This month at PSN: Christmas in July bush dance, new bulk PSN member discounts, setting up the PSN seed savers system. Plus information on the next Introduction to Permaculture course starting in August and much more!

News & Events
July 2017

Dan Smailes of Sydney Native Bees harvests some native honey. (Photo: Chris Koziarz)

There’s no escaping it for most of us, we live in a competitive, capitalist society where greed, acquisition, status, wealth and economic growth are all held in high regard by many. How would it be if we could work collaboratively for the common good by sharing resources and ideas?

Permaculture offers a beacon of hope with its three ethics:

  • Care for earth
  • Care for people
  • Fair share

Living skills, education, permabees and the monthly meetings all offer their own unique ways of learning and sharing. At our most recent monthly meeting one of our newly graduated Introduction to Permaculture students shared the process she and her partner went through in acquiring a property, retro-fitting for sustainability, designing their back garden using permaculture principles and putting some of it in to action in a permabee. Thanks Jess and Phil for your contributions.

This month, in a change of routine, we shall be having a permie social - a bush dance. Don’t worry if you can’t or don’t dance, just come along for the fun of it. 

At the time of writing, we are also hoping to have a live streaming event with Rosemary Morrow, prior to the festivities getting under way.

With the July monthly meeting becoming bigger than Ben Hur, we will therefore defer our planned clothes swap until August. 

Which gives me the opportunity to put a shout out for volunteers! Please contact me if you are willing to lend a hand with the clothes swap. Who knows what weird and wonderful outfits will appear!

Cecilia Bird, President PSN

  Events: Christmas In July
 PSN Monthly Gathering

7pm Monday 17th July
Lindfield Community Centre

We all know that Permaculture folk love to recycle! Well, this July, we’re recycling Christmas with a lively social event for a change. 

We’re bringing the Permaculture Community together with a bush dance to warm us up in the depths of winter.

Round up your gang, grab your partner or friend – although you don’t need really a partner at a bush dance - and swing on in to the Lindfield hall for a colourful night of bush dancing. The dances will be lively, good fun and they will all be demonstrated, so it’s no problem if you don’t know them. Just join in and enjoy yourself.

What an opportunity to ditch those gardening clothes and dress up, ready for a social night of fun surrounded by (recycled) Christmas decorations! There will be prizes for the most creative bush dance outfits, inspired by permaculture and/or Christmas.

Please bring an inexpensive gift (something that you have grown, made yourself or would like to pass on) wrapped as a Christmas present, to leave under the Christmas tree. When you leave, we’ll invite you to take a present left there by someone else.

Free for members, $5 for guests. 

Doors open at 6:30pm - a good time to check out our members' library & catch up with other PSN members. Please join us for a yummy Christmas-inspired supper after the dance.

From July 2017 - new Bulk Discounts for PSN Members: 

  • Fish hydrolysate
  • Double strength kelp
  • Charlie Carp 

From July, PSN members will be able to buy 500ml and 1 litre quantities of these products at our monthly Lindfield meetings.

Don't forget that we also have a supply of quality pond liner at a special PSN member price. To order pond liner, please contact Shawn on  0420 278 049.

Seed Saving Blitz: 
9.00am-12 noon, Sat 15 July (regular seed saving), 21 Scott St, Marsfield

Click here for details.


9.00am-12 noon, Sun 16 July (half day Permabee),
21 Scott St, Marsfield

In the Permabee, we will clear the area and set up benches for propagation, shade cloth and a seedling growing area.

PNB Gathering: Backyard Buddies, plus Eco market
7.15pm, Thur 27th July
North Narrabeen

Learn about the local wildlife in Sydney's north & how to make sure your backyard is a refuge for native animals.

More here.

News & Other Bits

Before: Jess gives a tour of her garden - note the area with the tree behind her where the wall will appear.

Many hands make great gabion walls - June permabee

Jess & Phil had the permabee team working hard on the 1st weekend in June to help build the next stage of their permaculture plan - a gabion wall. The wall allows one corner of the sloping garden to be levelled. If you missed the presentation at the Lindfield June gathering, check out these photos and the fabulous time lapse videos below.

