Local groups going strong, fire retardant trees, edible pond plants, Tassie's homegrown culinary delights and more...
Summer 2013

Sweet and juicy: PermacultureWest eNews

We hope you've all had a relaxing summer break and are enjoying gardens bursting with colour and flavour. We've now moved to quarterly newsletters and a slick new HTML email format to kick off our first summer edition. We've got a wonderful feature on local groups' activities, informative articles from the experts to help your garden grow, timely fire management advice, courses and workshops galore, and take a delicious stroll through the Apple Isle with Ross Mars. 


Jo, eNews Editor

Co-convenors' Report

Hi Folks, 

I hope you enjoy the first enews of 2013. Thanks to Jo for again putting in the time to edit this edition. As you will notice we have changed format to MailChimp to reduce drafting time, and make it easier for others to help and take over coordination when required.

Your new committee got together for its first quarterly meeting since the AGM at City Farm in a comfy, quiet garden setting. Thanks to Katrina Merrels, Peter McMullen, Peter Austin, Brooke 'Sparkles' Murphy, Kristylee Sharp, Harry Wykman, Jason Nicholls and Jo Thierfelder for taking on some essential roles this year and keeping us moving in a positive direction.

Given the understaffed team we will limit our aims and expectations this year as was expected, in these hard-to-make-ends-meet times, peoples surplus's are low, so I do sincerely thank those making the time.

As always there are a huge amount of opportunities out there, so we need to carefully choose our targets. Our plan is to organise, promote and invite everyone to National Permaculture Day to maximise the outreach and promotion of permaculture in WA with our limited energies. We are hoping to hold the National Permaculture Day celebration with Freo Permies this year after two successful years with the Lockridge Team. So pencil in 3rd of May for a morning of skills workshops, social networking and like-minded fun times.

The other event in our sights is Seed Freedom Week/Fortnight in October. The fight to keep food seeds (the source of all food) in people's hands rather than corporate patenting pockets and genetically modified money chests is a real battle. The best thing we can all do is become aware of this effort to control our food supplies, buy open pollinated seeds, grow them and save and share the seeds. Hence our promotion and efforts at this event will be based around teaching these skills to building capacity in seed saving in local groups. 

The main purpose for PermacultureWest this year will be to increase our visibility as the focal point and gathering point of interested people and groups motivated by permaculture, sustainable low impact living, and food production in WA. 

As people come to us we will be encouraging them and directing them to and thus boosting the numbers of local functionally resilient permaculture groups.  The website and enews are two critical elements to keep us finding a new audience. So we will be working hard here also.

But as I keep saying local groups is where it's at. Members have a rewarding and ongoing energy and skill trading system, so they can keep going forever. Peer support and conversations, seed saving, home and yard permaculture design, permablitz's and group tours are all easily and effectively organised in a local group.

For those coming to PermacultureWest to be part of the Permablitz program we highly recommend you join your local group and enjoy more than just their permablitz's. A Perth-wide Permablitz program takes huge amounts of surplus energy and organisation so is not viable or logical at this point.

Given we have this network and focal point let's bring new locals together and support as many new local groups as you can manage out there. So please get in touch if you're keen to help organise a local group and we will see who else is nearby and put you all in touch.


Co-convenors Charles Otway and Peter McMullen and the PermacultureWest Team.

Local groups get together and get busy


One of main focal points for PermacultureWest this year will be gathering locals together to form local groups and, of course, encouraging and supporting those great groups that are already operating. Local groups of people learning about and practicing permaculture and sustainable living make a huge difference to those involved by providing companionship and know-how as you take early steps in reducing your costs and environmental footprint.

To borrow Jason's words about local groups from our great website

"Western Australia is a big place, and even Perth is fairly spread out, so Local Permaculture Groups give people greater opportunity to share experiences, celebrate achievements (and share gluts) as well as overcome challenges. Belonging to a local group can also provide inspiration and motivation, hands on practical help, opportunity to share equipment or swap seeds and cuttings. Lastly and maybe of greatest value, local groups can provide a sense of comradeship and connectedness."

Local groups are supported by being covered under our Public Liability Insurance, having access to PermacultureWest's email systems and member lists and by us helping whenever possible with any expertise and support we can offer.

So if you would like to start up a new local group then please read our Starting a Local Group guide. Also feel free to contact us at any time and we can have a chat to discuss what's involved.

