So what is a Permaforce?

Have you ever looked out into your garden/backyard and dreamt of the way it could be?

With work, family commitments and general fast-paced schedule many of us can't create what we imagine could be, or on our own it takes a long time for what we image to come to fruition (then so often passion for a project gets consumed by overwhelm!) We all know what that feels like.

This is what a permaforce is for. When we gather together as one, awesome change happens, together we transform weedy or lawn abundant spaces into mulched havens for growing productive food forests, we bring order to chaotic, overgrown corners of the backyard setting people free be motivated for more. We sweat, sometimes bleed, laugh and and eat together doing what humans have done for time immemorial, get s**t done! 


Building Compost The Easy Way


It was so wet again today! And that is awesome for all of us leading into the dry season. 

Today our job was to build compost. The easy way. 

The easiest way: 

1. Put up a mesh circle (or anything with sides) making sure it is about 1 to 2 m square 

2. Pile everything in there (you could do this over time or in one big hit) alternating between green and brown materials 

3. Once full leave it alone for a few months = stuff good enough to chuck on your garden

The slightly more detailed way: 

1. Put up a mesh circle making sure it is about 2 m across. 

2. Add 200 ml layer (3 wheel barrows) of carbon material (brown hay, woodchip mulch, cardboard, sawdust, brown leaves). Mist with water till damp.

3. Add 150ml layer (2 wheel barrows) green materials (banana leaves, grass clippings, weeds that haven't gone to seed, tree leave clippings) Mist with water till damp. 

4. Add 50ml (1 wheel barrow) high nitrogen material (chicken poop, horse poop, kitchen scraps, animal carcasses etc)  Mist with water till damp. 

5. Repeat till the mesh circle is full.

6. Put a lid (200 ml) made up of an equal mixture of the Carbon, Green and Nitrogen materials on top. 

NOTE: To get the party really pumping chuck something dead in the middle of the pile while you are building it.  

7. Cover the pile with a tarp leaving the sides open

8. Spray the outside of the pile with water for 5 minuets every day for the first 10 days (or whenever it is dry out) 

9. This may be the trickiest part so just google it if your having trouble. Three days after you set up the pile shove your hand in around the edges, if it is too hot to keep you hand in there you've nailed it and it is in composting mode. If not check if it is too dry and give it a bit of a water from the top. If it is too wet your gonna have to pull off the wire basket and tarp and pull the pile apart a little. Put the basket and tarp back on but let it air out for a while. And sometimes if you don't put enough Nitrogen and greens in there, there isn't enough food for the bacteria to grown, but generally if you stick to steps 2 - 3 you'll be right. 


On Day 10 from when you started 

1. Pull the wire basket off and set it up right beside the pile

2. Take all the material from around the outside edge of the original pile and put it in the middle of the wire basket to form the "core" of the new stack

3. Continue till you fill up the basket, wetting down anything that looks too dry, all the materials will be mixed together now

REPEATE every 10 days 8 times = compost 


Some handy greens we pilchard off the fence over the road (Phil likes having a micro naps during work to keep up his energy levels) 

Some handy greens we pilchard off the fence over the road (Phil likes having a micro naps during work to keep up his energy levels) 



Mulch in my boots and feeling of satisfaction.

The new garden. 

The new garden. 

It is surprising how good a conversation you can have and the sense of togetherness that can be found even when you have wet clothes and mulch in your boots.

Today we completed the first stage of converting the backyard into a garden. We sprayed out the lines of the new garden bed with Spray Mark and did a no-dig method where we first put down a thick layer of cardboard (which we got for free from behind the Sarina Target and other cardboard given to us by IGA supermarket) then we sprinkled it with dynamic lifter and some coffee milk slops. Finally we spread a thick layer of hay (square bales and round bales, if you hunt around there is plenty of it on the rule properties around area set out for sale on the side of the road) and then a thinner layer of forest mulch over the top of that ($25 a load from Croydens).

Add to this a liberal dousing from this beautiful rain we’ve been getting and there you have it. A no-dig-great garden and a wonderful day of stimulating conversation. 


