Earl Mardle's Blog (38)

Edible plants and fish in ponds

Since we moved to Bombay we have had a plan to turn some of a small swamp into ponds. The swamp is too small to be self sustaining and in last summer's drought it went from a reed bed to a Yorkshire fog home in less than a season.

So in November we had the digger in and created 3 new dams and their associated ponds which we didn't expect to have filled until next winter - expecting another dry summer. Nice theory.

Right now, as the rain falls again, one of the ponds is about to…


Added by Earl Mardle on January 4, 2014 at 9:49am — 2 Comments

Another response to the Self Sufficiency Myth

Laine has a link to a post by Toby Hemmenway about whether permaculture is capable of providing us with self sufficiency, self reliance etc and even whether that would be a good thing.

I think he misses the point.

Permaculture itself is a response to the question about how long we can go on using the land in an unsustainable way. To be clear about…


Added by Earl Mardle on February 13, 2013 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

Still looking for seedlings

Still on the lookout for both Wormwood and now Kumera tupu. While most of the seedlings and cutting survived the shift, both of those failed and I'd really like to get some kumera in the ground before its too late.

Anyone near Bombay know where I can get some? Please? Pretty please? With honey.

Added by Earl Mardle on December 4, 2012 at 1:01pm — 2 Comments

Houston, we have a problem

Anyone with an interest in pollination has been holding their breath for a decade now as CCD has ravaged hives in other parts of the world, especially the US. So it was not a surprise to wake this morning to this headline from the NZHerald

Wipeout threat for NZ bees

An Auckland beekeeper who has set up 300 hives around the region says his insects have started…


Added by Earl Mardle on September 10, 2012 at 7:44am — No Comments

Kumera Tupu

Turns out we can't shift house, get 10 acres organised and keep last year's seedlings alive for this year. There have been several casualties of distraction but the Kumera are the most important.

Anyone know where I can get about 30 seedlings within reasonable distance of Pukekohe?

Added by Earl Mardle on September 7, 2012 at 4:52pm — No Comments

Food resilience

Spot-on graphic that looks at why, despite the apaprent abundance, our food system is actually locked up by a very few organisations and therefore at risk both of manipulation and fragility when any of them hit a wall or get bitten by a Black Swan. 

Added by Earl Mardle on May 28, 2012 at 11:10am — 7 Comments

Propagating Comfrey

I've had great success propagating comfrey by digging up a root, cutting it into 2 cm pieces, taking a piece of 12mm rebar and jamming it into the group then dropping the root pieces into the resulting hole.

However, now that we have 10 acres, I need something more generous. There are large areas of terrace banking that need stabilising for example and doing the job at 2cm a timne is not going to cut it. 

I've been thinking about taking the root, tossing it through the mulcher…


Added by Earl Mardle on March 17, 2012 at 9:06am — 4 Comments

Weather stations

I like the idea of ever finer granularity of weather conditions so we can tap into our microclimates better.

More people are putting up their own mini stations and feeding the results to various places on the net.

I'd like to add one of my own but I'd appreciate some advice on what is the best and how much I should be paying for it.

Added by Earl Mardle on October 3, 2011 at 10:30pm — 4 Comments

Looking for a garden/chook/dog sitter

Once a year my wife and I spend a few days with friends touring a different wine region of NZ. This year it is Hawkes Bay. As the resident cardboard palate I am the designated driver so the rest of them can get slo... taste the local vintages.

However, since this always happens in November, there uis always a bit to do in the garden so we need someone with a keen gardening eye to look after the place.

We have two chooks, Flit and Snitch, who need feeding, watering, egg…


Added by Earl Mardle on September 13, 2011 at 8:13pm — No Comments

unSustainability has teeth

The news yesterday that crops are suffering from the warm, wet winter and that food prices have risen about 7.5% in the last year led, naturally, to today's story about Food banks becoming critical to a lot more people actually being able to eat.

But look at this from yesterday's Herald

The Queensland floods are being blamed for a massive increase in the cost of…


Added by Earl Mardle on July 14, 2011 at 9:28am — No Comments

An Ooooby-perspective on Unleashing Auckland

I like Len brown what on earth possessed him to go with the Auckland Unleashed branding? Aaack!.

