Sunday, 15 July 2018

Summer Herbs and Fruits and Wildflowers in the Polyculture Veg Beds and Forest Garden. Week 14 - The Polyculture Project

Shifting down gears as we go into summer with plenty of observing, harvesting and eating the harvest this week. The gardens are doing an excellent job of turning light, carbon dioxide and water into food and we're doing a good job of appreciating that :)


Market Garden


Walking around the gardens on a sunny summer morning following a night of heavy rain you can certainly sense the garden's will to grow. Symphytum x uplandicum - Comfrey with vegetables polycultures in the background 



The polyculture beds  


We're pleased to again be offering a modest selection of vegetables and fruits to Trustika Food co-op. Dylan is handling the orders this year and here he is picking pears for orders. 


Trustika is an excellent example of connecting food producers with consumers. The food co-op buying and selling takes place on an ingenious piece of database design using google sheets by Borislav Dimitrov who also manages the food co-op. Using their gmail accounts producers list, consumers order and everything is delivered to a central pick up point. Elegant :)     

Garden produce picked and ready for delivery 


Foeniculum vulgare - Fennel   planted on the perimeter of the polyculture beds. An excellent plant for beneficial insects and great kitchen herb too.


The green patch with various plants growing have emerged from a cow manure deposits that were put on this meadow outside our market garden during the winter. Amazing to see the variety of seeds that have germinated in the manure, including a number of squash plants that are running rampant.     


Forest Garden 


Possibly one of the hardiest figs on the planet was developed here in Bulgaria. A cultivar named 'Michurinska 10' is commonly grown here at altitudes above 1000 m elevation in areas that receive extreme winters lows of below -20. Here you can see the breba crop of figs already ripe by early July.


About 5 years ago I collected seed from the parent of the below plant standing proud in the glasshouse borders of RHS Wilsley Gardens in the UK. The borders were designed by one of my favorite garden creators Piet Oudolf. The plant is Glycyrrhiza yunnanensis -Yunnan Liquorice and this year it has flowered and set seed for the first time :)  I've not been able to confirm that the plant is edible, however, being a relative of Glycyrrhiza glabra the plant used to make Liquorice it may well be.  



Apple tree in the home forest garden is looking good this year 


Prunella vulgaris - Self-heal is one of favourite edible summer herbs. The young leaves and stems can be eaten raw in salads and the whole plant can be boiled and eaten These plants are perennial but in my experience never survive more than a few years. Gratefully, they self seed quite easily popping up in various spots in the gardens including the lawns.   


Morus alba - White Mulberry Still fruiting well into July. The fruits are larger and sweeter than the early ripening fruit



Young trees in the bionursery are doing well with all the rain and sunshine. Here we have classic bee trees  Tetradium danielii - Korean Bee Tree  and Albizia julibrissin - Silk tree with Symphytum x uplandicum - Comfrey
planted below.


Hibiscus syriacus - Rose of Sharon flowering. A great summer flowering shrub with edible flowers and very suitable for hedging. Another plant that will feature in our upcoming bee garden, Eudaimonia.  



Seed pods of  Lunaria rediviva - Perennial Honesty. Excellent bee plant for early spring. Another plant with edible relatives Lunaria annua - Annual honesty, but I cannot find any account that L.rediviva is edible. 


Wild  Saponaria officinalis - Soapwort in a field behind Ataraxia. I noticed a large number of Ladybirds - Coccinellidae on the plants 


If you would like to create a forest garden and would like some practical hands on experience take a look at our course coming up this Autumn. 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 and digest slowly.   


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




Saturday, 14 July 2018

Pest and Diseases in the Market Garden

Our chief strategy to deal with pest and disease in the vegetable gardens is to reduce plant stress levels as much as possible. We achieve this by well timed planting out, providing adequate irrigation and building healthy soils with diverse microbiology to nurture the plants. 


Other steps we take are to try many cultivars and stick with the ones that perform best, grow our own plants from seed and only select the healthiest seedlings (for some species we save seed from the best performing plants). We also plant in polycultures to make it more difficult for pests to locate our plants and we introduce various habitats in the gardens for pest predators such as hedgehogs, birds, snakes, lizards, frogs, toads, ladybirds, wasps, mantids and beetles. Finally we practice manual pest removal for certain pests such as Cabbage White eggs and  Brassica Bug adults. Our aim with pest and disease organisms is not to entirely eliminate them but to reduce them to a point where they do not make significant damage.  

Victoria Bezhitashvili who has joined us for the polyculture study this year has been observing and recording pests and diseases found within the market garden specifically those that interact with the annual vegetable crops. Below you can see a record of her initial observations made in April-May. Another set of observations will be recorded later in the year to follow up.   Many thanks Victoria for this report!


