Thursday, 28 June 2018

Polyculture Vegetable Beds, Organisms in the garden and the Regenerative Landscape Design Course. Week 11 - The Polyculture Project

It's been a wet and wild June so far, here's an update on what we've been up to in market garden, forest garden and during our Regenerative Landscape Design Course.  




The Market Garden 


We've had the benefit of Victoria Bezhitashvili's close attention in the market garden this season where she has been cataloging the pests and diseases mainly in the vegetable beds but also on some of the perennial plants. We'll be publishing her report in the coming weeks, it's very interesting to learn of the number of organisms we share our produce with. Most of them are more or less harmless but categorized as pests and diseases as they can cause severe damage to crops.        


The vegetable polycultures are bearing their first yields with dwarf beans, beetroots and kale ready for the plate.



This time of year the Brassica or Cabbage Bug - Eurydema oleracea can eat a little more than they are welcome to. Around once per week this time of year we'll inspect the plants, gather up the unwelcome diners and commit genocide.. perhaps the least enjoyable aspects of keeping a garden.   


Some sort of weevil (Curculionidae), according to our invertebrate surveys by Chris Kirby Lambert are some of the most common beetles in our gardens. Although strict herbivores, they rarely cause significant damage to crops. 


Amaranth dominating the carrot seed bed 



The Forest Garden


A view in the forest garden. We encourage a diverse herb layer in the forest garden during the last 2 weeks of June (the wettest month in our climate). We'll cut 60 -70% of the herbaceous layer down and lift the biomass trees. This material will be used to mulch the productive plants or build new planting beds. The timing is important i.e, before the long dry summers we often experience here. Cutting back the plants not only reduces the competition for water during the dry season but when used as mulch will also prevent evaporation from the soil.         


The northern boundary of the forest garden is home to Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut with  Robinia pseudoacacia - Black Locust  nearby and Corylus avellana - Hazelnut  in the under story.  


Herb and Shrub layer often entangle in the forest garden. Here you can see a 



The Hazelnuts planted 2 years ago are filling nuts. These plants are are quite odd in that pollen is released from the male catkins in bursts across a 4- 6 week period in January - March. The pollen germinates as soon as it reaches a receptive flower but the fertilization process does not take place for another 4-5 months in June. Once fertilized the female flowers develop into nuts very rapidly with 90% growth occurring within 4 - 6 weeks.  Check out our  article The Amazing Hazel - The Essential Guide to Everything you need to know about Hazels for more about these fascinating plants 


A young Castanea sativa - Sweet Chestnut with its whole life ahead of it. These trees have been known to live for 2000 years !!




Regenerative Landscape Design Course


We had a great week with our guests on the Regenerative Landscape Design Course this June. Practicals included building an overflow swale for the pond, a wildlife pond in the perennial polyculture trial garden, a raised bed via sheet mulching, compost building and topography surveying.    







Chris arrived during the course to carry out the early summer invertebrate survey. You can just see him in the back right sweeping the hedgerow.


Inspecting the net after a sweep. You can see the results from last season's survey here  and check out Chris's website here.

Chris Kirby-Lambert


Thanks to everyone who came to the course, it was a pleasure to meet you. We're now looking forward to our next course in the Autumn. It's a 4 day hands on practical course where we'll be designing and building a 150 m2 forest garden from scratch (see below).

Would you like to learn how to design and build a forest garden? 



Forest Garden Course 


 If you appreciate the work we are doing you can show your support in several ways.

  • Sales from our nursery go towards supporting the project. You can find a variety of plants or seeds from our BioNursery here that you can purchase to build your own  productive bio-diverse gardens.  


 






We offer a range of plants and seeds for permaculture and forest gardens from our plant nursery including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. Delivery to all over Europe available from Nov - March





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