View Full Version : Where to start :)
01-05-2004, 04:43 AM
What books, internet resources etc would you peoples suggest to someone with no experience in gardening/permaculture. I'm currently renting and wish to start off small with edible plants that I can take with me when I move. I was thinking along the lines of starting a bed underneath the clothes line with some herbs slowly increasing the plot size over time. What is a good border that will stop kikuyu?
Is there such a thing as good starter herbs? Where to get them from chemically free? So a good book or two is needed what are your bibles? Where do you buy from??
Also could water from tropical fish tanks be used the output is 75l and 150l alternating weekly nothing is added to the water but is buffered by calcium carbonates (crushed marble, shell grit) on plants used for human consumption? Ahh so many questions Thanks :p
Oh I'm in Geelong
02-05-2004, 12:28 AM
Slartibartfast! GREAT NAME! Welcome to the forum! There has been so much talk of how much we need new members lately. I hope you find the forum useful and continue to stick around and share whatever you learn.
Others will have lots of good ideas about where to buy good intro books on permaculture and natural gardening - one place that I would always recommend is your local library! You can even ask them to special order books too!
There is of course Bill Mollison's "Intro to Permaculture". Rosemary Morrow's "Earth Users Guide to Permaculture" is another good place to start.
I think your fish tank/clothes line idea sounds great, especially if you have a hills hoist style, don't ring out your clothes too much, or use too much detergent.
Best teacher is experience. Get out there and give it a go! Don't be too discouraged by failures and mistakes either, as they are good teachers too. Of course, it doesn't hurt to read a lot, and learn from others experience.
02-05-2004, 01:41 AM
I'm going to really stick my neck out here and risk criticism from others but when I read Bill Mollison's Intro To Permaculture, I found it too overwhelming for a starting point.
He goes into a great deal of detail re planning house/garden/orchard/livestock on a grand scale and as a beginner restricted financially by limited resources, I felt disencouraged as what was recommended was not only physically but also financially impossible to achieve in my case.
I admit, I do dream of one day being able to achieve at least some degree of what he recommends but that is going to take years and years. In the meantime, I've found that Linda Woodrow's 'The Home Permaculture Garden' and Jackie French's 'The Earth Gardener's Companion' good books to start with.
By all means, have a read of Bill Mollison's book which will probably give you longer term goals, and I'd be really interested in your feedback from another novice's point of view.
Re chemical free plants to start with, I've been collecting my mint from along the creek on my property. It was there when I moved in so I'm pretty sure it's chemical free. I would suggest you grow your own from seeds and if you buy the older style heirloom varieties, you can be sure that they haven't been hybridised or tampered with genetically and will produce seed true to type so you'll be able to collect your own seeds for future sowing.
A good place to start is to get on to the 'Diggers Club' on (03) 59871877 for some information on what they have to offer. They have two beautiful gardens within an hour from Melbourne, Heronswood at Dromana on the Mornington Peninsula and St Erth at Blackwood via the Western Hwy both with nurseries selling the sort of seeds and seedlings you might be looking for.
Another source of non hybrid seeds is Eden Seeds at http://www.edenseeds.com.au and a good range of books are available from The Good Life Book Club at Trentham Vic on (03) 54241814, http://www.goodlifebookclub.com from the Earth Garden people.
Yep, Linda Woodrow's book is a beauty. You might also want a book about companion planting. Two cheap ones (less than $20) are Jackie French's Guide To Companion Planting in Australia & New Zealand, and Brenda Little's Companion Planting in Australia.
04-05-2004, 12:08 AM
Thanks for the replies everyone!!
I think I will heed what you said Tam and leave Bill Mollison's Intro to permaculture until further down the track as simplicity is what I'm looking for right now. Shall get a copy of Linda Woodrows book for now..
Thanks for the link to the Good Life Book Club think they will be getting a new customer very very soon. I also did a search for The Diggers Club they have a website too.
Muttabuttasaurus I have to thank Douglas Adams for the name but I think you pipped me at the post with yours lol.
Its been such a long time since I've been to a library that the thought hadn't even occurred to me so Ta :)
Yep tis a Hills hoist looking very strange at the moment as it has straw, chook poo etc underneath covered by old sheets. Need the sheets at the moment as the wind is a tad strong for anything to stay in place, why did I pick this time of year lol.
Thanks Mont having more then one person endorse a book makes it an easier decision on where to start.
04-05-2004, 01:12 AM
Yeah, Bills book perhaps isn't the simplest "how-to" guide out there. I think perhaps part of the problem that people have with it (myself included) is that it is actually attempting to convey a concept or a way of thinking about design rather than providing the reader with a set of clear instructions. The fact that the book does use lots of real life examples and diagrams that might seem to be very proscriptive, perhaps confuses the reader into thinking that that is what they are supposed to be getting.
On the other hand Linda Woodrow's book is a lot more of an instructional guide, isn't it? You all are probably right, in that she explains the concepts in very easy to understand ways. I remember being quite inspired by that one.
In the end I think it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong method of doing permaculture, and simply copying techniques laid out by others is likely to miss some of the subtleties that can create really dynamic and efficient systems.
04-05-2004, 10:40 AM
The replies you have received should be helpful to you, i might add another for you to consider. There are quite a few videos out there from your local library or ones they can order in for you. With starting off i would recommend Robyn Francis Mandala garden(a step by step guide which is great for beginners like yourself). Other videos on Permaculture are good in trying to visualise what you would like to achieve.
The other thing i would recommend is seeing what local Permaculture or City Farms you have near you and pay them a visit. They are a great source for gleaning info, plants and seeds and inspiration. My wife had no idea of what i was trying to achieve until she went on a couple of tours with me.... it wasnt until then that she got inspired as well :)
Good luck and keep us informed.... Dave
04-05-2004, 01:19 PM
Hello Just a quick one today The best book i came accross
same time as Bills Intro To Permaculture I thought the intro was relativly simple after looking at his designer manuals.I found it explained the other concepts re Permaculture (not just vegie growing).Depends what u want to know I suppose.
Im no scholer but Ifound it an excellent book to just browse thru and decide later (very Insperational) The book i found helpfull the most is a book called Natural Gardening and Farming
in Australia By JEFFREY HODGES got it from the libary first and second times loved it so much i bought one
Take care hang in there
05-05-2004, 01:22 PM
wow. a hive of activity this place.
i think you'll find your own starting place and journey through permaculture. it is much more than organic gardening - but the gardening, and gardening along permaculture principles i think is an excellent...and the predominant starting place.
personally, i think a subscription to Earth Garden Magazine (http://www.earthgarden.com.au/) and ABC's Organic Gardener magazine is an excellent start.
you'll get stacks of gardening advice drip fed from a quarterly postal system that will also begin to discuss a whole range of other topics relevant to sustainability, energy use, simple living and more.
08-05-2004, 04:00 AM
Couldn't agree more its just a starting place to living more sustainably as a whole. Permaculture the word says to me a lifestyle not just sustainable agriculture although I ain't read much yet!!
I know that many of the products I buy are condoning actions that I dislike so that is another aspect I am also changing. This I find a big learning curve in just finding alternatives or the bigger change of just not getting it. So getting out of habits ingrained through a lifetime bombardement of corporate advertising/media disinformation etc etc :D
Now to find an easy to install and use open source operating system *sigh*
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