Pest and Disease Records - Annual Vegetable Crops in the Polyculture Beds - 2018 by Victoria Bezhitashvili


CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Kale
Brassica oleracea var. sabellica
BrassicaceaeWhitefly (Aleyrodes proletella) - most plants
Leaf miner – some plants
Caterpillars of Cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) - some plants
Not significant separately, combined effect can be significant




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Leaf miner (unidentified) on kale plant

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Newly hatched caterpillars of Cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) on kale plant


CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Beans
(Phaseolus vulgaris), bush beans and climbing beans
FabaceaeBacterial bean blight (prob. Halo blight, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola)– some plants
Eaten leaves (prob. True bugs)
prob. Black bean aphid Aphis fabae, farmed by ants
Not significant
Not significant
Not significant


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Bacterial bean blight (prob. Halo blight, caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola)


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Bean leaves, eaten by prob. true bugs




CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Maize (Zea mays), 2 different varietiesGramineae One variety - stunted growth in the shaded area, chlorosis (pale colour)
The third variety – new leaves curled, distorted, pale, prob. virus – third of plants
Potentially Significant
Potentially Significant


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Distorted new corn leaves, prob. virus


CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Early Potatoes SolanaceaeEaten leaves (prob. True bugs)
Wilted leaves, spots, necrosis of old leaves (Late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans)
Not significant
Not significant at the moment of check, potentially can have a negative impact

                                                                                 
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Wilted potatoes leaves, spots, necrosis (Late
blight - Phytophthora infestans)


CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Sunflower
Helianthus annuus
AsteraceaeEaten leaves (prob. True bugs)
Those near Paulownia – chlorosis (prob. N deficiency or lack of water), spots (secondary fungal infection), necrosis
Not significant
Can be significant


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Sunflower leaf



CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Parsnip
Pastinaca sativa
ApiaceaeMaggot of celery leaf mining fly Euleia heraclei
– one plant
Eaten leaves (prob. True bugs)
Not significant
Not significant


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Maggot of celery leaf mining fly Euleia heraclei
on a parsnip plant



CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Beetroot
Beta vulgaris
ChenopodioideaeEaten leaves (not specific pest)
Cercospora leaf spot, caused by the fungus Cercospora beticola
Not significant
Not significant, potentially can have an impact on beet size


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Cercospora leaf spot on beetroot, caused by the fungus Cercospora beticola




CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Broccoli
Brassica oleracea var. italica
Brassicaceae Whitefly (Aleyrodes proletella) – all plants
Aphids (green (Cabbage aphid -Brevicoryne brassicae) and black)
The harlequin cabbage bug (Murgantia histrionica)
Cabbage Curculio - a small weevil (Ceutorhynchus rapae)
Caterpillars of Cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) - some plants
Potentially Significant on some plants
Combined effect can be significant
Older plants are more resilient

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Brassica or Cabbage Bug (Eurydema oleracea)

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Whitefly (Aleyrodes proletella) on broccoli plant


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Necrosis by prob. heat wave on young broccoli plant

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Cabbage Curculio - a small weevil
(Ceutorhynchus rapae) on broccoli plant


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Aphids on broccoli plant eaten by Ladybug


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Caterpillar of Cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) on broccoli plant


CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Squash
Cucurbita pepo
Cucurbitaceae Powdery mildew Erysiphe cichoracearum – mild on old plants, prominent on young
Leaf miner – one plant
Uniform chlorosis on some plants – prob. N deficiency
Not significant

Not significant
Not significant



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Powdery mildew Erysiphe cichoracearum on young squash plant

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Uniform chlorosis on old leaves (N deficiency??), squash plant




CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Basil
Ocimum basilicum
LamiaceaeChlorosis, wilting, stunted growth, spots– replanting, deficiency, bacteria (???)
Prob. Downy mildew Peronospora belbahrii/ too weak plants during replanting
Potentially Significant

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Weak and damaged basil plants, multiple influencing factors



CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Turnip
Brassica rapa subsp. Rapa
Swede
Brassica napobrassica)
Brassicaceae Brassica or Cabbage Bug (Eurydema oleracea)
Chlorosis and necrosis of old leaves – investment into roots
Dark leaf spot - prob. Alternaria brassicicola
Not significant
Not significant

Not significant



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Brassica or Cabbage Bug (Eurydema oleracea)
on turnip plant (grown next to broccoli)


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Senescence of old leaves on turnips



CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Tomato
Solanum lycopersicum
Solanaceae.Chlorosis and necrosis of old leaves, spots – late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestansPotentially can be significant, previous experience proved no impact on fruits

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Late blight on tomatoes, caused by the fungus-like
 oomycete pathogen Phytophthora infestans



CROPFAMILYPROBLEMLEVEL OF DAMAGE
(IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY)
April - May
Cucumber
Cucumis sativus
Cucurbitaceae Necrosis of leaves edges, spots holes – prob. downy mildew (caused by the oomycete Pseudoperonospora cubensis)
Green caterpillar (only nest?)
Not significant


C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\IMG_20180609_171451.jpg
prob. downy mildew (caused by the
oomycete Pseudoperonospora cubensis) on cucumber plant



C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\IMG_20180611_110913.jpg
prob. downy mildew (caused by the oomycete
 Pseudoperonospora cubensis) on cucumber plant

If you would like to create a forest garden and would like some practical hands on experience take a look at our course coming up this Autumn. 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 and digest slowly.   


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