It's now time to hear from some of our local groups that are back in action after the usual Christmas and holiday break. You will find these groups and more on the local groups page on our website


The Northern Active Permaculture Enthusiasts group (NAPEs) has continued its monthly meetings over the last quarter. We visited David Best's garden, as featured on Channel 7s "My Garden, Your Garden", which is a great example of making use of the available microclimates to produce a significant volume of food from a good-looking urban garden. To quote Geoff Lawton, it's definitely a case of "garden like a farmer".

We also carried out two mini-blitzes at members' properties, installing multi-function wicking beds of different designs to provide food, a wildlife pond and shade for the house. Next quarter we expect to visit one or more inspiring properties and do a few more mini-blitzes. If you want to get involved with the NAPEs group, please contact

Hills Local Permaculture Group (HLPG)


If you live in or around the Mundaring Shire / Greenmount hill area and would like to engage with friendly, creative and passionate permaculture people, then the Hills Local Permaculture Group is the place for you! We meet the third Saturday morning of the month (starting in March) at various locations around the local area. Each month we alternate between visiting inspiring gardens, learning from fellow experienced permies / gardeners or helping each other with mini-permablitzes. It's a relaxed undertaking and always fun to lend a hand while picking up permaculture and gardening tips from like-minded local people. If you would like to be involved or to know more, please contact us on

Join our new facebook group ‘Perth Hills Permies’ or check out our blog

We’d love to hear from you!

L-R: Jo Thierfelder's property "Edgefield" in Mundaring and Kristylee Sharp's new kitchen garden in Boya, which both benefited from HLPG mini-blitzes.

The Kitchen Gardeners' Society

The Kitchen Gardeners' Society, a sub-group of Transition Town Guildford, started off as a cross-your-fingers exercise, but it quickly became obvious we needn't have worried. It is, most definitely, an idea whose time has come.

Emma McLevie (who came up with the idea), Debra Netz (who grows fabulous fruit and veg and knows a lot about chooks) and Elizabeth Archer (who has green fingers and a way with words) tentatively put forward six workshops. Using Transition Town Guildford's mailing list and scamming a story in a couple of local papers, they held an introductory afternoon looking at general gardening. It was a huge success. Twenty-five people came along bringing afternoon tea and the abundance of their gardens to share with others.

The subsequent workshops - Chooks in the backyard, Bees in the backyard, Spring vegetable planting, Compost and worms, Tomato passata and marmalade and Exploring a sustainable home - all attracted lots of interested people, who brought their family and friends along.

Excited at their success, the organisers have planned a full year of workshops, with Summer and Autumn looking like this:

Sunday, February 3     Preserving the harvest (jam and a savoury preserve) and recipe swap

Sunday March 3           Seeds and potting, (labels)

Sunday April 7              Pasta, pesto and cheese

Sunday May 5               Planting winter veg

If you're interested in coming along, or would like to start something similar, please RSVP to

L-R: The Kitchen Gardeners' Society October Worm and Compost workshop and Tomato Passata and Marmalade workshop in November 2012.


PermaSEED is a South West permaculture guild with members in Bunbury and further south. 

They' re always on the lookout for permaculture practitioners and enthusiasts throughout the South West region who are interested in sharing information and supporting each other, as well as helping to spread permaculture more widely throughout the region.

Bunbury Urban Growers

Freo Permies

Fremantle Permaculture (or Freo Permies) is an open community permaculture group dedicated to creating a more sustainable, resilient and caring community through Permaculture practices, principles and ethics. We're based in Fremantle, Western Australia, but we welcome anyone who's interested in permaculture, community and sustainability.

The Freo Permies group is involved in many projects around the Fremantle area, including running permaculture courses, a community seed bank, an organic edible plant nursery, regular permablitzes, and several community gardens. If any of those sound interesting, you're always welcome to take part.

Project Locavore is the Freo Permies seedling nursery and seed bank. You can volunteer with us at the South Fremantle High School nursery every Tuesday morning from 9am – 12:30pm. Just give us a heads up if you’re on your way as it can sometimes be hard to find us! You can also sign up to be a member of our local seed bank - it doesn’t cost you anything except a commitment to seed-saving and helping the communal bank to grow.