After digging a trench and levelling the base of the wall, we added a gravel base. The wire gabion cages were placed on top and carefully filled with large, hand-split sandstone rocks at the front, with rubble and smaller rocks in the base. The back section was then lined with geotextile fabric to create a narrow garden bed inside the back of the gabion wall. What a brilliant design solution - attractive and functional at the same time!

The area behind the wall will be filled and levelled. 

Jess lays the first stone inside the supporting wire cage on the gravel base.

Large sandstone chunks are split and carefully arranged to fill in the front section.

The partially completed wall - still plenty of work left for Jess & Phil!

Watch the day unfold here in just one minute of time lapse videos!

Building a gabion wall - part one
Building a gabion wall - part two

Sue Patterson, Vice President

July Local Group Meeting

Erecting the cover over the chook pen

Getting a grip on pest protection

Saturday was a beautiful sunny winter afternoon in my backyard, and a group of very creative Permies gathered to create and learn about how to exclude possums, crows, cockatoos, bandicoots and other cute and charming wildlife from what we plant to eat for ourselves. First idea was to erect a high net over my chook yard and fruit trees. My plans of a net supported by pipes in an arc above the trees, turned out to be not so brilliant, but ingenuity (and a lot of effort) triumphed  and the net is in place.

Diana Watson demonstrated and created (ably assisted by others) a moveable, foldable, wire netting cage with a lid that can be easily shifted  to protect new seedlings  or be a moveable but safe cage for quale (a quale tractor) or for guinea pigs or anything.  Throw over clear plastic or shade cloth and thus adjust the seasons for seedlings.

And a new theory – a stocking stuffed with dog hair hangs in my lemon tree to discourage the ravenous possums; recommended by WA Dept. of Agriculture. On only a two-day trial, it seems hopeful.

Many thanks to those wonderful people who worked creatively to make safe havens for our animals and plants. It was a great afternoon.

Di Evans, Co-ordinator for Ku-ring-gai Local Group

What's coming in August ...

Moocooboola Festival, August 6

Packing the truck again ...

The Moocooboola Festival will be held on Sunday, 6 August at Boronia Park Oval, Hunter's Hill.

PSN has a stall at the festival and I would appreciate some volunteers to assist for a few hours during the day. There is plenty to see and do at the festival and there are plenty of activities for children. 

We will be able to sell plants if you have any that are ready.

I may be contacted on 0437 035 984.

Many thanks,
Bridie Carr, Shows Team

Next PSN Introduction to Permaculture Course starting August 19

You too can learn how to create swales!

Learn how to design your own Permaculture garden at our next Introduction to Permaculture Course – for a Springtime bargain price of $250 including text book.

Dates: August 19 – September 26 & October 14 - November 11 2017

We invite you to enrol for our Spring Intro Course, which has been extended to 10 weeks at no extra cost. If you cannot attend every week, please discuss this with us and we can make arrangements to help you cover the work. 

Click here to enrol. 

This is the best value course that we know of and it takes you behind the scenes to learn many permaculture secrets during visits to working permaculture gardens and sites on the North Shore.

You will see a community garden as well as large and very small private gardens, with examples of chickens and other animals contributing to a sustainable lifestyle. Other features include a straw-baled chicken house, food forests, an aquaculture system as well as ponds, water harvesting, solar collection systems and pest control systems. You will learn which plants work well together and how to create the most outstanding soil.

The PSN Garden Team offers students a permabee to help develop and transform their gardens to the magic that they have created in their new plans. Your co-students will provide great feedback and become your life-long permie buddies.

Please come and join us, this could be the beginning of the rest of your life

To download the flyer with more details to read and share, please click here.

Please share this information with your friends, family, and colleagues.

For further details, please contact Diana Watson 9416 2929 or Diana Evans 9416 1896.

Diana Watson & Diana Evans, Education Team

  Recipe: Honey Oat Bars

Another of Wendy Dwyer's favourites

1 cup rolled oats
1 cut sultanas
1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 cup raw sugar (Wendy uses 1/4 cup raw sugar or molasses)
1/2 cup coconut, or substitute with crushed nuts and seeds
155 grams butter
1 tablespoon honey

1. Combine dry ingredients
2. Melt butter and honey and add to dry mix
3. Mix well and press into greased slice tin (11x7 inches or 28x18 cm)
4. Bake in moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
5. Cut into bars when warm, remove from tin when cold.

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