DMK Permaculture

Permaculture Mandala Garden, Chicken Tractor Design

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Potty Idea

We’d like to share a potty recycling idea we employ, utilising plastic containers of various shapes and sizes in the garden as seedling pots.

Pot Idea Pic 01
The biggest hurdle is being able to put holes in the bottom without splitting the plastic or hurting yourself with poky sharp tools! Well the answer is a soldering iron.Pot Idea Pic 02

A simple small soldering iron will melt your holes in a few seconds. You must do this outside in well ventilated preferably windy area so as not to breathe any burning plastic fumes.Pot Idea Pic 03

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Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn   Michele shows a staggered planting of sweet corn. See in foreground the young plants, behind them on the left the corn is just reaching full size, and on the right are plants fully matured and very healthy, and bursting with multiple cobs ready for harvest. We’ll be eating fresh corn tonight and for many weeks to come. There are a heap of rock melons under the corn on the right, and they’re nearly ready. Yum.Corn 3 Stages

Produce Gallery

Real food – fresh & local. Food miles is about utilising local seasonal food. Many people need to be educated to know what fruit & veg is in season locally, not expect all produce – all year round.

Sometimes we produce fruit & vegies which are classic, and of course this happens when you provide them with a near optimal growing conditions – rich organic soils and the right weather. We have posted pics of some of the more exciting examples from our garden . . .     

Michele below shows a staggered planting of sweet corn. See in foreground the young plants, behind them on the left the corn is just reaching adult size, and on the right the plants are fully mature, very healthy, and bursting with multiple cobs ready for harvest. We’ll be eating fresh corn tonight and for many weeks to come. There are rock melons under the corn on the right, plentiful and nearly ready. Yum.

Corn 3 Stages

Purple Podded Peas, they’re savoury, not sweet, great for pea soup, pea flour, or mushy peas.Purple Podded Peas

 Ruby Lou’s Potato, freshly washed & eaten same day as harvested.Red Potatoes

Rainbow Chard which we call Ozzy Spinach!   Oi Oi Oi (it’s green & gold)Spinach

Tropical Peach – “Prunus Persica” is a native to China

Tropical Peach

We had chickens hatch last xmas (2013) and here is one of the roosters at around six months old, and of course he wasn’t going to lay eggs so he was destined to be roasted. Organic and fresh . . weighing in at 2.2Kg  and absolutely no food miles. If you like chicken, it doesn’t get any better.

Surplus Rooster

Nicely Roasted

Cooked Chook

Below is a photo of a morning’s harvest in early Nov 2013. Michele presented this to her daughter for her birthday.  About 15 varieties of veg, couple of herbs and a dozen eggs, all grown in our permaculture organic garden. 

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Mandala Layout Guide

          From the diagram below you get a good idea how the Mandala layout should look ideally. Six circle beds all in their own big circle, with a herb bed & pond in the centre. The diagram below suits a mandala using a 3.5mt diameter chook dome. Working with a string line from centre post, mark out the inner circle line for the centre Herb bed and Pond, then mark out the circle line of the centre points of the six circle beds.   (click on diagram to view larger &/or print pdf)Mandala Layout guide

         A hint with this is; The radius of a circle, will divide it’s own circumference into six, well nearly, roughly . . . there-abouts anyway!  So if one gap between circles ends up being a bit wider than the others it’s OK. We deliberately planned our layout to provide a little more width for the main access pathway into the middle of the mandala and pond.

           Hammer in a peg in the centre of each circle bed, and mark out the individual circle outlines of the beds. In our case, we used ‘lime’ to mark the circles, but you can use flour. Then compost up the beds adding horse poo and peanut mulch, plant some buck wheat, cover with mulch hay. Water the bed a plenty and let it settle & the buckwheat shoot and grow a bit, then it’s ready for Chook Dome to move on to it. Freshen the mulch and plant vegie seedlings straight after the dome moves to next bed.

Mandala 1 Planning

Mandala One Layout

          The Chook Dome moves around the two Mandalas (set of circles) in a figure 8 pattern, spending 2 weeks on each bed. This equates to one complete circuit every 6 months. Clockwise on the first Mandala (pic below) and anticlockwise on the second Mandala still in layout (pic below that). Note; Chook Dome sites are only the outside circles, the centre circle is for a pond and perennial herb beds.

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Banana Circles

Turning a disadvantage into an advantage. In the wet season we have a potentially boggy patch on our driveway. Banana Circles have been created alongside the driveway, and able to benefit from channeling excess run off away from the driveway into the circles. The two Banana Circles are side by side, one is slightly uphill from the other, so that when/if the first one floods, the water runs down into the second. Beginning with a backhoe digging out rough circles, heaping up soil around the perimeter. The circles were then more clearly formed by hand, and the rocks within used to support the outer edges. The raised perimeter beds are mulched and further formed into high and low sections. The higher for Pawpaws, and the lower for Bananas, mulch in the centre. Around the outside will be mulch crops, lemon grass, yacon, Egyptian spinach, lucerne etc.

Ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald with buffering winds and torrential rain, sat stationery on us (the Cape) for four days (Jan2013), bringing a much needed 300mm (12″) of rain. This has demonstrated that our water control plan using the circles did indeed work. The water from the higher circle did flow into the lower circle, and did drain off the driveway effectively, meanwhile plants around the circle are powering.

NOTE: (Nov13) Unfortunately the neighbouring horses pushed the ordinary wire fence down and decimated one whole side of the plants. We will post pics when they are restored. 

The photos look at 3 different views of the two circles, and seven photos per view, covering one year.  Just click on the big photo below for a comparison slide show to start . . . .