Hayley + Damion

Kia + Les

And those who came to watch and cheer us on.

On the 23rd of March we’ll be doing a workshop called "Building Compost the Easy Way", go to our Facebook page here to find out a bit more about it. 

And on April 20th we will be doing a "Backyard Permaulture Garden Design Workshop Day", go to our Facebook page here to find out a bit more about it. 

For this workshop we are asking for plant donations for the new garden.

Here is a list:

Plants we need.jpg

Let's Build A Community Garden

This year is going to be exciting and productive (hmm like the last few years have been!) 


We’ve been waiting a long time to start regular Friday working days for the Backyard Community Garden. The last time we all worked together on a community garden project was with Sarina Permaculture down at The Patch. Which is fine cos we've been doing lots of other awesome stuff in the meantime. Since The Patch days we’ve been meeting for the occasional workshops to make cool stuff like cheese and kimchi, and more regularly at the wonderful Home Grown Home Made trade days and also at each others houses for the ever-awesome Permaforces. 


But the finding and building of a new community garden space has been in genesis-mode since we wrapped up our adventure down at The Patch. When that journey ended we never stopped dreaming of finding a special place to grow a garden. A space that was beautiful, relaxing, inspirational and connective. A garden space that was always open and where everyone was welcome and one that had comfortable spaces to learn and share and talk about gardening in the tropics, the personal challenges we each are facing right now and the huge challenges our society will face in the future. We dreamt of a space to connect with other people who had our own outlook and those who challenged our outlook and through this connecting build long-lasting friendships (which we knew was the foundation of True Resilience). We knew that Sarina and the people who live here are special, that each of us have an important purpose we each need to, if not discover, than to understand and do.

Now the time has come. The Third Ground Backyard Community Garden is an opportunity to bring these dreams to life and most likely in the process create an even richer environment where greater dreams of the individual and collective can manifest.

To see what we will be doing on any given Friday and to find out about upcoming workshops check out the Third Ground Coffee House Facebook page here. Or next time you are in the cafe check out the Black-bord Calendar on the wall of the hallway.  

And if you'd like to know more about the Sarina Home Made Home Grown Trade Group just click here, it will take you to their Facebook page where you can ask questions and find out what people are growing and bringing to the next Trade Day. 

notice board blackboard in the cafe


the backyard as of right now...


Designing a Backyard Community Garden

Luke telling us how we can fit our desired elements into our Site Analysis Design 

Luke telling us how we can fit our desired elements into our Site Analysis Design 

So last year Luke Matthews and his lovely partner Harmony came down to do a Site Analysis for the Backayard. Luke has played an integral part in developing and spreading the message of Permaculture Design for the benefit of our lives and community through his work at the Mackay Community Garden and in numerous other ways around the community.

(If you'd like to get in touch with him and learn local permaculture principles from one of the best teachers in our region please call him directly on 0439495730.) 

It was an awesome, productive day and anyone who has been in the Backroom at Third Ground will have seen the final design plan drawn up on the whiteboard. 

Getting excited about the possibilities 

Getting excited about the possibilities 

We've been working on some more designs in anticipation for our upcoming workshops and the Friday's that we'll be working on projects to further develop the backyard. 

The Backyard design including a playground, undercover outdoor seating area and pizza oven space. 

The Backyard design including a playground, undercover outdoor seating area and pizza oven space. 

The playground dream

The playground dream

Like all designs first we start with imagination and a vision of what could be, but, truely,  it is in the physical manifestation where we do the real work of bringing something to life and quite often what you end up with is not how you began. But to start, now that is the key...





As mentioned above we will be running a series of workshops to teach the basics of how you too can transform your space into a productive, beautiful yet sustainable backyard. It has been our experience that when people come together to work on these projects they learn as well as teach each other, we don't know all there is to know...but we are excited to go on the journey with you.

Next Friday at 9 am on the 23rd of February we are having our first workshop of the year called, Grass To Garden, we'd love to see you there.