Anyway, i think there is a case for Oooobyists to put together a proposal to the city while it is up for public submission until May 31.

Consider this a starter for 10 rather than  anything coherent.

It starts here I think. You might also want to look at this…


Added by Earl Mardle on May 11, 2011 at 4:15pm — 1 Comment

The Kumera Experiment

Last year we tried our first Kumeras and had a pretty solid failure, reasonable tops but manky little tubers. We decided that we would shift to the other - sunnier - end of the section this year and, reading that they preferred heat we put them into a tyre to build up the temperature. By late December they looked like this.…


Added by Earl Mardle on March 5, 2011 at 4:00pm — 16 Comments

Gardening for the 28th generation

A while back I came across this piece at NextWorldTV and it started me thinking, not about how we need to act to make our own lives possible and fruitful, but how our decisions can affect our descendants a very long way down the time line. Permaculture 300 Year Old Food Forest in Vietnam

This is what I think of as a paradise on earth -- a 300 year old food forest in…


Added by Earl Mardle on February 18, 2011 at 10:56am — 3 Comments

Austrian Oilseed Pumpkins - harvest time

These have been a fair success this year, last year we couldn't get them to germinate but this year we had a couple of healthy plants that produced 11 usable pumpkins and a couple of duds.

The duds picked up some kind of rot that rapidly took over the fruit and the results were not worth harvesting, flat, anemic seeds and collapsing…


Added by Earl Mardle on February 9, 2011 at 6:00pm — 6 Comments

Corn - the second sister coming in.

A while back I posted about our Three Sisters experiment and so far it has yielded several kilos of green beans and 11 Austrian oilseed pumpkins and there are about 15 other squash on the way, especially buttercup which is our favourite but a couple of others as well. They wont be ready for a few more weeks but right now we are getting into the second sister. Corn.… Continue

Added by Earl Mardle on January 24, 2011 at 8:22pm — 4 Comments

Meeting the 100 mile challenge

A while, back there was a TV Programme called the 100 mile Challenge which aimed to eat only those foods grown within 100 miles of the contestant. I suspect we are starting to get close if you average out the food miles on the plate.Successes

  • Home made bread
  • Home made green pasta sauce including
  • Home grown
  • Zucchini…

Added by Earl Mardle on January 22, 2011 at 3:13pm — No Comments

Weather change actions to take

With the sudden shift in weather from hot and dry to hot and VERY humid, (from under 60% and regularly under 55% to 82% right now) especially in the North of NZ, it seems to me there are a number of things gardeners need to make decisions about and I'd be glad of some input.

  1. I have a standard spray fungal/mildew resistance using baking soda and a splash oil cooking oil to help it stick to the plants but it should go on before the rain, is there anything you use afterwards?…

Added by Earl Mardle on January 18, 2011 at 11:30am — No Comments

Adventures with a Hobo Stove

I entertained my brother and son-in-law on New Year's Eve by giving them a couple of paint tins, (a 1 litre and a 2 litre) access to my workshop and one request, make me a hobo stove.

It took them most of the day but in the end we had a working stove. The outer can has 24 air inlets at the base. The inner can has plenty of air holes…


Added by Earl Mardle on January 5, 2011 at 5:12pm — 2 Comments

Looking for an osteopath

I know its off topic but I'm guessing people around here will have some clues about alternative and traditional medicine etc and I did my back the other day (reaching down to get a bottle of wine; didn't even get to grab it let alone drink it) and I've used osteos for years but not in Auckland.


Anyone have one they can recommend? The regsiter produces this list. Anyone know or able to comment on…


Added by Earl Mardle on December 30, 2010 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

Three Sisters in a tyre

From Garden


[Updated below] When I picked up a copy of Edible Estates (not a recommendation BTW) a while back, I came across the "three sisters" concept and decided to try it. We had our front lawn terraced over winter and I confidently expect never to mow it again, given its being buried under compost,…


Added by Earl Mardle on December 22, 2010 at 11:00am — 5 Comments

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