Building with Strawbales Workshop October 26 & 27, Matrix set designer makes model of The Food Forest, Gawler Sustainable Living Festival, Seasol, sex and apple crops and more...

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Food Forest News: September 28th 2013

Welcome to the Food Forest E-newsletter: it's about self reliance, new design tricks and good things that are happening in our community. If you received the newsletter you may well be subscribed… but if not, subscribe via our website.

Public workshops for self-reliant living

This weekend sees the opening workshops for Spring at The Food Forest. On Saturday 28th is the full-day of learning about Fruit & Nut Growing and on Sunday 29th Organic Vegetable Growing & Free Range Poultry are in the spotlight.
Other upcoming courses: Make your booking/s here...

Set designer from ‘The Matrix’ helps to model Permaculture design

Tom Davies, who makes detailed models for blockbuster movies, travelled to The Food Forest to undertake a permaculture design course and has stayed on to supervise our team building a detailed model of the property to help us with the difficult task of explaining how designs are decided and how they work. Unlike most of his models it with not be blown-up or sunk by a torpedo; it will be a vital resource used to immerse visiting school students in permaculture thinking.

Gawler hosts Sustainable Living Festival

The Gawler Regional Natural Resource Centre will hold a Sustainable Living Festival on Sunday October 13th 2013, 10am-3pm at 8 Adelaide Road, Gawler South.
The festival aims to teach, inspire and encourage the community to adopt sustainable living practices into everyday life. There will be guest speakers and lots of exhibitors with info on energy audits, organic gardening, wicking beds, green cleaning and electic cars! Bring along your excess fruit and veg and take part in the Gawler Garden and Produce Share. Raffles, competitions, festival discounts on products for sustainable living, native animals and kids’ activities will be available on the day.

Visit the Gawler Regional Natural Resource Centre's website or check out the flyer for more information.

Seaweed as a growth promotant for pistachio flowering

After reviewing trials done using kelp extract, The Food Forest is using commercial strength certified organic seaweed extract to stimulate root growth and flowering after this year’s warm winter. Naturally occurring growth hormones in the kelp have been found by Clemson University and Virginia Polytechnic to increase growth rates by over 50%. The application rate is 3 litres per hectare and can be by foliar spraying or fertigation.
Naturally there needs to be adequate nutrition in the soil to support the growth. This has been provided at The Food Forest by a dressing of certified organic compost (during winter) at the rate of 22 cubic metres per hectare.

Sex and better apple crops


pheromone strips

Codling moth is a small insect with coppery coloured wings that causes massive damage to apple and pear crops worldwide. During a warm night in spring, conditions will be right for the pupae (mainly found under bark or in the debris on the ground around tree trunk) to hatch and fly up into the tree. The female moths wait there to be mated by males before laying their eggs in the tree.

Japanese researchers have been able to synthesise the pheromone (sex attractant scent) which enables the male moths to find the females for mating, and have produced plastic strips impregnated with the scent. They can be used to either trap the males or to overwhelm an orchard with the scent, making it impossible for the males to find the females, who get sick of waiting to be mated and lay sterile eggs.

The Food Forest has eliminated any need to use toxic sprays and optimised yields and quality through a combination of these pheromone strips and running poultry through the orchard.

It's clean-out time for drip irrigation

lettuces under irrigationWe use a combination of rain water, river water and bore water to irrigate parts of the property and by the end of summer the use of bore water causes a build-up of bicarbonate salts in drippers, especially in dripper tape, which is used for the market garden. This leads to uneven watering or complete blockage. A couple of times through the growing season we suck a citric acid solution (using an off-the-shelf fertigation device) into the irrigation water to drop its pH to 3.5 (slightly acidic) and leave it for an hour to dissolve the precipitated salts before flushing the lines with normal irrigation water.

Mass flowering of Macadamias and Pecans

The warm winter has really agreed with maccas and we have seen our biggest flowering ever! Don’t forget that The Food Forest stocks Australia’s best range of specialised nut crackers at budget prices. See them in our online shop...

New vegetables shape cuisine

Captain Cook took the first potatoes to New Zealand in 1769 and Maori gardeners were quick to realise that they had a wonderful new vegetable. By the time he returned on a voyage less than 10 years later, potatoes were being grown along the length of both islands. A number of European sailors were cooked along with potatoes at hangis, so expanding the cuisine of Aotearoa.
In South Australia we have also seen an expansion of the diversity of our food spectrum with wonderful species and new varieties brought here by migrants from all over the world. Our climate produces some of the world’s most flavoursome foods, with the clear difference between summer and winter enabling us to grow species that evolved in warm and cool-temperate regions as well as those from the subtropics. When looking for exotic species for your garden, just follow your line of latitude around the world. Adelaide is 35 degrees South; and 35 degrees North is just as rewarding!
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