Rob Avis of Verge Permaculture and some of the Milkwood food forest pumpkin and rocket harvest
After a summer of sparse rain, sporadic growth and mostly only greywater irrigation, we took a day or two last month to glean what we could from the basecamp veggie garden and the top food forest, before the first frosts take hold here at Milkwood.
This past summer has taught us a lot about what edible plants are the most drought-hardy in our climate, and it’s information we’re greatfully storing in our brains. Come next spring we’ll be doing our food growing a bit differently – the Milkwood kitchen garden will be up and running and the food forest understorey will be able to get well established, now that our new top dam is full…
So this autumn has represented the final phase of our basecamp grden as a vegie patch. This vegie patch was built with love and has fed us, our interns and our students for the last two years, seen us through a pregnancy and into our new phase as a small family, and we’re very thankful for it all. In retrospect, the very simple greywater swale system that we set up to provide water for the two main beds worked well, and we’d recommend this design to anyone in a similar situation. Simple, effective and passive water harvesting at its best.
Ashar inspects some of the shelled scarlet runner beans from the basecamp vege garden
From here on in the garden around Basecamp will be relegated to a plentiful year-round herb and greens garden, which will supplement the Milkwood food supply for our interns and also our on-farm courses. The basecamp caravan will now be the catering kitchen van full time! Best bush kitchen this side of the pacific, too. And surrounded by tasty greywater-fed herbs and greens, we’ll be cooking up many a feast within.
Capsicums and tomatillos from the Basecamp vegie garden
We were lucky enough to have a wonderful crew for harvest in the form of Rob and Michelle Avis from Verge Permaculture in Canada. Rob and Michelle are both from an oil and gas industry engineering background, which makes their perspective on all things Permaculture very interesting indeed. These two cool cats were a joy to have around, and we all talked long into the night about Permaculture and the possible futures of our planet as we see it. They also helped us shell scarlet runner beans, harvest deep-muched potatoes and pick all the pumpkins from the food forest understorey.
So now we’re bedding down for winter with pumpkins aplenty, rocket pesto for everyone in the valley, vast quantities of tomatillo chutney, and similar quantities of green tomato pickles and roast capsicum. Not bad for a little organic bush garden. And next year is going to be even better.
Ashar making off with a ripe tomato from the food forest