If you were ever looking for inspiration, or just wondering what might be possible on an average suburban block, Jetto’s Patch in Maida Vale has much to make you think.
Dario in the front yard, which they converted from lawn only 18 months ago!
Starting in 1989, but with the newest parts only 18 months old, Dario and Michelle grow something in the region of 500 edible species on their 1482 sq m block.
The Kitchen Gardeners were delighted to accept an invitation from Dario and Michelle to hold their March workshop at Jetto’s Patch. Some of us opted for the advertised potting seeds workshop, where we used some of our collected and donated pots, and made some out of newspaper following Debra’s expert instructions.
Most of us wandered about the verdant paradise admiring just how many plants and the amazing variety of edible plants it is possible to grow in Perth. There are the obvious ones like figs and grapes along with some very interesting ones that you would not expect to find thriving in Perth: arabica coffee, pineapples, cherries, raspberries.
Touring the chook pen and garden
It was a hot day, but the garden was lovely and cool
Lots of us took home a little piece of Jetto’s – sugarcane, perpetual pumpkin seeds and a renewed zeal for growing our own food.
If you missed out, Dario and Michelle love visitors – you can contact them via their Facebook page – JettosPatch
Dario’s raised beds made of left over concrete slabs and a metal frame
Calico fruit bags to protect fruit from birds and bugs
The latest meet of the Kitchen Gardener’s Society was all about keeping bees in the backyard. It was a lovely day, and more than one bee arrived to try to feed on the lovely cupcakes someone brought. For those that couldn’t make it, here’s a few tips I picked up from our bee keeper pro Peter Vedeniapine.
Why keep bees?
Honey of course! But they can also provide wax, pollen and more. Plus they’re vital for pollination. And it also looks rather satisfying.
What gear you need
- a bee hive (8 or 10 frame, full or shallow depth, 2 boxes minimum). Peter’s advice was to buy a flatpack from Guilfoyle’s (contact below) and build it yourself ~$180. Apparently Bees prefer the wooden frames, plus avoids plastic! Wire queen excluder is better.
- a smoker (can pick them up second-hand)
- Protective suit
- hive tool (for levering out frames and opening waxed up boxes) + brush (for brushing bees off frames, can use a dust pan brush)
Where to get bees and how to start a hive
There are two main ways to start a hive. Collect a swarm of wild bees or buy a queen. Collecting a ready-made swarm sounds good and it’s free, but you have to keep in mind, they could be more aggressive than bred bees. If you purchase a queen from Guilfoyle’s or a breeder, you’ll also need to buy some frames of honey and brood cells to get them on their way. Or if you’re lucky, you might have a friend who could give them too you.
Purchase and hire of bee equipment, along with some advice available from Guilfoyle’s in Midland.
When choosing a spot for your hive, make sure the flight path (opening) wont be in the way of garden access. Ideally face the entrance NE, so the sun wakes them up. It can help to have some protection on the West face to keep them cool in summer, but not essential, bees are pretty hardy.
- Get good quality equipment
- Calm bees mean a happy bee keeper!
Chickens are the perfect animal for a permaculture system. They convert food scraps to eggs, clean up weeds and fallen fruit and are a great source of manure – the skill is to set them up to work for you and not against you!
In July the TTG Kitchen Gardeners’ Society are meeting to learn about keeping backyard chooks. If you want to know how to set up a run for happy chooks, how to feed and care for them, and how to choose the right chickens for your requirements, then please join us.
We’ll also be talking about adopting battery-farm hens: where to get them, the advantages and disadvantages, and how to provide for their unique needs.
As this event is at a private home space is limited and bookings are essential. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Elizabeth on 0417 718 051 to RSVP.
When: Sunday 1st July 2012, 1.30 – 3.30pm followed by tea and scones
Where: Marmalade Cottage, Midland (RSVP for address)