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  • Writer's pictureHuttons Valley Permaculture

It's berry season!

Blackberry plants have certainly made their mark across parts of Australia. In moist temperate areas they just grow rampantly. Down by Coalition Creek, the little waterway running along the bottom of the property here, blackberries have formed an almost impenetrable barrier such that you can't even get to the water. Year after year the newer canes climb higher up on the previous seasons dry canes and it creates quite a fire hazard. Down the track I plan to have goats to manage this growth and give some native species a chance to reestablish.

In the meantime I'll choose to look at what these plants give in the way of a harvest! I've made fermented blackberry leaf tea in spring and now in summer there’s the berries themselves. Yesterday I just grabbed a few to make a delicious berry pudding and maybe some wild berry soda. I’ll return to the patch before the birds get too many and gather enough for a batch of jam. Certainly still plenty out there at the moment.

After chores, moving my shredding pile and some wood, I continued on with the new bee hive construction. Began painting a couple more boxes and finished getting my frames together. I rendered down some beeswax and used it to coat a few of the new frames. I’ve recently learnt by doing this gives the bees a head start with comb building and can then get into nectar storing a lot quicker. Only had enough wax for three frames but enough to test out this idea.

As I wander around the place I’ll often see an opportunity to harvest a few leaves, branches or grass for a quick mulching session. As I was passing the rhubarb I noticed the leaves turning a beautiful colour as they were dying off. Rhubarb is often included in a permaculture design not only as a food source but as a great source of mulch. On this occasion I harvested the leaves and mulched the base of the plant itself to protect and feed the soil that in turn feeds the plant.

I’m sure plenty of people looking at my kitchen garden see a wild, at times overgrown, mess but in reality it’s nature doing it’s thing. Harvesting sunlight and storing the energy in plant form. It’s then up to us to choose when to harvest this energy and use it to advance our system.

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