The Freo Permies Permablitz is a new tradition we started last year. Think Permaculture meets ‘Backyard Blitz’) – anyone can come and help, and share their skills and knowledge. Our projects have ranged from setting up a new back yard food forest to building a vegetable garden and a chicken tractor, right through to trying out earthbag building in a series of raised garden beds. No contribution is too small or too big, and you only need to attend three blitzes to qualify for your own.

The Freo Permies group meets at 6:30pm on the last Tuesday evening of the month at different members' houses in order to spur each other along with our own permaculture and garden projects. Anyone living south of the river or nearby who would like to get together to learn and become involved is welcome to attend. It doesn’t cost anything to come along, just bring a smile and a few nibbles to share. To find out where the next meeting will be, or for any more information about us, contact Tony at or Sparkles at You can also find more info on our website

Nutrient Cycling 

By Tod Smith, Terra Perma Design & Education

(This article is a preview of Tod's upcoming course on 10 Feb. See info under 'Courses')

We want to create gardens which function as mini ecosystems with internal recycling of water, organic matter and minerals as much as possible. A major outcome of this approach is profitability, and by that I don’t mean money necessarily. It is profitable environmentally if we can avoid external inputs as much as possible, it’s about keeping all the resources on site, or immediately local. 

Currently the most innovative, productive and successful alternative farming and gardening practitioners on the planet are managing their land to encourage natural ecological nutrient cycling processes to occur; hydrology, mineralisation, solar conversion, biodiversity. The last thing we want to do is continually be propping up a system with expensive inputs of which the real costs are often externalised and unknown.

The earth is a vessel, a closed loop for all biological life, all nutrient, water and minerals. None of these elements ever leave. Energy alone comes and goes, in the form of sunlight (and other cosmic forces) which enters the atmosphere and is absorbed physically as heat and biologically during photosynthesis, and a portion is reflected away. This fact is what allows for theoretically unlimited yield through potentially unlimited stacking strategies for conversion of solar energy.

We know from permaculture training and ecological farming models that our aim is to collect and convert as much solar energy as we can using the widest appropriate range of flora and fauna, both micro and macro, to manufacture the broadest spectrum of complex nutritional food and fodder as possible, not only for ourselves but as fibre and fertiliser for all the life we grow and provide for in our system, including wildlife.

Most of us clearly recognise the need to retain water and make it work for as long as possible within the system, and we readily employ water harvesting, storage and passive distribution where we can. It’s easy to see water, either directly or by perceiving its presence in the landscape. Nutrient content and retention is harder to determine.

So it’s generally less understood how to keep nutrients on site and recycling in tight loops, with well resolved pathways and exchanges, which are obvious and clear. Biodiversity is the key. The more elements and functions that exist, the more interactions between them, and the more nutrient exchange and holding capacity in the system, preventing escape wherever possible from vaporising (oxidation), or leaching.

It isn’t necessary to understand the full complexity and interaction; there is no-one who does! At the risk of using a mechanistic example; you don’t need to be a mechanical engineer to be a skilled driver. A basic knowledge of maintenance and the observation of a vehicle’s condition and performance is enough. With this a good driver can expertly navigate any terrain or situation without overtaxing or underutilising the vehicle. Or they could crash and burn, depending on the observation skills, sensitivity and responsiveness of the driver, and their knowledge of the vehicles capabilities and limitations.

Put in a more holistic way, there is a difference between complexity and complication. Complicated situations and circumstances benefit from simplification. Complex ones do not; they just fall apart and break down. This is a major truth of biology and nature – the more complex a system is, the more resilient; and therefore the more likely to withstand shocks, even management mistakes! Don’t be scared; get your hands dirty and let biodiversity build to the point of mind bending complexity. You don’t have to understand everything, just observe and respond thoughtfully and mindfully.

Industrial age thinking has taught us to understand each part of everything in classical top-down, centralised, compartmentalised, linear, reductionist, Greco-Roman tradition. That won’t be helpful in an ecological garden. This is the part where we have to remember that nature is the teacher, and be a help to her rather than a hindrance. Complexity is an ally.

The purpose of this workshop is to empower you with several known nutrient cycling loops, some of which you may already have, and show you methods for how you can integrate them to maximise nutrient conversion, exchange and conservation......

This was an extract from one of Tod's upcoming workshops; DIY Nutrient Cycling. It will be run on Sunday, 10 February and repeated on Sunday, 15 September 2013.

