About the PSI Permabees

PSI holds four Permabees (Permaculture working bees) a year – the first Sunday of each new season. Permabees bring people together who have a curiosity or interest in Permaculture. No experience or formal training in permaculture is necessary. Basically, they are for people who like some hands-on activity and want to help us advance permaculture at PSI.

We aim to provide a fun and informative day in the country with plenty of nice food, sunshine and frivolity in exchange for a productive day’s work on the farm. You are guaranteed to meet some nice people too. Bookings are essential on info@permaculturesydneyinstitute.org or 02) 4568 2036.

On the Permabee

Activities include gardening, weed management, sometimes natural building projects, food forest management, pecan nut harvesting and more. We work in the home garden (zone 1); the Mandala Garden – our commercial garden (zone 1); the food forest (zone 2); and the Pecan Orchard (zone 3).  We like to give helpers a choice of tasks on the day based on the  priorities required on the farm, the number of attendees and their specific interests.

PSI Permabees commence at 10am and finish at 4pm and they include morning teas and lunch breaks. We like you to bring your own work or gardening gloves, insect repellent and sunscreen and to wear sensible clothing and shoes.

SPRING – Kitchen Garden Bandusia Country Retreat

The spring Permabee (the first Sunday in Sept) is focussed on the kitchen gardens in zone 1 of Bandusia Country Retreat. This area is Bandusia’s kitchen garden and supplies food for the students and visitors throughout the year. It includes a kitchen garden, a herb garden, aquaponics system, a bush tucker garden, a quail system and more. The day’s tasks include weeding the gardens, propagation, fertilising, mulching, planting, composting, quail management, aquaponics maintenance, wicking beds and generally cleaning and tidying zone one.  There is much learning participants will gain in this small intensive area from propagation, organic weed management, fertilising regimes, composting, quail management, aquaponics and more.

SUMMER – Market Garden PSI Farm

The summer permabee (the first Sunday in December) is spent on the PSI Farm in the Mandala Garden which is PSI’s commercial (zone 1) market garden that adjoins Bandusia Retreat. The mandala garden supplies local community food boxes and food to Bandusia. The day’s tasks involve weeding, fertilising, mulching, composting, propagating, planting and more. Participants will learn about an integrated eco-food system of plants and animals. Specifically, they will learn about plant & integrated animal species, organic weed management, composting, feeding regimes and other aspects relating to the above associated tasks of the day. 

AUTUMN – Pecan nut Paddocks Bandusia

The Autumn Permabee ( first Sunday in March) is focussed on the Bandusia’s Pecan Paddocks on the riverbank in zone 3.  The pecan nuts are sold to food co-ops and private buyers and is one of Bandusia’s income streams. The day’s tasks include harvesting the pecan nuts, cleaning the ground for collection of nuts, possibly some mowing, managing understory trees and paddock and weed management. Volunteers will learn about Pecan nut tree harvesting and processing and the care and management of trees. More specifically, they will learn about organic weed management, integration of other species of plants and animals in the system and paddock and pasture management.

WINTER – The food Forest Bandusia

The Winter Permabee (first Sunday in June) is spent in the food forest, zone 2 at Bandusia Country Retreat. This day involves maintenance of the food forest including repair of swales, animal system maintenance,  pruning of fruit trees, chop and drop of legumes, possibly some planting, mulching swales and paths and general routine maintenance. Volunteers will get a good feel for food forest design, systems and management from this experience. They will also learn about different plant and animal species, swales, guilds and the integration of plants and animals.