.
The ever-effervescent Peter Pezzolesi will be heading up the brains trust for the day with a wealth of answers; tips & suggestions to any question you can dream up so make the most of it. As we will be buying foodstuffs free of packaging we will need to bring along our own containers (preferably reusable jars, bottles & bags), so don’t forget! After Keelah has given us the tour of the co-op and we have got our supplies we will head off for Manly beach so if everyone can bring something to share for a beach picnic that would be fantastic.
To round off the day we will stop off at Nu Leaf Nursery at Elanora on the way home, the only nursery I know of that sells live stock, so if you’re in the market for chickens or rabbits bring a box as well... .



Pittwater Warringah Manly Local Group Meeting 27th October - Creating Backyard Habitats With Martyn Robinson - Naturalist, Australian Museum

Martyn Robinson has worked at the Australian Museum for over 30 years, in 12 different departments including exhibitions, education, and science. He has a broad interest in natural history and has been involved in writing articles, books, media information, and delivering public talks.

Martyn will be discussing how to attract and encourage beneficial animals to your backyard and how to minimise damage from others. Got a pool? Martyn can tell you how to make it wildlife safe OR how you could convert it into wildlife habitat. Want to install a frog pond? Martyn can show you how.

No need to book - just show up! Bring along your questions and any fauna you would like identified (please place different species in separate well ventilated containers).
7:00 PM Lakeview Room, Tramshed Arts and Community Centre 1395A Pittwater Road, Narrabeen

PSN Education Team - Diana Watson

Gardening with Permaculture Course – is this what you are looking for? This 4 day course over two weekends (Oct 22, 23, 29, 30) is our last course of the year. Do not let the title “Introduction to Permaculture” put you off as it is one of the most valuable learning experiences, covering all the information that you need to set up your own garden with confidence. Please let your friends and colleagues know all about it.
Lane Cove Council offers a wide range of sustainability-related events and activities for local residents, three of which will be presented by the PSN Education Team, including organic pest control using companion planting, backyard poultry; and productive balcony gardening. Click for more information.
The Library has garden tools for loan as well as books and dvds and we welcome donations of all these permaculture items too.
Next education team meeting 10th October call Diana 9416 2929 for details if you wish to come.

Renewing Membership
A few people are having trouble renewing their membership online. You can do this from your personal profile on the website. You need to be logged in to accomplish this task.
If you cannot log in or have never logged in, use the Forgot password link - (it is always on top right hand side of the web site). If you cannot remember the email you used to join PSN please contact Membership Manager, Ian Watson whose email is shown on the Contact page of the PSN website.
You must accept the agreement between yourself & Bonasource Inc (the vendor of the software we are renting) to use this system.


Wood Fired Oven Construction - 8 & 9 October
Presented by Bernie Weise who is by far Sydney’s best wood "red oven specialist builder". Bernie was trained in Ceramics at the Canberra School of Art and for the past 30 years has been a practicing/exhibiting artist. During that time he has built numerous kilns of all types and has a thorough understanding of refractory materials and heat technology. Key topics covered by the workshop include -

- Design process for wood-fired oven construction
- Low Tech & High tech Ovens
- Preservation techniques
- Hands-on construction
- Q & A sessions
- Evening discussion

Bandusia’ is a luxury country retreat and Permaculture Education Centre nestled in a beautiful valley in the country. Workshop participants wishing to stay there over the weekend will receive special rates that include all meals and accommodation. Register for this course @ the PSI Website


Introduction to Permaculture - 22 & 23 and 29 & 30 October
This four‐day course covers the whole Introduction to Permaculture text by Bill Mollison as well as offering practical hands‐on experience. Most Introduction courses are only two days, but with the extra time in this course you’ll be practising some of the practical techniques in Permaculture.
Four experienced trainers will be presenting this course and participants will receive a certificate upon completion.The setting for the course is Kimbriki Eco-garden; a fine an example of how you can build a productive garden on degraded land.Lunch, morning and afternoon tea is provided when you can relax in the garden and share your ideas and experiences with others. This wonderful course will be the start of your Permaculture journey to sustainability and productivity.


Organic Fair at Allsun Farm - 29 & 30 October
From permaculture to biodynamics, featuring the A-Z of organic gardening. Everything from tools, seedlings, chooks and chook tractors to books, talks and techniques. All in the inspirational setting of Allsun Farm, the garden and commercial vegetable-growing business of Joyce Wilkie and Michael Plane.

Come and see how the experts do it - growing your own organic, healthy and tasty produce is easier than you think!
Throughout the weekend there'll be talks by specialists as well as tours of this inspirational property.

Location: 1318 Dicks Creek Rd, Gundaroo (about 3.5hrs south of Sydney)


The Annual PSN Regional Tour - 19 & 20 November - Only 4 seats left!!
Come and take a peek at some of the most beautiful and inspiring permaculture properties in the Hunter and Central Coast!

We will be visiting urban and broadacre properties throughout the Hunter and surrounds, including ‘Common Ground’, a leading therapeutic garden in Kariong, and Yunung Community Garden in Morisset. We'll be checking out the Purple Pear - a showcase permaculture property, the Kozickis' early stage permaculture property, and the stunning Brecknock permaculture acreage in Allynbrook.

PSN tours are renowned for great fun, fabulous food and amazing properties, and this one will be one of the best! PSN tours are exceptional value at $195, and this includes accommodation, transport and meals.

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