President's Report

What an awesome start to Spring! Our house smells like freesias and fresh-mown grass. Lovely.
I hope you’ve all survived the election period. I find elections a terrible drain on my usually optimistic outlook on life! I wish local candidates and political parties aimed to inspire us with their visions for the future, and stories about the great things they have done! I just keep reminding myself that there are many, many great people out there doing amazing things, like permaculture pioneer Jill Finnane – our speaker at this month’s PSN gathering. We just don’t hear about these people in the Misery Media, so we have to find better ways to get their stories out to the world.

Our management team have been discussing ideas for telling more of our stories to inspire people to join us. One of the plans is to make International Permaculture Day in May 2014 a bigger event for PSN with more open gardens, more media coverage, and a party at the end. That means we need more help at permabees to get our gardens into shape, and of course more gardens to show!
A goal I’ve set myself is to help grow PSN by 50 new active members by the end of 2014.
So here is my challenge to you – will you set yourself a personal goal to help promote permaculture in the community? Maybe you could volunteer your garden for a show; invite everyone on your street to your next local group event; or commit to bringing five friends to PSN events over the next year.
Inspire others by sharing your goals and update us your achievements on the notice board on the PSN website or Facebook page, or email them to me at:
Hornsby Bushland Festival - 15 September
Hornsby Local Group's Permaculture Stand
The Show must go on!

Hornsby Group will be perma-personing a stall at the main annual fair of Hornsby Shire, the Bushland Festival - Sunday 15 September. The Shows Team is coming to the party and together we will be setting up a fabulous, engaging display with the aim of enticing people to come and talk to us and join our group. You are invited to be part of a great opportunity as we set out to engage as many of the 12,000 Festival goers as possible.
PSN Monthly Meeting - Monday 16 September 2013 @ 7:00pm
Jill Finnane Special Guest -
How Thinking & Doing Permaculture can Change Your Life
Jill is a leader in the world of permaculture, sustainability and social justice and is described as a social pioneer: “Like tough, resilient pioneer plants with their ability to grow in barren and hostile ground, social pioneers work courageously at the edges of accepted norms, bringing new ideas and opportunities. They build knowledge, experience and new perspectives – fertile soil for those who follow.”

$5 non-members. Free for PSN members. Be early! Please join us for super afterwards and bring a mug for tea.

Doors open at 6.30pm. Talk begins at 7.00pm. Supper 8.30pm
Lindfield Community Centre, 259 Pacific Hwy, Lindfield. Just a few minutes walk from Lindfield railway station.
PSN Permabee Back to School - 22 September
Well folks we are going back to school again for the September permabee.
Alexandra Delien (a reascent member of PSN) has been enthusiastically involved at her children’s school to get a new generation of children hands on with permaculture.
Alexandra has managed to get a grant and got 4 ☓ 1m raised garden beds to start the garden off. Meanwhile two of the teachers have attended a workshop organised by the Dept. of Education and North Sydney Health called Live Life Well @ School. They are in the process of applying for another grant but this may take more time.
The space we have to work with a nice size for starting a project like this and I think we would do well to lend our support to Alexandra and this next generation of young gardeners to get the ball rolling.
An important note, the date fore the permabee is Sunday 22nd of September to coincide with a staff meeting at the school.
Register here.
If you're unable to register on line, you can contact the Garden Team Leader at
PSN Introduction to Permaculture Course - 19 October - 30 November 2013
A team of PSN members is offering a seven session course to members, commencing in October 2013.
In it you will learn about land features, plant and animal systems and permaculture design techniques to enable you to create a highly productive and interesting garden. In the process you will meet like-minded people who are passionate about sustainable living and permaculture.
You will gain a good solid grounding in the principles and practices of permaculture led by experienced and enthusiastic permies in a variety of interesting demonstration venues.
The course will follow the book, Introduction to Permaculture, written by co-founder Bill Mollison.
For more information and to register here.
Who's Doing What?

Huge Thankyous to Monika and Fairlie
Monika has served and valuably contributed to the management committee for nearly two years, firstly as Vice Pres, then as Communications Team Leader. She and Matt are heading off overseas for an extended holiday (including WWOOFing on Permaculture farms in Europe), and then extending the good life around Australia. They are away for around nine months.
Fairlie has been quietly and beautifully co-ordinating suppers for the Lindfield meetings with the local group co-ordinators – ever wondered how they happen?
We are very grateful to Monika and Fairlie for the wonderful jobs they have done.
Who’s New?
Karen has taken up the role of Communications Team Leader.
Helen has taken up the role of Supper Co-ordinator.
We thank you both and wish you well as you step into these roles.

Highlights of the MC Meeting in August - lots of them!

