Thursday, 24 May 2018

Cherry Heaven, Robinia Coppice and Irrigation Channels. Week 7 - The Polyculture Project

Another cool and cloudy week punctuated with intense sunny spells, my favourite type of weather in the gardens. This week we continued planting out the warm season crops such as tomatoes, squash and sweetcorn, cleared out the undergrowth in the Robinia pseudoacacia coppice, worked on the irrigation channels for the perennial polyculture trial garden and picked the first of the cherries.


But first just to let you know we've revamped our Online Store where you can find Forest Garden/ Permaculture Plants, Seeds, Cuttings, Bulbs, Rhizomes and Polyculture Multi-packs along with digital goods and services such as Online Courses, Webinars, eBooks, and Online Consultancy and finally we've added a Bulk Fruit and Nut Tree order form for Farms, Orchards, Nurseries, and Large Regenerative Landscape Projects. If there is anything in the store you would like to see but is not there, please let us know. We hope you enjoy the store and find something you like :) It's your purchases that keep our Project going. Thank you. Enter Our Store Here

Plants, Seeds, eBooks, Consultancy, Bulk Fruit and Nut Tree Orders for Permaculture, Polyculture, Forest Gardens and Regenerative Landscapes.


We said goodbye to Malcolm this week - (thanks for joining us, Malcolm!) and welcomed Elise to the project.

The Gardens


Misty morning in the market garden. After the rains is a great time to chop and drop the vegetation building up a nice layer of water retentive organic matter before the long dry summers we usually have here. 



Below the walnut tree on the southern boundary we have a good shrub layer establishing including  Prunus insititia - Damson  and  Sambucus nigra  - Elderberry. It's common knowledge that walnuts produce a alleopathic chemical called juglone but in my experience there are few plants that seem to be negatively impacted by this. I started a list of plants that we or other growers have seen growing well with walnuts. You can find that list here 





Over at the volunteer house thDiospyros kaki - Japanese Persimmon is in flower. It looks like we will have a bumper crop of Persimmon this year.




The Orchard



We made our first visit to the orchard this year to catch the early cherries.



Angela and Victoria picking the early season cherries







We have not been mowing or grazing the orchard the last 3 years and native shrubs such as this Rosa canina - Dog Rose  are starting to establish among the grasses. I prefer to mow or graze and move these types of plants into the hedgerows,  as we see more diversity of flowering plants and insects in the orchard after cutting.   



Cydonia oblonga - Quince fruits forming 


The nuts are forming nicely on the young walnut trees in the orchard. 



The Coppice


Last year with the assistance of Chris Mallorie,  Fergus Webster and Gabriele Landi we started to fell some Robinia pseudoacacia in a small woodland plot.



We went back to the coppice last week and it was great to see the regrowth doing so well and the emergence of many more flowering plants and insects taking advantage of the extra light now available.  


Victoria cutting back the growth around the stools and thinning some of the smaller and bent regrowth in order to promote faster growth of the straight stems. We're planning on using the coppice sticks next year for tomato stakes. 




Here you can see the regrowth 3 weeks after the first cut last year and the regrowth approx 1 year later. The tallest regrowth stems were over 2m tall and approx 4- 5 cm diameter 


The Cornus sanguinea - Common Dogwood that grows in the understory of the woodland along with Hawthorn - Crateagus spp. are making the most of the light and flowering prolifically.



The herb layer is also a lot more active and colorful









Irrigation Channels



Victoria and Elise reshaping the irrigation channels for the perennial polyculture trial garden.




We divert some flow away from the main river into hand dug channels that pass through various plots of land before draining into our pond.


 The final stretch before entering the garden. This stream fills our pond but we also use a passive irrigation system diverting the water into contour paths that fill with water. We raise the water level in the paths by blocking the low points with sacks of sawdust. The sitting water is then drawn throughout the soil via capillary action.




   

Upcoming Forest Garden Courses 


If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands-on experience come and join us for our Desing and Build a Forest Garden Course. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers, and wildlife ponds. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

Design and Build - Forest Garden Course  - Regenerative Landscape Design Course

Registration for our course is now open with a 15% discount on accommodation and food fees when you register as a group (2 or more). You can also take advantage of early booking discounts if you book 3 months before the course starts.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please Consider Supporting Our Efforts 


Our project grows with our desire to provide better quality information. Our overheads and demands on our time also grow along with our development and this presents a challenge for us to maintain the project and activities. We do not receive any government, institutional or NGO funding for our project and rely on revenue from sales of our courses, plants, consultancy, and design work along with the support of our amazing volunteers to develop and manage the gardens and are very grateful for this. So please consider joining us for a course or event, purchasing products and services from our online store or plants from our bio nursery, participating in our online educational platforms and support the project while we support you. Feeling super generous today? You can also support us directly with a one-time donation or become a sponsor of our project providing monthly support. With your support, we will continue to improve on producing quality information and data for the community, building a world-class demonstration landscape and progress on our mission to develop and promote practices that can produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.

 

We also accept donations via bank transfer in USD - EURO - GBP - AUD - NZD  - (please email for account details) and via peer to peer distributed ledger - BTC - ETH



If you are not in a financial position to purchase our products and services or donate please comment, like and share our work. This helps us to spread our work further afield and is much appreciated.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you like to be involved in the project next season?  1-6 month placements on our polyculture study are now open. 


