Growing on the Marginal

At the end of November we joined Lisa on the foothills of kunanyi, nipaluna, on muwinina country (South Hobart). It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about productive use of marginal spaces.There was so much to take in and here are just a few favourite elements of the visit.

Lisa welcomed us and recapped the known history of the land they are currently stewarding. She recalled the amount of advice received against settling in their location because it is a steep. south facing block that for two months of the year barely gets any sun on much of the garden area.
Clearly, Lisa and her partner Ant love a challenge and by gosh they have they risen to it!

The three main aims of Lisa and Ant’s design are: 1. Creating a haven for them, their friends and family 2. Building greater self resilience and 3. Providing improved habitat for wildlife.

Located on the sunniest part of the block, the house was originally from the North West Coast. The previous owners had it cut in half for transport and then reunited it on site in South Hobart. The roof is now home to solar panels that make the most of all the sun it receives year round.
(The practice of relocating houses is much more common on the mainland than Tasmania. Heather has previously written about her family’s house relocation here.)

Worm farms and weed fertiliser production occurs beside a pomegranate tree in a space that was once devoted to a clothesline and since removed.
And their washing? It is dried in the carport area, inside the house on raised lines or, if needed, our intrepid mountain dwellers strategically use a clothes drier during the daylight hours so it will be powered by their solar.

Fertilisers that were brewed in an old fermenting barrel decanted into empty gin bottles.
The beauty of a figgery – both the word and the realisation of a fig mini orchard on the patio.
Looking back down towards the house, citrus trees have been planted in this protected, sun catching pocket of space.

The margins beside the stairs up the slope are also home to scented herbs, flowers, shrubs and vines. Lisa keeps some of their gifts in her pocket when leaving home as their scent provides a bit of a nature boost during longer days working in an office or less delightful smelling places.

Throughout the walk and talk Lisa chatted to us about
– Gardens for wildlife
– Food forests
– Gardening in raised beds and how to keep them hydrated
(read more about the ollas in Helen’s linked post below)
– Top bar bee keeping
– Using green houses to extend your growing season
– Incorporating quail and chickens into your system
– Utilising our “waste” and that of others to nourish our soil

A berry protected sanctuary to obtain a yield.

Lisa explained that when they first moved here, there were many canes of one kind of delicious raspberry. These produced fruit for two months of the year. By changing things up and diversifying raspberry varieties, their berry harvest period has been effectively extended to 6 months. Of course there’s also the added interest to their dessert bowls!

Quail playground.

Lisa’s Zone Two includes a food forest and their happy chickens and quails.

Many leafy greens like kales, mizuna, mustards etc have made themselves comfy in the food forest. They self sow themselves there and this frees up more space in the annual beds for other veggies.

For specific shade tolerant vegetables and tips on growing them this post covers lots of what Lisa chatted about throughout the tour. I’ll add mention of Lisa’s tamarillo trees (not to be confused with tomatillo) and her chillean guava shrubs (ugni molinae) as food forest options that that can do very well in part shade and even less sun.

No get together is complete without a catch up cuppa, chat and the sharing of surplus which the group enjoyed before heading home with full arms, heads and hearts!

Massive thankyou to Lisa for organising and hosting a wonderful visit to her permie patch! You can read another perpective on this visit from PT member Helen here.

Community Climate Expo Day

Permaculture Tasmania (PT) was one of several informational stall holders at the Clarence Climate Action Community Expo on Saturday 17 Nov.
The event, that brought together around 100 people, was a first for Clarence and judging by the number of positive responses and lingering attendees, it won’t be the last.

After a pretty special Acknowledgment of Country from Janice and Jamie from Seedmob, the engaging lineup of speakers were informative and diverse in topic.

Alternative economies was the PT stall theme for the day. Katie and Gemma from the Eastern Shore/Hobart Local Group chatted to folks about different opportunities available in communities to share resources, skills and time for getting things done – without depending solely on dollars for everything.

There was no shortage of examples:
Community Exchange Network Tasmania (CENTs)
Repair Cafes Hobart Repair Cafe
Tool Libraries &
Libraries of other things Hey Fritz
Seed Banks Cygnet Seed Library
Produce & Surplus swapmeets / Crop Swaps
Work Exchanges ~ wwoofing / help-xing

~ Little Free Pantries/Produce Stalls
~ Buy Nothing Groups  or Good Karma Groups  
~ Street or Little Libraries

Thanks to the Rotary Club of Bellerive for lending us a Little Library for our display props!

PT would love to hear of local Tasmanian examples of alternative economies you have seen or participated in that help build individual and community resilience where you live or work.

Tag us on Facebook, drop us a line – or even better a pic and a line, so we can share the inspiration with our members!

Join the committee – communications roles

Do you love sharing useful and motivating info/news?

Are you switched on to social media (IG or FB fluent)?

Do you know your way around newsletters or Mailchimp? Or perhaps you enjoy writing copy for eNews or the web?

Or have you had experience with WordPress websites? Or would you like to gain some?

Perhaps you excel at connecting groups, sharing info and keeping people in the loop?

If any of the above contributions caught your imagination and you have 1-2 hours/week to volunteer, read on….

PT is on the look out for at least 2 awesome committee members. We’re looking for folks who can help share the communications load (and love) more widely.
Permaculture experience is desirable but having some understanding of permaculture’s breadth, beyond the garden, is a great starting point too. More importantly you are keen to learn, share information and skills, and do good things!
Interested? Email and tell us a little more about your particular interest/skills and provide a couple of examples (where relevant to your area of interest).
Then let’s chat further!