For more details on this and many other Terra Perma workshops see our new 2013 workshop schedule on our website.

Reliable Summer Greens in Edible Ponds

By Charles Otway – Terra Perma Education and Design

Besides all the fantastic benefits a garden pond (barrel/bathtub) offers for increasing predatory biology and biodiversity in your garden a pond should also supply you with lots of your summer greens. Its very hot in summer in Perth and leafy green struggle in the heat. You don’t need and expensive, unstable aquaponics set to make food. See our article on how to set up permaculture ponds at PermacultureWest and have a look at just some of the edible aquatic plants avalible below.

Kang Kong (Water Spinach) - Ipomoea aquatica

Is a semi-aquatic tropical plant grown as a leaf vegetable (very high in iron) that grows in water or on moist soil. Its stems are 2-3 m or more in length, hollow, allowing them to float and root at the nodes. It looks like narrow leaved sweet potato and is of the same family, sweet potato can be grown in water with the leaves harvested regularly as per Kang Kong. The plant dies back in winter but normally returns from the roots if it grew well in summer.

Chinese Water Chestnut - Eleocharis dulcis

The water chestnut, is a grass-like sedge grown for its edible corms. It has tube-shaped, leafless green stems that grow to about 1.5 metres. The small, rounded corms have a crisp white flesh and can be eaten raw, slightly boiled, grilled, pickled, or tinned. They grow over summer and die back to a corm in winter, harvest and keep some in moist soil over winter for spring planting.


Taro - Colocasia esculenta and others

Taro is a tropical plant grown primarily as a vegetable food for its edible corm, and also as a leaf vegetable. It is considered a staple in oceanic cultures. In its raw form, the plant is toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate, and of needle-shaped raphides in the plant cells, although the toxin/crystals is destroyed by cooking or can be removed by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight.

Lotus - Nelumbo nucifera

Lotus is an aquatic perennial the flowers, seeds, young leaves, and "roots" (rhizomes) are all edible. In Asia, the petals are sometimes used for garnish, while the large leaves are used as a wrap for food. The rhizome is used as a vegetable in soups and stir-fried dishes. Petals, leaves, and rhizome can also all be eaten raw but its recommended they be cooked.

Memory Herb (Brahmi) - Bacopra monniera 

It has small white flowers in Summer and Autumn, and will withstand light frosts. An edge of the pond plant it can tolerate submerged soil but not plant/leaves. Edible and very beneficial herb eaten in small amounts everyday.

Lebanese Cress - Aethionema cordifolium

Vigorous grower all year and eat it or compost before it chokes up your pond. It's a great source of greens for salads and great flavor for soups. Best grown in shade in summer.

Penny Royal
- Mentha pulegium

A highly aromatic small leafed variety of mint. Commonly used as a cooking herb.

Vietnamese Mint (Luxa)
Polygonun odoratum 

A herb with hot coriander flavored leaves commonly used in Asian cooking. It is also a good ground cover in wet areas.

- Papyrus sedge (C. papyrus) of Africa was of major historical importance in providing papyrus. C. giganteus, is used for weaving sleeping mats. The Chufa Flatsedge (C. esculentus) has edible tubers and is grown commercially for these; they are eaten as vegetables.

 Most cyprus roots are edible, but often too small to bother with.

Watercress - Nasturtium officinale - A familiar salad plant for sale in greengrocers etc. It prefers growing in very shallow water (about two inches deep) but can also be found in marshy soils. It should be propagated by seed or by cuttings which will root easily and quickly in a container of water at any time of the growing season. As well as its leaves being edible, its seeds may be used as a mustard substitute.

Water Lily - Nuphar alba and  lutea - Yellow:

It grows in water between one and two feet deep, preferring a sunny position. The roots are edible either raw or cooked, the leaf stalks may also be eaten, and a drink can be made from the flowers. In addition the seeds are edible, being ground up and used as thickeners in soups etc.


Pickerel Rush - Pontederia cordata

A perennial pond plant with glossy green leaves and spikes of attractive blue flowers in summer. The hyacinth-like flowers continue to bloom through the summer. Pickerel rush provides nectar for bees and butterflies and habitat for frogs. The nutritious, starchy seed can be eaten straight from the plant or dried and added to cereals, it tastes a bit like puffed brown rice. The seeds can also be dried for storage, then boiled, or roasted to improve the flavour or ground into flour. The young leaf-stalks can be cooked as greens or eaten raw in salads.

