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Milkwood Blog

Cultivating soil, food and life with a ‘Gundaroo Tiller’ broadfork

August 30, 2012 | Market Garden | 11 comments | Author:

The ‘Gundaroo Tiller’ is an Australian adaptation the traditional European broadfork, and an essential tool for our small market garden. It may look like just a big clunky fork-thing, but it is actually a finely tuned instrument of permaculture soil … Read More


Breaking new ground in the market garden

August 20, 2012 | Market Garden | 3 comments | Author:

This spring we’re extending the market garden, and that means more rabbit-proof fencing, and more ‘breaking ground’. In permaculture, we try not to break (both literally and figuratively) ground wherever possible, but one exception to that rule is when cultivating … Read More


Urine, Peak Phosphorous and on-farm Nutrient Cycling

June 20, 2012 | Appropriate Technology, Humanure, Nutrient Cycling | 27 comments | Author:

So it turns out that when we go to the toilet, each of us ‘produces’ nearly 80% of the nutrients we need to grow our food. That’s quite something. If you take hold of that concept, it really does make … Read More


Soil Chromatography with Eugenio Gras

November 6, 2011 | Appropriate Technology, Biofertilizer, Courses + Workshops | 16 comments | Author:

Soil Chromatography is both incredibly beautiful and incredibly useful, all at once. It’s a way of assessing your soil for humus, minerals, microbiology and more. Best of all, you can do this soil assessment effectively at home – no need … Read More


Why pasture cropping is such a Big Deal

December 7, 2010 | Off-Farm goings on, Permaculture Techniques, Small Farm Skills | 16 comments | Author:

Grain cropping is something that, for the vast majority of us, is someone else’s problem. We just eat the results; certainly every day, and nearly with every meal. Bread, rice, corn, soy, beans and so on. Produced somewhere out there, … Read More


How to make Compost: Pt.3

December 29, 2007 | Video | 3 comments | Author:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9EGuviXznU]

And so here is the final product – three weeks on from the beginning, and 9 days on from the middle of the compost making process. Pretty impressive for three weeks worth of microbial action, don’t you rekon?


How to make Compost: Pt.2

November 21, 2007 | Video | 1 comments | Author:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i30BxEvOXRs]

So – the compost pile is made…. fast forward to two weeks later… the compost is composting! Despite my well-intentioned but slightly incorrect assemblage (i really should have shredded all that glossy newsprint, or at least ripped it up into smaller pieces), my fast compost pile is hot-hot-hot! Maybe even a little too hot. Not to worry, I can cool it down by turning it more regularly. And we can only learn by doing, really…


Carbon Farming Conference 07

November 21, 2007 | Off-Farm goings on | 0 comments | Author:

looking north at milkwood
Milkwood in 2006… yet to become carbon sequestration central, due to overgrazing for… oh… only the last 100 years or so…

Last weekend Nick and I trooped off to the inaugural Carbon Farmers Conference (the first of its kind in Aus) which was conveniently held in Mudgee, just up the road (it’s quite a long road, though – this being the country and all).

And holy cow it was a jam-packed two days… The conference was set up to thresh out the concepts behind Carbon Farming – a term used to describe the process of sequestering carbon into good, healthy soil. This concept isn’t that hard to grasp – we’re all surrounded by a gazillion ‘carbon credit’ systems at the moment – systems and companies who are offering to ‘zero your footprint’ or ‘make your wedding carbon neutral’ or whatever… and the ethics of that industry is a long conversation in its self, which I will set aside for now (there’s plenty about it online though, if you want to get all riled up).


Back from the Brink by Peter Andrews

September 20, 2007 | Publications | 3 comments | Author:

'back from the brink' book coverOut in the rural areas of NSW (and probably in other states of Australia as well) this book has been causing a minor furore. Country town bookstores were selling out of all their copies in a day, everyone was talking about it, everyone wanted to read it, everyone was ordering in a copy for their father/wife/husband/themselves because the word on the street was that it contained mighty important information about how to drought-proof your land.


Review: Soil foodweb workshop…

April 17, 2007 | Off-Farm goings on | 5 comments | Author:

Considering that all plant life grows out of it, and therefore the majority of our diet depends apon it directly, you have to admit that soil is pretty funky stuff. Having been initiated breifly into the implications of soil biology, … Read More