All posts by murrnong

Autumn house, garden and farm tour

We are in our super busy time here at Murrnong right now, in late December, with Cecilia away visiting her family and leaving a big hole in the Murrnong team. We are working hard to keep up with the summer fruit ripening – mulberries, apricots, and Morello cherries just now – and the return of face to face farmers’ markets. We’ll be at the Lancefield farmer’s market this Saturday, 19th Dec, or call in to our farm shop during business hours (fresh fruit for your pavlova!).

We are also planning for the year ahead, with our 2021 PDC starting in January, and our autumn tour in May.

Tickets are now available for our Autumn 2021 tour. You can buy tickets here, and read more about what to expect from a tour, here.

2021 Permaculture Design Course

Our 2021 PDC, six weekends over five months, takes place every third weekend from January 23rd through to May, 2021.

Follow the booking link for more information about the PDC, or go to murrnong.com/pdc

2021 Murrnong PDC, and more

The 2021 Murrnong Permaculture Design Course begins on Saturday Jan 23, and takes place over six weekends until May 16. All the dates and other details for the course are available here, and tickets here.

We are really pleased to have been able to add three new RetroSuburbia style house and garden retrofits to our site visits this year, and yes, these have been developed by previous PDC participants. Through these visits we engage with seven home gardens, seven house/ building retrofits, and 3 or 4 farm enterprises. We hear from at least eight women and eight men…. it takes a village to teach a permaculture course! Again this year one of those tutors is our special guest David Holmgren, who will be with us for the April weekend.

House, Garden and Farm tour, Sunday 6 December
Our ‘spring’ tour is a little late this year, and is coming up soon. Read more here, and tickets here.

Introduction to Permaculture, Numurkah, Sunday 29th November
This one is coming up really soon, this Sunday. If you live in or near northern Victoria, or are due for a visit, you can read more here, and get tickets here.

Internships and learning exchange at Murrnong
This is an opportunity to live and learn in the non-monetary economy. Internship tasks and program can be tailored to suit specific interests. Murrnong’s size, and diversity of elements, allow for a big range of tasks and allow for visitors to choose areas of responsibility.
There is even more scope for responsibility with Cecilia away for at least four months from December 2020. Read more here.

Mario and Reiko, November 2020

2019 Spring tour, workshops, and PDC at Murrnong

Here is what’s coming up this Spring at Murrnong.

Spring House, Garden and Farm Tour

Saturday 5th October 2019, at Murrnong

Workshops

Introduction to Permaculture, Alexandra

Sunday 8th September 2019, at a home and garden in Alexandra, Vic

Living and Working With Trees and Shrubs

Sunday 15th September 2019, at Murrnong

RetroSuburbia in Wangaratta

Sunday 22nd September 2019, at a suburban home in west Wangaratta, Vic

Permaculture Design Course

This is the one for a more extended, holistic, and wide-ranging learning experience. We can’t solve our problems with the thinking that created them. Starts November 23rd, seven weekends over seven months.

Murrnong house, garden and farm tour

Oct 2017 garden

Come join us on Sunday 5th May, 2 – 4.30pm, for a tour of Murrnong, from the inside out.

This tour is a window into what permaculture design applied to a property, and to life, can look like after 22 years. Murrnong has been evolving since 1996 from what was a grass field. These days Murrnong is a self-reliant home and farm, with food gardens, tree crop agriculture, and shelter forestry of trees and shrubs.

The two and a half hour tour will progress from the house, to the gardens, to the garden farming, tree crops, and forestry. See how considered permaculture design and ongoing management can lead to an inspiringly regenerated and attractive landscape that sustains family, friends, visitors, and customers. Get a sense of what productive downshifter life can be like.

Meet the chickens, Alfred the very friendly rooster, the milking goats, and the core of the Murrnong family, David and Cecilia.

Tea, coffee and produce available at the beginning and end.

Tickets available online here, or from our stall on Saturday 4th May at the Off Grid Living Festival.

And if you are going to the Off Grid Living Festival, David will be speaking on the Short Talks stage at 10.30am about the Journey from Consumer to Home Producer.

2019 Talk 2 David Arnold - consumer to producer

The Spring shift

Pasture growth is a grazing resource and our main soil development tool. In the tree crops at this time of year we mow to set back the grass, and free up the soil and water resources for tree growth and fruiting.

orchard

Winter grazing only removes about 50% of the leaf area, with very little root growth retardation. The pasture recovers very quickly. The spring mowing removes almost 100% of the pasture leaf area, and substantially sets back the grass. Grass roots die, soil microbes decompose these, and tree roots and their fungal associates then explore those former grass root pathways for nutrients.

Early Spring this year saw cool weather, rain, a full soil profile of stored water, and surplus water in the upper profile.So we let the grass in the tree rows keep growing, using that surplus moisture, and adding more root material to the orchard soil.

Timing of the main Spring mowing depends mostly on water availability …. is the soil moisture better used for more grass growth, or saved for the trees?
Other factors we consider are
– availability of pasture for the goats, and of mown pasture for chicken forage
– very dense and vigorous grass growth competing with the trees…. size of trees vs the grass
– reducing fire risk for the coming summer, trying to allow time for surface mulch to begin to decompose
– use the tractor and fuel as little as possible while still maintaining good production and fire safety
– attraction and hosting of pollinators in the orchard other than honeybees, and insect predators for pest control services
– forage for honeybees, mainly the pollen resource for hive increase in Spring from capeweed daisy Arctotheca calendula

olives

This very dense grass growth among smaller trees in the olive grove was probably beginning to compete with the trees.

Closing circles

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Digging out the deep litter in the chook yard for use in the kitchen gardens. This wonderful rich compost soil will be great food for the soil micro organisms and for our veggies! The chooks really appreciate me digging around in the yard, a lot of compost worms are contributing to the chooks’ protein needs these days. I turn the litter a day before removing it to let the chooks scratch through it and eat all they want, since compost worms don’t survive in the gardens beds anyway.

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In the second half of the chook yard there’s the mountain of weeds I’ve been removing from the kitchen gardens the last two weeks. The chooks really like our kitchen and garden waste – brassica flowers, snails and celery seems to be their favourites. Happy, well nourished chooks reward us with more eggs!

 

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Welcome Cecilia

Our very happy news is that Cecilia Lundmark has come to live at Murrnong.

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Cecilia is an all round wonderful person who brings many skills and much awesomeness to Murrnong.

Cecilia and David were married in July, in her native Sweden.

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