•The new PSN Brochure was finalised (and has since been printed)
•PSN is setting up a YouTube account for podcasts and short films
•PSN is looking into setting up a photo library on the website
•The personal profile page has changed; members are asked to update
•The Lindfield sign-in table will be located to the right of the front desk
•Members are asked to make sure new members feel welcome
•November speaker: Angus Stewart. December: Members’ stories
•Ku-ring-gai Community Garden proposal: agreed to be involved with the community garden – if on PSN terms and with other community groups involved
•International Permaculture Day and Sustainable House Day – committees being formed
•The Seedbank is returning to Lindfield meetings from September

What's Happening at Hornsby Local Group - August

Hornsby Bushland Festival - 15 September is our event for September and our participation, ably guided by Shows Team Leader Lucinda, promises to be an absolute blinder. More info on the website ‘What’s On’. More after the event no doubt.

Help is needed with seed packing on 11 September – Jannine 9949 3481.
There are free buses from Hornsby and Pennant Hill Stations on the day, 9-4pm.
Spotlight on ‘Native Bees’ – 13 October - This time it’s Hornsby members only. Please see more info on the website ‘What’s On’.
Wanted: New Co-ordinator for Hornsby Group
Sadly my term is coming to a close – mid October – and I would like to recommend this position to you. The group is strong, invigorated, and with great systems in place so that it almost runs itself! The job is usually fun, not onerous. You will be given a good handover and I am happy to help and support however required in the settling in period. Please give consideration to taking up this interesting role. All enquiries will be treated confidentially.
Kay Phelan, or 1300 887 145 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1300 887 145 end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 1300 887 145 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
What's Happening at Willoughby Local Group - August
The Willoughby local group had a great fun filled and lively August meeting at the home of Wendy Bishop and Alastair.
We had a tour of their garden and saw many interesting plants in addition to learning how to make compost beer from Alastair and learning how to grow plants in water from Wendy. They have kindly written some notes to share their knowledge. If you don’t time to read the rest of this article, just read their notes below.

Alastair on Compost Beer: To boost healthy soil, Alasdair recommends “compost beer”, a handful of compost in a bucket of rainwater (plus a tablespoon of molasses or raw sugar to feed the beneficial microbes). Aerate this with an aquarium bubbler for 24 hours then pour onto a garden bed. Undiluted is best, and new seedling beds benefit most. See “Teaming with Microbes; the Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web” by Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis.

Wendy on Growing Plants in Water: Growing plants in water can solve problem spots in the garden. Sink pots of Water chestnuts into water-filled polystyrene boxes, on top of a sunny flat garage roof, and they only need to be accessed once in midsummer (to top up the water) and then lat autumn to harvest the crunchy bounty. Raw, they taste just like coconut.

A chain of ponds along a fence line, means you can grow submerged pots of Vietnamese mint for spicy notes to your stir-fry, and lebanese cress instead of lettuce for your sandwiches. Both thrive in semi-shade, and the plastic tubs and old metal sinks (with siliconed plugs) mean you can grow food in an area where suckering neighbourhood trees grab all the goodness out of the soil.
And mildly peppery Watercress is happy to thrive in decorative pots in the most shady corner.
There is More…we had great afternoon tea of the most yummy date and banana cake from Sarah who also brought in tons of seeds to share. These seeds plus Ralph and Jill’s pumpkin seeds from the sweetest pumpkin ever made for a fantastic seed sharing experience not counting numerous cuttings and seedlings from Wendy’s garden.

My contribution for the afternoon was yacon lettuce cups or sang choy bow, Many of you might have some yacon growing in your garden. I believe they have only started to grow them commercially in Australia quite recently. Such an easy plant to grow and the tubers are so yummy and sweet with good sugar excellent and safe for those with diabetes or on special diets. Here’s the recipe below of what I brought to the meeting:
Seed Savers - 21 August
Seed Savers meet on the 4th Saturday of every month from 9am-12 noon at the Bidjiwong Community Nursery in Baulkham Hills. (Rear of Ted Horwood Reserve carpark, off Renown Rd, opposite the sports club).
All PSN members are welcome to Seed Savers. You'll meet great people, learn a lot about cleaning seed, propagating, how to recognise and save seeds, heaps of growing tips and herbal remedies from Robyn and other knowledgeable people.
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Welcome new PSN members
A big welcome to all new members
New Members’ (and old Members’) guide to the Website now online
It includes
  • a glossary of terms and abbreviations
  • how to find - the New Members’ Booklet, DIY Information Sheets
  • how to ‘sign in’ to the website and members’ forum
  • how to register for events
  • regular meeting dates and events
  • and important links
A big thanks to Adrian Kong and his wife Vicki, who are reasonably new members, for putting together this helpful (deceptively simple) guide.
PSN Facebook
Our facebook page is rocking! It's an excellent place for finding out what's going on in and around our area in a broader context.
You can interact with like minded permies to share ideas, pose questions, post interesting articles and find out what courses and events are happening in our region and around the world.
If you would like help in setting up a facebook login please email

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