i took this photo in july 2010 after finishing phase one of the no-dig mandala beds. clare and alex had come down on a few weekends and lent their combined energy as we happily toiled together in the dirt. this was the weekend that clare & i integrated wool from our lovely organic neighbours into the mix. as seen the pond at this stage is a hand-carved hole in the clay [for future ponds a machine will probably be employed].
these three beds which sit in a semi-circle around the pond are closely based on linda woodrow's permaculture system. they still need to go a lot higher and are built like a terrine with newspaper, sheep's wool, water, pea straw, lucerne, mushroom compost, compost and NASAA certified organic soil mix.
soon the chook tractor will be activated, but first the hens need to be built a secure straw bale/mud brick home in what will be an adjacent anti-aviary filled with berries & currants suitable for growing in this rugged technically cool temperate climate [it freezes in winter & dry boils in winter]. i'm so excited about hens. and bees which will come late summer after my refresher bee-keeping course].
all material was brought in from outside, except for rocks. expensive and tediously slow process weekend by weekend weighing down my little suzuki vitara. although long term purchase will be a mulcher to utilise all the wonderful surrounding eucalypts.
before then however, the next project is a grey water reed bed which will be built up closer to the cabin where it will work in sync with a mechanical filtration system where all grey water including kitchen will be twice processed & filtered before being used to irrigate the garden. although it's been really hard to find a system which integrates solar. we are completely off the grid so rely on unpowered alternatives.
a lot of systems divert kitchen waste in with black water [stuff from your toilet] but because this is a vegetarian and sometimes seafood cabin with mostly organic waste i figure the oil breakdown shouldn't be as heavy as most kitchens.
obviously any cleaning products or agents have to be seriously vetted before being used within the system and anything containing sulfates is being phased out. white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda can actually take car eof most cleaning needs. lots of cleaning products are loaded with phosphates which can be positively converted to fertiliser for the soil. health soil is a healthy garden.
when i manage to collate my disparate photo collection i will post some very before images from when i first bought the property. they provide an excellent illustration of how very far we have come.