Hi Guys and Gals,
I have been reading the forums here for a couple of months and have finally decided to become a member both here and on PRI. Here I'll keep a log of our urban permaculture effort.
A bit about us:My partner and I have recently begun building our future home and permaculture will be a large part of our landscape design. We currently live in a VERY small rental and do as much as we can in pots etc. I grew up on quite a bit of land though and we always collected water, raised stock and grew a lot of our fruit and veg. I can not wait to get back to it!
Goals:I keep and propagate stingless native bee hives and will have lots of hives on the property. I also keep quite a few honey bee hives though only a few will be kept on our plot (Most of these I actually keep on my parents and friends properties).
We would like to grow almost all of our veg and a great deal of our fruit.
We will have a section of native garden at the front of the block. This will provide habitat for native animals and almost all plants will be flowering species for the bees.
The plot:I have attached a little sketch up drawing showing the site, topography of the land and North. The block is 2270 square meters (just over half acre) and is situated 40km south of Brisbane. The house position is set due to other compromises so we will just make the best that we can of it.
The site is a corner block that slopes down on the diagonal and faces East (again on the diagonal). This was a preference for my native bees They love/need the morning sun.
Across the road on both sides is native bushland reserve full of flowering gums and wattles, perfect forage for the bees and a great scene to look at. The road only needs to be used by 4 properties despite being in a semi suburban area due to the bushland reserve/creek wrapping around the bottom of the block.
There are no trees on the block and the soil is 1m or sandy loam fill on top of moderately reactive clay.
Annual rainfall 1113mm on average.
The houses roof water is collected in a 31500L water tank.
There is a home sewage treatment plant that has an underground leach field. We cannot plant a great deal above this, the current plan is a native grass area / long lawn (I want clover but that pretty much guarantees stings on what will probably be the only open area). The leach field is in the south east corner of the block.
So far:Not heaps that we can do before building is finished (once it's started). So far we have gotten approval to remove the hoop pine street trees and have since replaced them with the endemic small flowering gum (Eucalyptus Curtisii). This will prevent future shade and debris problems from the pines and the mass flowers of this species gives the street trees a double use (bees love them). I also have a collection of plants ready to go as soon as we can start planting. I will update this thread as we go along
Gilbert Fritz wrote:What kind of stingless bees? Are they just for pollination? I thought stingless bees were mostly loners.
Hi Gilbert. The main species I keep is Tetragonula carbonaria but they are very similar to the other social stingless bees found worldwide in the tropics. Just think small, black stingless honey bee. They are great little pollinators (used commercially for some crops, the main one being macadamia). I used to muck around collecting honey (about 1kg a year) and it certainly has a very special taste to it. Now days I propagate/split the hives as much as possible and so I don't rob them. Here is a pic of some hives I knocked up this week. Typical honey bee on the right. Stingless bee hives on the left.
Here is the plan so far. If anybody has any advice please give it I hate wasting the home sewerage treatment plant drain field so will if possible keep a chicken tractor on that area. If that is a no go then I will keep the honey bee hives there. The stingless bee hives will be everywhere throughout the garden, they don't need the access and work that the honey bees do.
I am undecided on where the workshop will go but possibly up the back on the uphill side of the drain field facing east/west facing the road. It would be a one garage workshop and I could possibly have access from the road on that side if needed.
Another part of me says maybe I don't need one just yet. My parents live close by and have an amazing workshop that I still keep most of my tools in. hmmmm.
Couple of soft splits ready to come off... hopefully
The one on the left is on the front of one of my old mans and pops old style hives. Basically a log ground out inside and cut into segments that sit on top of each other with a solid bottom and top.
Also have made a trellis and planted grapes and passionfruit along the back fence and picked up 30 barred plymouth rock eggs that are now on the cook House is coming along too, windows and doors are in and roof is on.