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July Newsletter

2020 has been a year of unexpected challenges as we adapt to the new normal created by a worldwide pandemic.  In our gardens the unpredictable weather conditions during this mild winter have brought a little rain, many warm sunny days, and blossoming fruit trees that seem confused by the seasons.  

One important constant has been the support and sharing of this interconnected permaculture community.  Thank you for joining us via our online Zoom events and for your positive interactions on our Facebook Group.  During times of change, we can continue to empower each other by sharing skills, knowledge and resources - very important ways to build resilience.

We're excited to be able to return to our first face-to-face event (with appropriate COVID-safe distancing and care) on Sunday 2 August for our Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop presented by Justin Russell.  We hope you can join us.  Please see full details below.

David Holmgren's Permaculture Design Principles

1. Observe and Interact

"By taking the time to engage with nature we  can design solutions that suit our particular situation.

This icon associated with this design principle represents a person becoming a tree.  In observing nature it is important to take different perspectives to help understand what is going on with the various elements in the system. 

The proverb beauty is in the eye of the beholder reminds us that we place our own values on what we observe, yet in nature, there is no right or wrong, only different."

Events - What's Planned?

We hope you can join us for these upcoming events.

Practical Workshop - Fruit Tree Grafting

Sunday 2 August
at Titan Garages and Sheds, 17 Rocla Court, Toowoomba
2.00pm - 4.00pm
Presented by Justin Russell

Bookings are absolutely essential.
Book here

This workshop will also be video-recorded and made available to financial members who are unable to attend in person.

This workshop is FREE for financial members of Permaculture Toowoomba Inc. and every member will take home one bare-rooted, grafted apple tree to grow in a large pot or in your garden.


Would you like to know how to graft your own apple trees?  If so, this practical hands-on workshop will cover everything you need to get started.

You’ll Learn About

  • Rootstock (we’ll be using MM102 rootstock which is recommended for apples in our area)
  • Scionwood (we’ll have scionwood from 10 different varieties of apple trees to choose from to graft onto the rootstock)
  • How to create a whip and tongue graft using a grafting knife and grafting tape
  • Tips on renewing old fruit trees

We’ll start with a practical demonstration from Justin, and then we’ll work in small groups (a few people at a time to ensure COVID-safe distancing protocols) to practice our grafting techniques to prepare our own grafted apple tree.  Justin will be available to assist as needed.

You’ll Take Home

  • One bare-rooted grafted apple tree (a variety of your choice) ready to grow in a large pot or to plant in your garden.  One apple tree will be provided at the workshop as a free gift for each financial member.
  • You’ll also have the option to purchase extra apple trees to graft (rootstock plus scionwood) at $10.00 each or 5 for $40.00.  If interested, please select and pay for this option when you register for the workshop via EventbriteNumbers available will be limited.
  • Justin will also have some pear scionwood for people to take home if you’re interested.

What to Bring

  • Grafting knife (if you have one).  We’ll have a few available to use at the workshop.
  • Secateurs (if you have them).  We’ll have a few available to use at the workshop.
  • Plastic bag or similar to protect and take home your bare-rooted apple tree
  • A fold-up chair. We’ll work in small groups so you’ll have an opportunity to chat with like-minded people while you’re not grafting.
  • Water bottle plus BYO mug for afternoon tea
  • Please wear comfortable clothing to suit the weather conditions
  • Donations for our Share Table (see below for details)

Bookings are essential

A light afternoon tea will be served.

Grafting Knife

If you would like to purchase a grafting knife before the workshop or to use at home, Justin recommends the following options as decent knives for a reasonable price:

Cost of Workshop

  • Financial Members of Permaculture Toowoomba Inc. – Free (Bookings via Eventbrite are essential).  First preference will be given to financial members, so please book by Wednesday 29 July to secure your place.
  • Non-Members$20.00 each (includes workshop fee and one bare-rooted grafted apple tree).  Non-members will be able to book via Eventbrite after Wednesday 29 July if there are still workshop places available.
  • Children attending with parents – Free.  Please be aware that this workshop is best suited to adults and all children attending will need to be very closely supervised for their safety.  We’ll be using very sharp grafting knives, so children can watch (while carefully supervised by parents) but won’t be able to participate.
  • Extra apple trees to graft (rootstock plus scionwood) – $10.00 each or 5 for $40.00.  You might like to select several different varieties of apple tree scionwood suitable for eating, cooking or cider.  Purchase here (members only).

Financial Member but Unable to Attend?

If you’re a financial member but you’re unable to attend on Sunday 2 August, you are still welcome to register to collect your free bare-rooted grafted apple tree.  Collection will be from Sam Rogers, 2/5 O’Beirne Street, Kearneys Spring after 2 August.  A video-recording of the workshop will be available so you can practice your grafting at home.  Please indicate this option via Eventbrite so we’ll keep an apple tree for you.

Justin Russell

Justin Russell is a gardening writer, photographer and smallholder farmer who divides his time between two main occupations: the production of words and pictures for a range of national gardening publications; and the production of organic food for his family, friends and neighbours.  He lives and works on Half Moon Farm, a 3.5-acre, permaculture-based smallholding at Hampton that he shares with his wife, Kylie, and their three kids.

See Justin’s Website, Instagram and Facebook


During the COVID-19 pandemic we’re taking careful steps to make sure everyone stays healthy and safe.  This includes:

  • Events via Zoom online video conferencing wherever possible.
  • Increased hygiene measures at all face-to-face events.  Please wash your hands before arrival and hand sanitiser will be available to use while you’re at an event.
  • Surfaces will be sanitised regularly.
  • Physical distancing of at least 1.5m will be maintained.
  • Please don’t attend if you or anyone in your household is unwell, self-isolating because they are at risk of becoming unwell with COVID-19, or you’ve recently travelled interstate, overseas or to hot spot area.

