Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Summer Time - Polyculture Study 2017 - Update 3

We had a perfect spring in many ways, bright and warm with rainfall just when it was needed. The summer has started off equally well and the fruits are filling the canopies while the vegetable garden is yielding well.

This month we said goodbye to Gabrielle Landi who has been absolutely amazing, thanks so much for all of your help and support, we hope you come back soon.

Gabriele Landi

We also said goodbye to Chris Mallorie, Abi Ryder and their son Ed who stayed with us for a month during their European Permaculture tour. Happy travels guys and thanks for everything.

We're pleased to welcome Wil Kunkle from the US of A to the study who I think actually may be Jared Leto secretly escaping Hollywood for a few months.

Chris Kirby Lambert also joined us for his second biodiversity survey of the year and we're looking forward to see him again in August for the final survey of 2017.

Special thanks to film makers Simon Rogowski from www.inspiria.de and David Pavlašević www.vimeo.com/davidpavlasevic who came for a 4 day shoot for our upcoming crowd funding campaign that we'll be releasing this winter. Thanks also to Kathy, Fergus and Gabriele for presenting under the gun :)

 Simon Rogowski from www.inspiria.de and David Pavlašević www.vimeo.com/davidpavlasevic and Archie  

We're looking for someone, or a couple, to join us on the Polyculture Study this August and September. Register before the end of July and you'll receive a complimentary place on our Regenerative Landscape Design Course in September. You can find out more about joining the polyculture study here.  

So here's an update of what we've been up to during the last few months;

Coppicing the Robinia Woodland  

One of our plots on the east side of Shipka has been left to naturally succeed for the last 15 - 20 years the result being a small Robinia pseudoacacia woodland.

I've been meaning to get a coppice going in this area for a few years now and this year we made a start. Some of the trees are the perfect size for fence post now, around 15 cm diameter, and other trees will make great fire wood for this winter. The largest trees in the area we have left there as they really are excellent specimens and provide a bounty of forage for bees.

The Robinia woodland in late spring 

Fergus Gabrielle, myself and Chris spent a few mornings in the woodland felling the trees stripping the branches and hauling the wood out.

Felling the trees and striping the branches to the main stem. The large straight diameter wood we'll use for round wood  construction , the low diameter wood for fence post and the curved pieces for fire wood. The branches were piles along the western perimeter for temporary fencing.  

About 2 weeks after the cut the stools were already starting to send out shoots of regrowth

First shoots emerging from dormant buds buried under the bark

and a week later multiple shoots were clearly visible

and the last time I checked in late June they were over 1m :)

Market Garden 

Market Garden
Vegetables Boxes  - Our veggie boxes are out again, packed full of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from the gardens.  If you would like to order a box you can find more out here or send us an email to arrange delivery.


Comfrey Trials - We're on the third comfrey cut of the year in the trial bed and hoping to get 5 cuts this year, one more in mid August and another in late September.  If we irrigate the beds well during late July and early August it should be attainable. We've been applying grass trimmings to the beds after each cut but other than that have applied no fertliser since the records began last year (see here for last year's results)

Comfrey Cuts  2017
DateFloweringDays between cutsSample Weight from 14 plantsWeight per plantEst .Weight kg x 42 plants (13 m2 Bed)
Cut 18.5.17yesn/a6.7950.485357142920.385
Cut 25.6.17partial278.60.614285714325.8
Cut 317.7.17partial427.840.5623.52
Cut 4

Comfrey Trial Beds 

We're not making comfert (comfrey liquid fertilser) this year as the soils are fertile enough so instead we are using the comfrey leaves directly as mulch.

Our 13 m2 bed with 42 plants so far, from 3 cuts, has produced 69 kg of biomass that we have used to mulch approx. 13 m2 of beds (10-15 cm deep layer of leaves.)

Just under 8 kg of comfrey biomass covers 1.5 m2 bed with a 10-15 cm deep layer 
That works out that each plant has so far produced biomass to provide cover 0.31 m2 of ground. 

Pond Installation in the Perennial Polyculture Trial Garden Ataraxia 

We've added a new pond to the perennial trial garden. You can read more about that in the blog posts below.

Small Pond Installations for Irrigation and Wildlife - Part 1 - Planning and Digging 

Small Pond Installations for Irrigation and Wildlife - Part 2 - Liners

If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands on experience join us this Spring. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers and making a small wildlife pond. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

We offer a diversity of plants and seeds for permaculture and forest gardens  including a range of fruit and nut cultivars. We Deliver all over Europe from Nov - March. Give a happy plant a happy home :) 

The Bionursery


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

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