Nardoo - Marsilea Drummondii

It looks like a clover, and grows like a waterlily, but it's neither, it's a rare plant related to ferns.  The unusual aquatic fern, Nardoo produces edible sporocarps. Nardoo caps contains an enzyme that destroys vitamin B1, the Aboriginal processing of wet grinding and then baking neutralises the toxic enzyme.

Water Mint - Mentha Aquatica

Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. They have a strong peppermint-like fragrance. Best used as a flavouring in salads or cooked foods or as a herb tea.

Water Parsley and Celery - Oenanthe javanica, Oenanthe sarmentosa

Japanese parsley or Chinese celery are very similar plants, javanica being a little smaller and delicate. Both have edible leaves tasting as the names suggest, they are a great summer green when others are suffering in the Perth heat. 


Gotu kola - Centella asiatica 

Also known as Asian pennywort, this perennial with small kidney-shaped leaves is commonly found in warmer parts of Australia. Described as "a pharmacy in one herb", gotu kola contains vitamins A, B, C and D and minerals including calcium, chromium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, selenium, silica and zinc.  Eat a few raw leaves daily.

Property Fire Management

It is that time of year again and with a large urban bushland fire in Karrinyup recently, it is an issue that everyone should be ready for and aware of. The problems created by our urge to plant native gum trees everywhere is also again in the papers, as it is every fire season.

In permaculture, we work hard on our home and property designs to best suit the circumstances and forces impacting on us, so an understanding of fire and fire retardant plants is essential for designing your life anyway in Australia.

Below is a 2 page exerpt from an excellent article by Balingup Small Tree Farm owner Andrew Thamo, please find the rest of the article and further case studies here.

Other helpful references including tree lists can be found below the excerpt. 

Further reading

And lastly as many Permies know there is a indispensable book on trees by Jeff Nugent (from Nannup) called Permaculture Plants, it has a list of 200 trees and shrubs, native and introduced, offering low fire potential. Grab yourself a copy.

Eating our way across Tasmania

By Ross Mars

Jenny and I went for a holiday to the Apple Isle over the Christmas break. Of course I couldn’t resist the temptation to catch up with a few people. Sally Wise is a well-known author of several cookbooks as well as a media personality. The first time we met Sally we had a wonderful afternoon tea with freshly made cakes and preserves, and bought two of her books about preservation and easy gluten-free cooking.
Sally, husband Robert and dog Della had lived at Eagle-Hawk Neck, in a historic-named Pirates Bay, east of Hobart on the peninsula where the famous Port Arthur convict prison is located. Sally had always wanted to set up a cooking school, which wasn’t possible at the Pirates Bay home. They needed more space and a lot more plant growing space.
An ideal property came about near New Norfolk, north-west of Hobart in the Derwent Valley. So they packed up and made the move. We caught up with Sally this time around after she had been there for six months and had just started teaching at the cooking school. Besides the house, the 5-acre property also had a building that was once used as the local child care centre with heaps of raspberry vines, some herbs and vegetables, and fruit trees already established. It was a matter of refurbishing the building with slow combustion and gas stoves, plenty of bench space and stainless steel shelving to hold all the different pots and pans and other implements required for student use.

Prospective students are being directed from the Tasmanian Tourism website as well as her own site and a few links from others. Sally offers half-day courses typically $110 to $150, depending on the type of workshop offered. Currently she offers classes in preserving, sourdough, slow cooking, gluten-free cooking, lunchbox fillers, summer drinks and lots more.

We had another lovely morning tea of freshly-baked tea cake made from homegrown apricots and raspberries, free-range eggs and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Then we had German spice biscuits, a range of rum truffle chocolates and candies, Anzac and cornflake biscuits, washed down with sparkling elderflower cordial. I gorged myself and Jenny said I was going to eat my way across Tasmania.
Sally generally only wanted to run two (or three at most) workshops each week, as many required a day of preparation, and getting ready for a class took quite a while to source ingredients and so on. If you ever visit Tasmania make an effort to join a class. You won’t be disappointed. Visit for more information. Her books are sold at good bookstores across Australia.