2020 AGM round up

It was great to meet and catch up with everyone who attended the Permaculture Tasmania (PT) Annual General Meeting at RESEED on Saturday 19 September. The AGM Meeting video, Minutes and Reports are available to members through the members portal.

News from the day includes welcoming Melissa Thurling and James Cleave to the PT Committee.
Melissa joins us as Secretary (commencing in early November) and James’ ongoing work on our website development and tech support at events has been formalised as he officially joins the PT crew. We look forward to further introducing Melissa and James to the membership.

AGM proceedings and discussions on the day highlighted that our volunteers are committed to providing members with ongoing value in 2021 and beyond. Amidst challenges of covid times, this will include the invitation to our membership for greater input on PT’s direction going forward.

For now the role of president remains vacant. Details about the role are available here if you are keen to get involved with bringing about these changes. And we are thrilled to have a nominee available in the new year if the role remains vacant at that time.
We shall advertise for expressions of interest in committee roles assisting with communication through social media, our website and newsletter so stay tuned 🙂

Nick Towle, co-directer of RESEED, introduces RESEED at the beginning of the property tour.

If you missed the RESEED taster tour that followed the AGM you can still catch it on our YouTube channel here.

Nick Towle, co-directer of RESEED, explains how sloped banks of the orchard had been used by previous stewards of the property and the ideal way to collect nuts from a possible future orchard extension.

Two enjoyable afternoon discussion sessions – alternative economies (led by Nick Towle and Robin Krabbe) & permaculture and climate change (led by Nick Towle and Caroline Smith) provided thought provoking ideas, lively discussion and resources for follow up.

An enormous thanks once again to Nick, Michelle and the awesome team at RESEED for hosting us, providing an incredible homemade lunch and refreshments offering, all within covid safe guideline! What legends.
You can read more about RESEED here.

Sam & Emily’s Visit

Meet Hobart/Eastern Shore local group members, Sam and Emily, featured in the most recent of PIP magazine #17. Even more recently Sam and Emily hosted a property tour for group members who were interested in seeing a permaculture design making its way from paper to reality.

Sam and Emily walked us through the many elements of their permaculture design, created with them by Good Life Permaculture, for their suburban property. They discussed implementation of the design and the different challenges and solutions used to over come them.

Eastern Shore Local Group member (and long time blogger) Helen has written about the visit with photos included. Here is the first of three posts Helen has written for her blog. Happy virtual visiting!

Join the PT committee…

Come and be our new boss!
Join the PT committee in the role of President.  

This is a minimum 1 year volunteer position based anywhere in Tassie. 

You’ll be joining an awesome team of folks who are involved in permaculture across Tassie. You don’t need to be an expert in permaculture – or anything else for that matter.  The main criteria for our team is having skills and enthusiasm to get involved, get things done, and have an interest in learning more. You’ll also need to be a current PT member.


  • support from a team of like-minded folk for ideas and endeavours to promote, support and inspire permaculture living across Tasmania.  
  • face to face committee planning meetups and shared meal at a rad permie inspired venue (6 monthly) with fellow committee members . (Can be attended via zoom if unable to make it in person).
  • represent PT at events (permaculture and sustainable living events and expos)
  • connect with permie elders and newbies, and everyone in between, providing a rich tapestry of inspiring and enriching conversation, opportunities, experiences and learning opportunities.

President duties include:

  • chair the Committee meetings and AGM
  • media focal point (with Events Officer)
  • strategic planning and communication and consultation with members e.g. surveys
  • with Vice President, works on partnerships and cross promotion of PT with other organisations. And with the Membership Officer for member benefits.
  • work with Newsletter Officer, Events Officer, Social Media volunteers to ensure appropriate public image including social media, website and communication materials.
  • with relevant team member(s) including VP ensure appropriate briefing and recruitment of team members, and update of procedures document (with Secretary and PO).

Interested? Email and let us know why you’re interested, and what experience and skills you can bring to the role. 
(Permaculture qualifications although highly regarded are not essential.)

Growing Mushrooms at Home with Will Borowski of Forest Fungi | Free Webinar | Thursday July 30th. 7:30pm.

Join mushroom expert Will Borowski for a lively discussion presented and hosted by Permaculture Tasmania on growing mushrooms in your own home.

Which types to start with? What can you grow them on? During the webinar, you will have the opportunity to ask all your questions directly of Will.

Will has been growing mushrooms professionally as well as teaching mushroom cultivation around the world for almost twenty years. He is the proprietor of Forest Fungi.

Permaculture Tasmania’s Winter Webinar Series is a collection of live recorded discussions with experts and thought leaders on topics related to permaculture, gardening and regenerative design. They are hosted by PT thanks to the support of our membership, but are available to anyone interested in these subjects. So please feel free to share them far and wide!

Here is the link to register for the webinar. Registration is free but required. And if you sign-up now, Zoom will add a reminder to your calendar.

Making Permaculture Stronger with Dan Palmer | Free Webinar | Thursday 18th June. 7:30pm. AEST.

Join podcaster, theorist and permaculture designer, Dan Palmer, for a discussion and Q&A on permaculture’s strengths and shortcomings, how the movement has evolved and what we all would like to see happen next.

Is the future of the movement suburban? Is it broad acre? Wither the herb spiral? Register below and find out!

Permaculture Tasmania’s Winter Webinar Series is a collection of live recorded discussions with experts and thought leaders on topics related to permaculture, gardening and regenerative design. They are hosted by PT thanks to the support of our membership, but are available to anyone interested in these subjects. So please feel free to share them far and wide!

Here is the link to register for the webinar. Registration is free but required. And if you sign-up now, Zoom will add a reminder to your calendar.