Intro from Peta

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Peta Hudson

Mar 19, 2008, 8:31:38 PM3/19/08
Hi again everyone
Thought it was high time I introduced myself!
I "grew up" through the 60's & 70's in Australia & resounded to all the
questioning that was going on amongst my peers.
I started growing organically, though it wasn't called that then, we
just didn't want to use anything which was poisonous, when I was 21 on a
farm west of Sydney. I was going through a very difficult passage & the
time I spent there not only started a healing process but changed the
direction of my life.
I was drawn to Permaculture in my early 30's but it wasn't until I was
40 that I came to formally learn about it. I did my training with
Rosemary Morrow. She was & is a very inspiring woman & I honour her life
& teaching. It was held in the forest clad Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
All the lights went on during that course. It was as though all I had
been learning through my life came together. Permaculture presented me
with an inspiring & creative way of living. To me it enables us to take
the initiative in our lives. To be creative & to see ourselves as part
of Nature & able to work with her.
I went on to co-design the Intelife site in the Blue Mountains & then to
teach there. I also ran workshops & did private design work in my
community through our local economy system & co-taught with Ro Morrow.
I was financially supported by my garden design & maintenance business.
I was able to work with Permaculture methods in these gardens too even
though they were mainly ornamental.
Now I live on the Otago Peninsula 1min from the edge of this beautiful
bay. I am surrounded by green hills which feed lots of grass to a very
few sheep!
My small house perches on a sand dune overlooking the settlement I live
in. I sometimes wonder what I am doing here as I am totally exposed to
the winds of the Roaring Forties, am trying to grow on land which has,
at the moment, about 1cm of a darkish substance which can't be called
soil & below is grey sand.
I am 57, my back is bad, my energy levels go up & down & I have 1 small
water tank. My time is also limited as I teach 2 courses now & am also
doing proof reading for a rural polytech.
What wonderful challenges the more positive & younger amongst you may be
saying! Yes that is one way of looking at it but I feel I am getting a
great lesson in "know your limitations" & "see solutions not problems"
which may mean I move!
But here I am & despite all this I have a slowly emerging food forest
with 3 apple trees, supplied by Jason, about a dozen each of
gooseberries & currants & lots of self-seeding & dry tolerant herbs.
When I bought this small section (1000sqm), 6yrs ago, my focus (after
going through the design process) was on finding as many resources as
close to home as I could to build up the organic matter. So in came
horse manure collected & sold by local kids, seaweed from the bay, lupin
bush prunings from vacant & my land along with compost as it was made.
I also threw loads of seed of various herbs such as parsley, herb
alexander, calendular, evening primrose, hogweed everywhere. It was a
way of imitating nature in her abundance. All are still growing in
niches that suit them & continue to seed. They are all contributing to
the build up of the organic matter & act as attractors for the predatory
I also have a small but happy group of bantams who have introduced
nettles somehow! They now grow very thickly in some areas & I harvest
them as well as use them as a green manure crop. The bantams also do a
great job of hastening the incorporation of the OM & dealing with any
not so welcome insects. They feed themselves from a great variety of
greens & seed when they are on. I give them a small amount of wheat as I
like to have the eggs of which I sell the excess.
I've also thrown excess seed potato under tagasaste trees planted as
windbreak & they grow well there.These trees are wonderful & you will
see a list of their uses soon from the session I did on the 9th March.
If not ask! I've even had a huge broccoli plant come up under one.
I have also planted lots of comfrey & various deciduous trees to be
living on site sources of OM.
I don't harvest much annual food from my land at the moment as I teach
in a beautifully productive real soil garden in Dunedin! I and the
students live well from it.
So there you go! It's great to be part of this course. I love reading
your thoughts, of the research you are doing & hearing of the land you
are working with.
May we all keep inspiring each other
Cheers Peta

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