|Some pics from The Regenerative Landscape Design Course. More photos from the course here.|
Registration for a June 2017 re-run of this course is now open with an early booking discount of 20% from food and accommodation fees available. For more information on this course click below.
New to the study this month are Jack and Tadeo who have been a tremendous help, and we'd also like to say a big thank you to Susan Eggers and to Sophie's parents Jan and Keith.
The study is almost over for this season and a few days ago we said farewell to our core team members Ute Villavicencio and Kata Prodanov.
You have been absolutely wonderful and we cannot thank you enough for your support this past season! We're looking forward to future collaboration and wish you both all the very best.
|Polyculture Market Garden - September Produce in the annual vegetable beds. Kale, Chard, Beets, Basil,Squash,Tomato, Beans,Carrots and Parsnips.|
Earthworks, Bridges and Grape Harvest
|Photos from the permaculture market garden|
The team picked over 100 kg of grapes from our arbors. Grape arbors are a neat feature of nearly all the houses in Shipka. The high summer sun is effectively shielded by the summer growth and when the vines lose their leaves in the winter the low winter sun pours into the houses. We inherited our vines from the previous owners with some vines being over 80 years old. We prune each February and water well during early fruiting periods. Other than that vines naturally produce excellent yields year on year. We have at least 5 cultivars growing although at the moment I'm not sure what they are.
|Some of our grape cultivars|
We turned most of the grapes into fresh juice that tastes divine. 20 L have been frozen - 20 L refrigerated, 10 -15 L we turned to mollasses and 12 L we are making a small batch of wine with.
Pest and Disease
Many species of Shield bugs are known to feed on tomatoes, known collectively as Tomato Stink Bugs. We'll be reading up on our species to see what we can do to control the numbers of these pests, but here are a few control suggestions from tomatodirt.com directed generally at all species of stink bugs/shield bugs.
Wash plants. When bugs first make an appearance in your tomato patch, spray tomato plants daily with water. The stream will force them off plants. You can also treat tomatoes with a 1-1 solution of water and vegetable oil, olive oil, or lavender oil applied with a garden sprayer to repel the insects.
Hand pick bugs. Remove them and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. You can place a tray beneath plant and shake it to collect bugs.
Plant “trap crops” in an area around the tomato garden but set apart from the tomato plants. Trap crops are natural deterrents that draw stink bugs away from tomato plants and provide them with a thriving habitat. By planting abundant areas of small-flowered plants, you also encourage parasitic wasps, birds, and other predators that feed on the bugs. Stink bugs are known to be attracted to the color yellow. Mustard, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, sunflowers, marigolds, garlic, lavender, and chrysanthemums are good trap crops for these pests.
I can't say they are attracted to the marigolds in and around the beds or lavender but they are certainly attracted to the french beans with the feeding from the bean sap resulting in contorted and stunted bean growth. They have also been observed in the formed seeds of Calendula plants. Nasturtiums appear to attract another species of shield bug but not these guys.
The chickens are not interested and the ducks (that we have re-introduced into the garden for the first time in 5 years) give them a wide berth. One possible reason for the sudden influx of shield bugs could be that the activity of the ducks rummaging through the bed mulch has scared off would be pest predators such as toads, frogs, slow worms and lizards that usually settle there.
|Ducks in the annual polyculture beds 'Zeno'|
This does seem somewhat unlikely given that the bugs are mainly located in the canopy of the plants and the forementioned predators are hunting at ground level. It could be that after 10 years without rotating the crops the populations have steadily built up in which case it's time to rotate with some crops that these shield bugs do not effect such as carrot, parsnip, beet, chard, corn, onion and chilli to name but some.
White Mulberry - Morus alba for animal fodder
Here's a short video made by Balkan Ecology Project's youngest team member, our son Archie Alfrey, showing the use of 2nd year pollard/coppice regrowth shoots of Morus alba for pig and rabbit food. It's amazing how fast these trees grow!
Here are a few late flowering edible perennials that we have dotted around the forest garden. These plants will flower throughout September and into October providing valuable forage to a range of pollinators and pest predators.
|Sedum telephium - tasty green shoots in the spring - late flowering nectar pollen resource in the autumn. |
Drought tolerant and clump- forming
Allium tuberosum - Garlic Chives or Chinese Chives. I observed at least four species of pollinators on these plants whilst taking this photo. A great late flowering perennial vegetable for sun and shade.
FigsFicus carica - 'Izmir' - an excellent sweet tasting fig. Remarkable how much fruit the tree provides despite the drought like conditions this year. This tree is located in an area of the garden that does receive irrigation.
|Fig - Ficus carica 'Izmir'|
We have some great fig cultivars from the nursery this year. Click here for a recent blog post all about figs and click below to view figs on offer from our plant nursery
Plant orders are coming in early this year and when the plants are dormant we'll be sending them out to customers all over Europe.
Just some of the nursery trees above include:
- Catalpa bignonioides - Indian Bean Tree
- Picea glauca - White Spruce
- Caragana arborescens - Siberian Pea Tree
- Hibiscus syriacus - Rose of Sharon
- Juglans regia - Persian Walnut
- Prunus cerasus - Sour Cherry
Dewberry - Rubus casieus - great ground cover for deep shade
Want to learn how to create regenerative landscapes? Join us this summer for our Regenerative Landscape Design Course.
We offer a range of plants and seeds for permaculture and forest gardens from our plant nursery including a new range of fruit and nut cultivars well suited to natural gardens, farms and orchards. If you would like to purchase some plants order early to avoid disappointment as we have limited stock available.
|Forest Garden Plant Nursery - Permaculture Plant Nursery|