Annette Jones

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since Nov 28, 2013
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Permaculturist and Seedsaver from NSW south coast Australia
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Schofields, NSW. Australia. Zone 9-11 Temperate to Sub Tropical
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Recent posts by Annette Jones

I agree with Ra, chayote or choko likes it's feet in shade but would climb up the bannister rails towards the sun and provide edible fruits. Even if it got too cold, the vine dies back over winter if mulched well and will regrow in spring as soil temperatures rise. Also coriander, I find, will grow in shade quite happily in spring and autumn, it likes between seasons best, and doesn't like hot sun, so the shaded area would be fine. Mints also prefer shade and/or morning sun. but need more water than other herbs.
3 days ago
These were very common in Australian homes. I still have my grandma's two, one in the kitchen and one in the laundry.

I use sunlight or velvet soap bars (the brand names here but any pure soap bar does the trick) - pure soap bars that have been around since the 1880s, also scrap soap pieces so nothing is wasted.

One tip grandma passed on was that when you have made your batches of soap, put them aside in a cupboard to harden so they last a much longer time than todays soaps that melt away too quickly. She used to have quite a few batches hardening and only started to use them after 6 or more  months. They lasted a long time.

Often the simplest things are the most useful and I think one of grandma's innovations that should be in every home today.

I have been so used to using these, it's been a case of 'familiarity breeds contempt', it never occurred to me to post on them, so I'm happy to see this thread start up.
3 days ago
I come from a 6th generation farming/seed saving family. Apart from the things others have suggested, one of the most valuable lessons my family have taught me through the years, is it matters where you live and the climate you live with.

Bearing this in mind take a walk around your town/area and see what is growing well locally and they will be your most successful. You can also chat with some of these gardeners and find what they do to achieve the best results in their patch.

I see people I teach here in our permaculture group get all excited by what they are reading in catalogs without even thinking to check out local plants.

You're quite right about books, they take you so far and then you find you need more.

Your suggestion (Number 2) Jump right in after you've had a good look around your local area works really well.

You'll have some failures, we all do, but you'll have more successes. Happy gardening.

1 week ago
Flora, Malabar spinach has a natural mucilage in the leaves, so when you add leaves to soups or stews it acts as a natural thickener, much healthier than using manufactured flours and you gat your greens at the same time :-)
2 weeks ago
We'll miss your activities. Enjoy your time. See you back in March with continuing news and tips I hope :-)
2 weeks ago
Definitely Dead Nettles on the hugel berm. Its scientific name "Lamium purpureum". Another so-called "weed" that is a completely edible wildflower packed full of vitamin C, Iron & fibre. A great medicinal herb.

The seeds contain an oil which contains those precious antioxidants. It tastes great not bitter at all, its actually related to mint so you can eat it raw fresh from the ground put  it in salads, teas, wines, balms, whatever you fancy.

This plant has been used for centuries for its medicinal benefits it's anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. It's traditionally used as a natural treatment for seasonal allergies the anti-allergy properties of purple dead nettle come from flavonoids. Flavonoids have the ability to reduce the release of histamine.

The leaves of the purple dead-nettle plant can also be placed on wounds or cuts to stop bleeding.

It's an incredible plant full of goodness, delicious, medicinal a true permie approved fun edible wildflower we can all enjoy and you've got them coming up all over the hugel.
2 weeks ago
Piqued my curiosity as to why the stove needs more wood than the RMH.

Love the "bling" effect of the lights backing the dish station, it has the makings of quite an exotic experience
3 weeks ago

Because Morells are a fungi they need to be with preformed organic material - something they can feed off as it breaks down, so just soil in your tub won't work.

I use partially broken down wood chip over a mix of soil, pine needles and mulch. I have pines and ash on the slope near me so am lucky in this regard.

I grow mine on a middle to upper slope, yours would need to be south facing, I'm facing the opposite direction here in Australia. If there are any live trees like ash, pine, elm. poplar, alder, apple - and oak and hickory where the fallen leaves form debris they feed off these, your morels are often found in the wild around these trees. My mixed forest area is also up from a small creek where they get a bit of humidity but not too much moisture. Give it another shot, hope this helps.
3 weeks ago
Stephen thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, you have such a lot going on I really appreciate it. I don't have your more extreme winter weather here in my part of Australia and have been fascinated with what you do in winter. Love your jacket by the way, it's an awesome pattern to follow.

I'm having similar results with my hugels though as I have planted a lot of what you have and have taken on some of what you did with the swampy one.

More trees and understorey shrubs grow here so I managed to microclimate part of my swampy/moister hugel to cope with subtropical as well as my usual temperate plantings. Got coffee, and guavas under the plantains, papaya, babaco and bananas with sweet potatoes and ginger and spearmint at the very bottom as a ground cover and am having great results. Have to keep giving away the mint though as it takes over quickly.

I'm loving some of your hints as to what worked and what didn't in similar areas to mine so am very grateful when tips on here turn out well.

Again, thanks for responding, it is very motivating :-)
1 month ago