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.  



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.


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

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.


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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.

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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


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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 


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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.

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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.

 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Contour Beds, Forest Garden Layers and Wildlife. Week 10 - The Polyculture Project

So here's what we've been up to last week :)


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.

The summer is upon us and although June is actually the wettest month of the year in our region, its often very hot and the rain falls intensely in short bursts or storms as you can see in the below clip.



Surveying in Ataraxia 


We've had a productive week in the gardens with some surveying in Ataraxia to mark out irrigation channels and new beds that we'll be planting out in the Autumn. 

 Emilce using the transit level to find contour lines for the irrigation channels. 


Angela and Victoria measuring the perimeter of the area. We then pegged out the various contour lines within the area starting from the highest point and looked for a contour line every 50cm drop in elevation, i.e, we made a topographic survey of the plot with 50 cm contour interval.  


After pegging out a line we clear the large shrubs from the area that will be the raised bed.  In this particular case this contour line will serve as a guideline that we will offset from to make equal distances between the beds. The beds will be planted with perennial polycultures of trees, shrubs and herbs and the area between the beds - the alleys - will be 3m wide and planted with various ancient grains such as Einkorn.  


Daniel trimming down Rosa canina -  Dog Rose shrubs. We'll be using all the biomass we clear from the area, and more, to pile up on the bed area and build up a nice thick layer of organic material.    



The bed area is then cut down with a mower and ready for decompaction with the broad fork before we start piling on the organic matter. We'll start the decompaction after a heavy rain as the soils in this garden are quite solid, full of stones and difficult to work with when dry. 


Plants in the biomass trial beds planted in April are establishing well. Here are Mulberry saplings. This cultivar Morus alba - 'Kokuso 27' was bred specifically for biomass to feed silk worms.



And here's the Symphytum x uplandicum 'Bocking 14' Comfrey patch. The first year it's best to leave the plants to establish and begin the cutting the following spring. We've been measuring comfrey yields from a patch in market garden that you can read more about here.




The Market Garden



Victoria putting up nets along the Paulownia tomentosa - Foxglove Tree trees for the cucumbers planted in between.


Daniel broad forking over a raised bed in the market garden that we are leaving fallow this season. We've chopping and dropping the vegetation that comes up in the bed and also mulching it thickly with vegetation from the garden.

Thanks again to Gligans Broadforks for donating this excellent hand made tool to us. 



The Forest Garden


Late May early June the forest garden fruits start piling in 

Rubus idaeus cv. - Raspberry just get better every year. I've taken to pruning half of the canes down to ground level in Autumn and leaving half standing. The result is a nice early crop at the beginning of Spring from the unpruned canes and late crop in September from the pruned canes.


The cherry orchard is planted to provide cherries from late May to mid June and these late cherries, the last of the crop are sweet and crunchy and my personal favourites.  



on the left and Morus alba - White Mulberry  on the right


Ribes rubrum - Redcurrants in the under story of Alnus cordata - Italian Alder   



planted next to a tyre pond which you can see Typha latifolia - Bull rush stems growing up from. You can also see Humulus lupulus - Common Hop  climbing the shrub on the left  and some Raspberries creeping in from a nearby patch and a wonderful little Aglais io - European peacock posing for the snap.




Here's some labelled photos of polycultures in various layers of the forest garden. Click on the plant names for profiles of the species. All of these plants are available from our nursery (seeds or plants) 

Shrub Layer





Herb Layer




Lower Canopy



Wildlife in and around the Gardens


White Storks are common in the area and nest just a few hundred meters from Ataraxia, the trial Garden. These birds spend spring - autumn here but do their wintering in Africa from tropical Sub-Saharan Africa to as far south as South Africa, or on the Indian subcontinent. 


Here's Lucanus cervus, best-known as Stag Beetle that I found on the pathway but placed on our grape vines for a photo shot. I hope she didn't mind.  This fascinating species is threatened in Europe. I found this citizen scientist website,European Stag Beetle Monitoring Network, that is looking to know more about the population size and asking people to submit observational records. If you are interested you can find out more here.



We had an email from feedspot last week informing us that we're currently 25th in the top 40 Ecology Blogs and Websites on the planet to follow in 2018.  You can find the list here, there are some great projects on there.

We even got this medal :) 



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.