Plant nutrient deficiencies

These charts (below) are simplified and helpful in the complex area that is identifying plant mineral deficiencies. Identifying your soil type and pH, and getting clay, organic matter and rock minerals into the soil goes a long way to reducing issues. But for a bit of insight into your problems before or without doing the soil test, this table is very useful. 

The excellent article can be found here at Montana Uni. Further studies available free here and here

Should we test eggs from backyard chooks?

By MayRing Chen

It is 50 years since Rachael Carson’s Book “The Silent Spring” exposed the insidious side-effects of DDT use and its movement across and bio-accumulation in the entire global food chain. This jolted the industrialised world into the realisation of both the interconnectedness and the fragility of the environment that sustains all life on this planet.  

DDT and other organochlorine (OC) pesticides were widely used across Australia after WWII and their use was only banned in WA in the mid 1990s on human health grounds. OCs were widely and heavily used in the pest control industry and by government for such pests as termites, ants, fruit flies, cockroaches, spiders and even headlice, and included DDT, aldrin, chlordane, heptachlor endrin, lindane and dieldrin. These chemical cocktails were sprayed and dusted, in many places, often annually, or sometimes more frequently, especially around the perimeter and in subfloors of houses and outbuildings, along fence lines and on fruit trees. 

The synthetic OC insecticidal compounds are generally very stable (including in the soil) and can persist for up to several decades after original use. However, they can become mobile due to the way soil and other treated materials disperse and they are also fat-soluble finding their way into such animal tissue as fat, brain and various glands. This means that they bio-accumulate (magnify) over time in successive levels of a food chain – as the body cannot easily get rid of it. Many studies have shown that OCs are detrimental to animal health as relative concentrations in the fatty tissues increase with links to a wide range of human diseases and conditions including endocrine disruption, reproduction and certain cancers. 

Soil invertebrate populations are at the base of the food chain for many animals, including chickens. Through ingesting contaminated soils, such favoured chicken treats as earthworms and other burrowers pick up and hold OCs. Hens eating such soil dwellers will, over time, bio-accumulate OCs in their bodies, which gets passed onto the eggs. 

So think about your backyard. Do you have chickens? Even if you have organically gardened for years, what is the pesticide history? 

As the top of the food chain in your household, to avoid the possibility of eating contaminated eggs consider testing for organochlorines at a NATA certified laboratory. Take an egg from a chook that has been in your backyard the longest. If you are sourcing your eggs from your neighbours ask them whether their eggs have been tested even if it is organically run. 


Learn. Participate. Do.

Courses, workshops and seminars


Introduction to Permaculture - Freo Permaculture

What this two day workshop (9-10 February) will cover:
  • What is Permaculture? History, ethics, principles and relevance.
  • An introduction to systems thinking and the importance of sustainable design.
  • Soil basics and composting, basic propegation and/or seed saving
  • An introduction to permaculture plants and edible weeds tour
  • Basics of sector analysis, zoning and relative location for functional design
  • A look at the application of permaculture in the community

Venue: South Fremantle High School, Lefroy Rd, Beaconsfield

Contact: Brooke 'Sparkles' Murphy on or 0406 449 369 or to book please click here.

Permaculture Design Course (PDC) - Freo Permaculture

23 Feb - 18 May (break 30 March)

Permaculture Design Course was developed to teach principles and foundations of sustainable design. PDC’s throughout the world are asked to follow a designated outline to assure its integrity. The course topics are designed and based on this outline.

  • Basics of Permaculture ethics and philosophy
  • Basics of Design for sustainable systems
  • Soil science and soil health
  • Water in the landscape, harvesting and storage
  • Grey water recycling with nature & techonology
  • Seed saving
  • Bioregional analysis and microclimate adaptation
  • Alternative and natural building
  • Forest gardening & perninal plant systems
  • Plants and applications of plants in a sustainable garden
  • Composting and natural waste management
  • Alternative economics
  • Intergrated pest management
  • Urban animal husbandry
  • Living community systems
  • Transition Towns Training
  • Mapping and surveying

Venue: South Fremantle High School, Lefroy Rd, Beaconsfield

Click here to book or contact Sparkles for more information on 0406 449 369.

Advanced Permaculture Teaching Course - Candlelight Farm

A one-week full-time course April 29 – May 3, 2013 (5 days) for those permaculturists who wish to become permaculture teachers and run workshops, Introduction courses and PDCs. The course is only available to Permaculture Design Course (PDC) Certificate holders.

