Thursday, 5 July 2018

Garden Wildlife, Fruit and Veggie boxes and Eudamonia, a new garden. Week 12 - The Polyculture Project

It's that time of year when everywhere you look there is something delicious to eat in the gardens and despite the fact that we have had one of the wettest Junes I can remember the vegetables and herbs, fruits and nuts and garden wildlife residents are all doing well!     



Market Garden


The Biomass Belt About 2 yrs ago I wrote a blog about our biomass belt. The biomass belt is intended to be a closed system, perennial polyculture dedicated to growing mulch and fertilizer for annual and perennial crops. The polyculture is composed of mineral accumulating comfrey in raised beds, nitrogen fixing ground cover sown into pathways and a nitrogen fixing hedgerow. For a detailed look at this polyculture click on the image below.

The Biomass Belt 

It's establishing very well in the market garden although we have made some changes to the initial design excluding Cytisus scoparius and introducing Miscanthus x giganteus - Giant Miscanthus which is a temporary addition until the shrubs mature . With biannual trimming of the shrubs I expect a dense hedge approx 1.5 m tall to have formed by 2020,  just in time for the imminent apocalypse :)   




Wildlife In the Gardens 


Dylan recording a Grass Snake - Natrix natrix in the market garden.


Bombus sp. feeding from Melilotus albus, also known as honey clover, Bokhara clover, sweet clover, white melilot, and white sweetclover, a nitrogen-fixing legume. 


The nine-spotted moth or yellow belted burnet - Amata phegea, formerly Syntomis phegea 


Here's a short video by Dylan of some more wildlife in the gardens 




Our Fruit and Veggie boxes are going out again with all produce fresh from our gardens. Singles, Couples and Family boxes available.


If you would like to make an order you can find details on the website here. Here's some of what went into this week's boxes fresh from the gradina :)  


Forest Garden


Hazelnut cultivar 'Rimski' planted 2 years ago is fruiting very well this year and looks to be the best performing cultivar from our selection. We're offering Hazel from our bio nursery this year see here for cultivars and prices. Deliveries begin in December. 


Walnuts are looking great this year. The extremely wet June may encourage Walnut Blight  a bacterium Xanthomonas arboricola pv juglandis, but so far all is well


Mowing under the Walnut after the June rains not only reduces water competition during high summer but makes it much easier to collect the nuts in late September. We may have to mow again before the nuts begin to fall. 


A New Polyculture Garden coming soon. 


We started our initial observations for a new garden we will be building in the coming months. Special thanks to Fergus Webster who made a very generous donation of to our polyculture project campaign that will facilitate the building of our new garden. Fergus has named the new garden Eudamonia in keeping with our classical Greek theme of garden names.

This is the plot highlighted on google earth. The plot is 1013m2 (1/4 acre) on a mild south facing slope, very well protected from the prevailing winds to NE and NW and can be irrigated via gravity from the river approx 1 km away and has good access.      



Our goal with this garden is to provide a low maintenance model that provides a succession of nectar and pollen forage to bees and other pollinators throughout the seasons, and a crop of Hazel and Sweet Chestnut to the south of the plot. More details of the plot design will follow. 

Angela , Emilce and Daniel on the plot making a preliminary summer survey of the flora and fauna and noting general observations.
 

Common Blue - Polyommatus icarus (I think)  


Emilce spotted this wild Hollyhock - Alcea rosea, great to see this plant in the wild a much smaller plant than the garden cultivars but seemingly larger flowers


A closer look at the flower and  you see a crab spider - Tomisidae. These spiders don't build webs to catch their prey. Instead, they rely on camouflage and ambush and lie in wait for unsuspecting flies and bees that visit the flower for pollen/nectar.


Field Cricket on Althaea cannabina commonly called palm-leaf marshmallow or hemp-leaved hollyhock. Thank you Flori for the identification :)


Globe Thistle - Echinops sp.-  Asteraceae. These plants are always very welcome in our gardens not only for the valuable forage they provide to a host of beneficial insects but as some of the most beautiful plants on the planet imho. 


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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