Permaculture and Regenerative Design Internships


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


Our Bio-Nursery - Permaculture/Polyculture/ Regenerative Landscape Plants 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Design and Create Webinars - Forest Gardens, Urban Gardens, Permaculture, Regenerative Farming   


We're hosting a range of online learning sessions including how to create habitat to enhance biodiversity, how to design and build a forest garden, polyculture design software tutorials, regenerative farm, and landscape design, urban gardening and much more. If you would like to be notified when our next sessions are coming up please add your email below and hit subscribe and we'll be in touch. 




You can also register for our online training, services, and products directly here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




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

  • Comment, like and share our content on social media.

 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Planting out and bird life in and around the gardens. Week 6 - The Polyculture Project

It's been the driest Spring I can recall  but we finally got some rain this week. Very refreshing and relieving and the perfect weather for planting out. 


But first just to let you know we've revamped our Online Store where you can find Forest Garden/ Permaculture Plants, Seeds, Cuttings, Bulbs, Rhizomes and Polyculture Multi-packs along with digital goods and services such as Online Courses, Webinars, eBooks, and Online Consultancy and finally we've added a Bulk Fruit and Nut Tree order form for Farms, Orchards, Nurseries, and Large Regenerative Landscape Projects. If there is anything in the store you would like to see but is not there, please let us know. We hope you enjoy the store and find something you like :) It's your purchases that keep our Project going. Thank you. Enter Our Store Here

Plants, Seeds, eBooks, Consultancy, Bulk Fruit and Nut Tree Orders for Permaculture, Polyculture, Forest Gardens and Regenerative Landscapes.

Tomatoes , Beans, Squash and Tagetes planted into the raised beds on an overcast day. 


We did suffer some seedling losses in the cloches, the very hot and dry April combined with a few windy days seems to have taken it's toll on them.  Here's a tray of the survivors-  Climbing Bean 'Cobra' that we plant out on tripods as part of the Zeno Polyculture. 



For more info on Zeno a vegetable and herb polyculture illustrated below that includes Tomatoes, Basil, Beans, Squash and Tagetes see our previous post here 



My brother Pete and his family we're visiting this week.  Pete has been keeping records of bird life in and around the gardens. You can find his reports at the bottom of this post. 


Oecophora bractella is a species of gelechioid moth - photo by Peter Alfrey



The legless lizard, Slow worm - Anguis fragilis are great pest predators consuming slugs, snails, caterpillars and ants. Unfortunately the local cats are partial to hunting the Slow worms  -  Photo by Peter Alfrey


Hawfinch - Coccothraustes coccothraustes Photo by Peter Alfrey



 Red-backed shrike - Lanius collurio perched in a walnut tree. Every year these wonderful birds patrol the gardens on look out for grubs. They breed around the gardens and each year they bring their young into the market garden where they perch on the tomato stakes and train the young ones  in the arts of fly and grub catching.   Photo by Peter Alfrey




Fire salamander - Salamandra salamandra . We never see these in the gardens as they prefer the dense and cooler woodland of the mountains but at night time and on rainy days you can find them  walking along the forest tracks.   Photo by Peter Alfrey


The herb layer in the forest garden full of flowering grasses this time of year 



Here you can find the Shipka Area Bird List by Peter Alfrey on Scribd



Upcoming Forest Garden Courses 


If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands-on experience come and join us for our Desing and Build a Forest Garden Course. We'll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers, and wildlife ponds. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.

Design and Build - Forest Garden Course  - Regenerative Landscape Design Course

Registration for our course is now open with a 15% discount on accommodation and food fees when you register as a group (2 or more). You can also take advantage of early booking discounts if you book 3 months before the course starts.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please Consider Supporting Our Efforts 


Our project grows with our desire to provide better quality information. Our overheads and demands on our time also grow along with our development and this presents a challenge for us to maintain the project and activities. We do not receive any government, institutional or NGO funding for our project and rely on revenue from sales of our courses, plants, consultancy, and design work along with the support of our amazing volunteers to develop and manage the gardens and are very grateful for this. So please consider joining us for a course or event, purchasing products and services from our online store or plants from our bio nursery, participating in our online educational platforms and support the project while we support you. Feeling super generous today? You can also support us directly with a one-time donation or become a sponsor of our project providing monthly support. With your support, we will continue to improve on producing quality information and data for the community, building a world-class demonstration landscape and progress on our mission to develop and promote practices that can produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.

 

We also accept donations via bank transfer in USD - EURO - GBP - AUD - NZD  - (please email for account details) and via peer to peer distributed ledger - BTC - ETH



If you are not in a financial position to purchase our products and services or donate please comment, like and share our work. This helps us to spread our work further afield and is much appreciated.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Would you like to be involved in the project next season?  1-6 month placements on our polyculture study are now open. 


Permaculture and Regenerative Design Internships


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


Our Bio-Nursery - Permaculture/Polyculture/ Regenerative Landscape Plants 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Design and Create Webinars - Forest Gardens, Urban Gardens, Permaculture, Regenerative Farming   


We're hosting a range of online learning sessions including how to create habitat to enhance biodiversity, how to design and build a forest garden, polyculture design software tutorials, regenerative farm, and landscape design, urban gardening and much more. If you would like to be notified when our next sessions are coming up please add your email below and hit subscribe and we'll be in touch. 




You can also register for our online training, services, and products directly here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




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

  • Comment, like and share our content on social media.