Course content

  • Teaching styles
  • Course curriculums - workshop, Introduction and Design Certificate Courses
  • Public speaking skills and exercises
  • Effective teaching techniques 
  • Teaching strategies
  • Curriculum development, lesson plans
  • Equipment and tools
  • Facilitation techniques
  • Resources and teaching aids
  • Fees and costs

The course uses hands-on exercises, active learning methods, and handouts to make learning enjoyable.

Course fee: $550 which includes morning and afternoon teas (BYO lunch). Send at least a deposit of $200 to secure your place on this course.

Presented by Dr Ross Mars with David and Claire Coleman and other guests. For information call Ross Mars 0439 971 213. 

CIII Permaculture 2013-2014 at Candlelight Farm, Mundaring

A new weekend workshop timetable is now available for those who have undertaken a PDC and want to obtain some formal (accredited) permaculture qualifications. 

Total fee for the course is $1800 and this is paid as you progress over the year. Course is part-time with a balance of workshop training and your own (home) projects to put those new skills into practice. First workshop is on July 6 and 7, then August 3, 4 and so on. 

Most of the workshops will be based in Mundaring or nearby and of course you will have your own projects to undertake. We also do site visits for some of the tasks.

Please contact Ross Mars 0439 971 213 for the prospectus and workshop timetable. Other information about assignments, assessment tasks, unit summaries and so on will be given to you in the first two workshops.


Terra Perma Permaculture Education and Design

Click here to download the full workshop schedule for 2013.




Wanted: Three Interns from 9 May to Winter solstice on Merri Bee Organic Farm

Keen students of Permaculture under 25 years of age are welcome to join us for six weeks this Autumn. Mostly organic mixed diet from the property, comfortable accommodation in solar passive mud brick house with PV solar, homemade soaps, pure rainwater, organic cotton and wool bedding.

Learn all about organic food production from dairy to dried apricots. May is pecan, walnut  and macadamia harvest time on our 30 year old Permaculture farm. Learn by doing building techniques (such as cob walls, super adobe and bottle walls),  tree and bamboo propagation and planting,  butchering skills (producing  duck, chicken, pork, salami, bacon and ham.)

Sorry we do not prepare special meals for vegetarians or vegans. Expect six hours practical work per day, the use of our extensive library and to  benefit from both Stew and Bee’s willingness to teach you Permaculture in topics such as water harvesting earth works, sustainable building, gardening, animal husbandry  and rocket stoves. We (so far) do not charge a fee for interns, but have a $150.00 refundable equipment bond and high expectations of dedication to Earth care and a cheerful, conscientious work ethic.  Please apply by email to

WANTED: honey extractor

I have recently become the owner of two bee hives as part of our permaculture / sustainable life change and am in need of a honey extractor, preferably old or recycled. I'm happy to negotiate on price or would be happy to supply some honey in return. Our rural block is 40km Perth side of Brookton and we live in Canning Vale. Contact: Nola Doswell on

Property for sale near Toodyay - $549,000

Winner of national and state 2012 HIA GreenSmart awards.

Home on 14 acres of mixed wandoo bushland and pasture with dam. Highly efficient passive solar home with power and water saving features throughout – 90kL water tanks, grid connected solar power, waste water recycling system. Fruit trees in situ and a perfect property for further development. 

Contact Splice Projects on 0408 916 799.

Banksia Grove property for sale -

There was a permie meeting there a couple of years ago and we looked at the aquaponics system, black soldier flies and wicking beds. There is 110,000litres of rainwater storage and 4.8kw solar panels, dozens of maturing fruit trees and berries. I'm afraid the giant wicking beds have been totally neglected since last summer but there are lots of albizia, pigeon peas and tagataste around. 

OFFERED FREE: Four tonnes of small plant pots 

Natural Area Holdings is a native plant nursery based in Whiteman. We have approximately 4 tonne of small pots (forestry tubes – a mixture of dunbar and garden city plastics) left over due to a large project that we would like to send to recycling, rather than see them end up in landfill. We can drop them off to a centre or transport as required.

If you are interested please contact Marie Daniel at

Wanted: Housesitter for urban permies in PDC-featured property in Padbury.

Friday, 12 April - Saturday, 20 April. Chook eggs to collect, cats to cuddle and garden to nibble if you desire. If you're interested, please contact Alun Morgan at

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