Please help us to manage the risks and keep everyone healthy and well.

See the event for full details.  Website or Facebook

Share Table
Do you have surplus?

We'll be setting up  a large Share Table at the Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop on Sunday 2 August.  We encourage you to bring your surplus produce, plants, seeds, books, craft supplies and resources to share with others at this workshop.

Some ideas of what you could bring include – fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, milk, jams, pickles, preserves, jars, ferments, starters, SCOBYs, seeds, plants, seedlings, cuttings, tubers, pots, tools, gardening magazines, permaculture books, recipes, patterns, manure, coffee grounds, compost additives, worms, meal worms, wool, fabric, craft supplies, soap, natural cleaning products, plastic alternatives, produce bags – the list is extensive.

Please bring whatever you can and then take home whatever you need within our culture of generosity and free sharing.

Seed Saving Resources
from Annaliese Hordern

Following our Connect and Learn in May, Annaliese shared some resources that she thought we'd find useful.


Green Garden Notes - Winter from Green Harvest


Top Selections for seed - planting NOW for winter - not for summertime

  • Rocket
  • Rocket Sylvetta
  • Tokyo Bekana
  • Yukina Savoy
  • Tomato Thai Pink Egg 
  • Turnip Japanese Tokyo market
  • Lettuce Bronze Mignonette
  • Broccoli Green Magic
  • Chicory Red Dandelion 
  • Mustard Ruby Streaks
  • Mizuna 
  • Silverbeet Colour Mix
  • Silverbeet Perpetual 
  • Kale Cavolo Nero
  • Kale Blue Curled Scotch 
  • Snowpea Oregon Sugar (climbing)
  • Pea Green Feast (bushing variety)
  • Beetroot Cylindrica 
  • Beetroot Bulls Blood
Seed Mixes
  • Good Bug Mix
  • Give Bees a Chance 
  • Clucker Tucker - fodder for chickens

Book References - available from Green Harvest 

  • The Seed Saving Handbook - J & M Fanton
  • Organic Vegetable Gardening - Annette McFarlane
  • How I can Use Herbs in my Daily Life - Isabell Shipard
  • Homegrown Sprouts - Rita Galchus 
  • Vegetable Planting Guide - Month by Month - Stefan Magar

Other resources 

The Earth Users Guide to Permaculture - Rosemany Morrow


Permaculture Design Notes - An editing team, I am part of, currently doing a kickstarter for the next editing upgrade for this resource book - a wide collection of input feed into these notes from all the Permaculture people we learn from and distill this knowledge into one set of notes


Link for Change Makers Permaculture Design Course!event/2020/8/28/change-makers-permaculture-design-course-pdc


Link to Annaliese Hordern on Facebook - with the proviso - knowing I've not been posting much during covid, but scroll down for the goods!! More coming soon…

Thank you so very much for an enriching opportunity to share about Seeds and Growing our Food Security and Happiness!!


Book Review
The Art of Frugal Hedonism: A Guide to Spending Less While Enjoying Everything More

by Annie Raser-Rowland with Adam Grubb

Book Review by Janine Banks

This is an interesting time to read this book (actually this is my second read but I think I appreciated it more this time) as the pandemic has resulted in lots of folks being laid off work or having reduced hours or still working but from home which I hear gives everyone a bit more time in their day (no traveling time for starters.) These life changes mean we are really in a position to appreciate that we can live a different lifestyle, that we don’t have to do the same thing day in, day out, week after week. We also may be learning that there are things we can live without or ways we can do things differently. 

The authors have some different ideas and practices that also challenge the daily routine that we often fall into without questioning whether we always have to do things this way.

Their introduction starts with
"We want you to have an excellent life. And we don’t think you should have to spend much money to do it. This book is about how."

And then they go on to explain how, with lots of very small chapters (51 chapters in a book with 226 pages including the very thorough reference section) ranging from Create Your Own Normal, to Hate Waste, to Grow Your Own Greens, to Figure Out What You Really Enjoy Spending Money On, to Don’t Be a Snooty Bum Bum. And yes, it is also a very entertaining book.

Read More

Our Rhythm of Events

First Sunday afternoon of each month - 2.00pm - 4.30pm
Second Monday evening of each month - 6.45pm - 8.00pm
  • Online Film Club evenings with short film viewing and interactive discussions
Last Monday evening of each month - 6.45pm - 8.00pm
Financial Members - Free
First time visitors to one of our events - Free
Non-members - usually $10
Children - Free
During COCID-19 all financial members will have access to video-recorded sessions if you're unable to join us at the live session times.
Full details of our events are advertised on Facebook and on our Website, plus see below for the things we have planned.

Management Committee

  • President - Debbie Bassingthwaighte (0407 374 883)
  • Vice President - Sam Rogers
  • Secretary - Tim Nash
  • Treasurer - Maryanne Genrich
  • Events Coordinator - Janine Banks
  • Welcoming Officer - Janet Dennison
  • Committee Member - Janine Brown
  • Committee Member - Shirley Dunsdon
  • Committee Member - Carly Middap
  • Committee Member - Ingrid Tatow
Contact us at if we can assist in any way.


Read about the many benefits of becoming a financial member of Permaculture Toowoomba Inc.  Membership

If you pay now, annual Membership Fees will take you through until 31 December 2020.

  • Individual Membership is $40.00 per year
  • Second (or subsequent) members living in the same family household are $30.00 per year

If interested, please download a Membership Form.

Family and Friends

If you have family or friends who might also like to be involved please forward this email to them.
Or they might like to join our Facebook group
as an online destination for
regular updates, information sharing and support.

Or see our Website.

Or Subscribe to this monthly e-Newsletter.
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