Thursday, November 21, 2013

What's For Dinner? (First Zucchini Harvest)

About a month ago, Guy discovered a heap of rich soil that was dumped as extra when the raised vegetable beds were first installed here.  The soil has been covered by weeds, molasses grass, and other debris for years, until it's potential was recently discovered.  I'll have to go back and take some photos of what's growing up there (corn, watermelon, spring onions, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc...). For now, we've got our first zucchini harvest with a bunch of beans.  The zucchinis are a bit on the small side, but they were beginning to turn yellow so I wanted to take off this first group, so I can give the plant room to grow and energy for the forthcoming veggies.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

We Need More...

Working towards the goal of a self-sufficient food supply requires taking the initiative to plant new vegetables.  Lettuce usually has about a 10-20% success rate around these woods.  If the possums don't eat the growing leaves, the sun will scorch the seedlings or any number of other lettuce-killing circumstances will occur.  That doesn't mean I'm going to stop trying, so yesterday I tried some Greenpatch organic seeds in 8-in-1 punnets to test another variety.

Starting with a combination of horse manure and our house compost...

I added in a mixture of Organic Life and 5IN1 to make a perfect combination for starting these new seedlings.

The horse manure and our compost can be in the form of chunks, so this is a task where you really get your hands dirty.  It's important to break apart the horse manure because those droppings are nutrient bombs, and too much of a good thing can be overwhelming.

Look real hard, and you can see the seeds in each of those pockets, sitting 5mm below another layer of the soil mixture that I added on top.

We got a big rain last night (with some epic lightning and thunder that was shaking the house) but I protected these seeds from drowning.  A few more sunny mornings like today and we'll have some progress in these yellow punnets.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Room For More

There's a lot of open space on this property, and a good amount of it is north-facing.  I've been taking the opportunity (and most of the open space) to transform this land into a food-production haven.  Recently I've been feeling like no day is complete if I haven't planted something new beneath the earth's surface. My goal is to continue this progress for as long as possible, no matter where I am (this might change as soon as I get on my next flight).  All you need to get started:

Empty pots or containers...check beans and paprika pepper

Soil mixture...compost, horse manure, 5IN1 fertiliser

I filled the small square containers 80% with the soil mixture, dropped a seed around the middle of the container, and then filled another 10% of the container, so there's room to put mulch or more compost when the seedlings sprout.

The paprika peppers went into 6-in-1 containers, which are usually more ideal for lettuces or chards.  I'm a pretty keen observer of the development of my seedlings, I'll make sure whatever sprouts up doesn't outgrow it's container.  Below, you can't tell there are six individual slots for seedlings, but everything is covered with the soil mixture.

Now it's time to find a sunny spot to let the seedlings rest and start growing.  If you can tell from the background of the image (below) you'll see this is a really steep hill (a good 50 degree slope in some spots).  Ive made a terrace recently, and two new 'raised' vegetable beds for cucumbers and onions. Those seeds went in two days ago, so we're still waiting on them to come alive as well.

Here's a view of the second new veggie bed, with three other new seedling (bean and paprika) containers below.

I gave these guys a quick drink so they wouldn't dry out completely in the hot afternoon summer sun...but I'll be back tonight to water the whole area...and then tomorrow, and the next day, it never ends.

And from above...two new vegetable beds with green beans and paprika pepper ready to sprout below.

I feel like I've certainly accomplished my mission of planting something new today...what have you planted recently?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Event Recap: #4Good Brekky

From the first to the tenth of November, events are happening across Australia where social innovators and entrepreneurs are getting together to bring social change to life.  Add More Green chipped in by hosting a #4Good Brekky; a place for changemakers to enjoy great coffee, breakfast, and conversation with people who are working to make the world a better place.

We collaborated with The Empire Cafe to provide a comfortable space for discussion and inspirational thinking.  Below are some images of how I got the discussion going amongst participants.  Our topics were community, entrepreneurship, social innovation, and sustainability; I worked towards each of us defining these topics in our own words...

Going in to the discussion, my objective was for everyone coming to learn about one topic/idea (at least one) that they didn't know before coming.  Working in social change, we all have our own communities and tribes that we correlate and correspond with most frequently.  By learning new ideas, and seeing how those concepts work with other communities, it's inspiring to learn how we can adapt those strategies to benefit each of our individual communities.

Here's a recap I sent out to participants of what we learned, and what we can work on moving forward:

Hi Changemakers,

Thanks for joining our first #4Good Brekky in the Byron Shire.  It was really motivating to hear all the positive work people are doing in our community and globally.  As a recap, I wanted to provide some understanding of what we all seem to agree upon.

Community: common unity, a conscious collective, shared experience, desire of an individual to connect around a shared idea, togetherness
Entrepreneurship: one or more who ‘manifests’ ideas, the courage to share your ideas with the world, mindset/skillset to break down barriers, addressing needs
Social Innovation: necessary or optional positive interest, using entrepreneurship to facilitate change in community, addressing needs
Sustainability: to ensure longevity of resources, ecological balance, paramount to the triple bottom line, full use of resources, creating massive surplus that enriches the whole system to continue operating

Some innovative ideas we discussed:
- We discussed the plans Simon has to establish a Byron Precinct for Global Solutions, find out more here: We discussed the Byron Bay events app that Horst is working on, find out more here: Upon leaving, Jacquelina and Judy each mentioned transportation (including cycling) and the need for a more community-oriented method of transportation in the Byron Shire (even the idea of a light rail)…

Some conclusions we came to after defining our topics:
- there are heaps of innovators and entrepreneurs in our area, and there are plenty of community oriented individuals locally
- we lack risk takers, we lack the spirit that actually brings these community members together, we need to motivate these individuals to stand up and actually fight for the community they believe in

Moving forward, I’ll be working to tackle this issue, finding ways to motivate our community to actually BE A COMMUNITY!

I’m also keen to explore the space Paul was discussing, crowdfunding for the Byron Shire.  As a crowdfunding expert (from an online perspective) I’m not sure the internet is the way to go for our community.  However, I’m interested in the idea of an Elevator (Rocket) Pitch competition for our community.  The chance for innovators to pitch their ideas to the individuals (and wallets) they are affecting the most…let me know if you want to continue discussing this idea.

Thanks again to everyone who joined our first rural #4Good Brekky, and let's keep this momentum going.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

What's For Dinner?

It's been a while since I've done a feature on What's For Dinner? we have a sampling of some greens and veggies to add into tonight's mix.  Radishes are still growing really well here.  It's simply a matter of planting some seeds, waiting a few weeks and then planting some more seeds; that way there's always a crop to be harvested.  Some parsley and chives to add some flavour to the relatively bland kale.  Some silverbeet that I stir fried with the kale, and some lettuce for a salad.  Organic gardening is so easy, and tastes so good!

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Add More Green by Nick Kovaleski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.