Sunday, 24 May 2020

Korean Dogwood, Fig, Blackberry and Walnut Polyculture in the Forest Garden and More Alliums - Week 10 - The Polyculture Project

It's been great weather here this week, with some lovely rain during the night and bright blue skies in the morning. We've been getting on with some pruning and chop and drop this week as well a little cherry harvesting as the first fruits flush pink and are good for eating.

Here are some photos from the gardens and what we've been up to 


So pleased to see the first of the flowers on our Cornus kousa - Korean Dogwood plants. It's been 8 years since I sowed the seed of these plants (seed harvested from plants in the woodland gardens of  RHS Wisely).  Finally the moment for the plant to bear its own seed has arrived. Well worth the wait and we're looking forward to the fruits in late summer. I hope that a visitor to our humble garden will take some seed from these trees with them one day and extend the travel of this plants progeny, perhaps it will make it's way back to the far east eventually :)


Devendra Banhart's Korean Dogwood is almost as beautiful as the plant.


Lovely to find these volunteer Centaurea sp. in the garden. This genus includes between 350 and 600 species of herbaceous thistle-like flowering plants.   There are over 76 species from this genus in Bulgaria and I'm not sure which this is. A lot of the plants in this genus produce good quantities of nectar over a comparatively long duration and are a popular food source for insects that may otherwise attack certain crops so may make a good decoy plant.


A view from the center of the forest Garden after some pruning, mowing and chop and drop.


 Around about this time of year, it's common to find a shrewdness of juvenile Homo sapiens clambering in the crowns of Prunus avium - Cherry in search of the first ripe fruits. Hopefully, we have a few warm weeks with just a little rain and we'll have an excellent cherry season this year. 



Cherry Cultivars for Forest Gardens and Permaculture


Allium moly Golden Garlic starting to flower in Allium nursery.  When looking for some info on this plant I found a reference to a mythical plant called Moly. In Odyssey, Homer describes the plant as follows "The root was black, while the flower was as white as milk; the gods call it Moly, Dangerous for a mortal man to pluck from the soil, but not for the deathless gods. All lies within their power" Fortunately not referring to this plant that we'll be dividing bulbs from for delivery this Autumn. 


Allium amplectens - Narrowleaf Onion is another new Allum we are growing in the nursery this year.  The plant grows wild in woods and especially in clay and serpentine soils of  North America (British Columbia, Oregon, Washington State and California.)


Symphytum x uplandicum - Comfrey is flowering profusely. For lots more info on this marvelous plant check out our previous article - Comfrey - BELIEVE the HYPE!


Lamium maculatum - Spotted Dead Nettle is a great little groundcover plant in our forest garden. This time of year the inflorescence extends to around 30 cm high and produces these lovely nectar-rich flowers.  In the wild we can find the plant growing on the forest floor so grows well in dappled shade and will spread around an area quite slowly. It does hold its ground very well prohibiting grasses and other common volunteers from establishing among it. We have planted under Rubus idaeus cv. - Raspberry and a Morus alba - White Mulberry  pollard 


Rubus fruticosus x ideaus - Tayberry fruits developing. A cross between a Blackberry and a Raspberry and named after the River Tay in Scotland, where it was first bred by the Scottish Crop Research Institute. It is an incredible blend - the fruit is the size of a big raspberry with the sweetness and juiciness of a blackberry, but helpfully does not spread as profusely as the blackberry. Tayberries produce consistently higher yields than Loganberries and the fruit is large - sometimes up to 5 cm in length.  The fruit is at its best when it has matured to a purple-red color and can be eaten straight from the plant but also lends itself well to being cooked, frozen, and for making jam. 


This Rubus fruticosus cv. - Blackberry' Thornfree' is really starting to find its place in the forest garden. It took a few years for the plants to establish but now they are growing really well under various trees and have delicious fruits in late Summer. This particular plant is growing under a  Ficus carica cv. - Fig that we keep pruned to 2 m high and the fig sits under a 20-year-old Juglans regia - Persian Walnut in the forest garden. 


Here's a short video of this polyculture 


We've still not planted out our basil seedlings but will start to get them out in between the tomatoes, squash and beans in the next few weeks. Just a few cold nights can really check the growth of these plants so I prefer to leave them in pots until the first week of June. 


We're in the fourth week of our very first Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course -  How to Design, Build, and Manage Polycultures for Landscapes, Gardens, and Farms. It's been great getting to know the group and the different sites people are working on all over the world. 

There is still time to register for the full course and right now we have a 25% discount for full enrollment to the course. After this week, you will be able to sign up for separate weeks or modules that appeal to you as we continue with the course, and if you would like to do the full course you can register for next year.

You can find out more about the course here to see if it tickles your fancy and if you are thinking of reasons why you should do this course and whether this course is suitable for you, take a look here where we lay it all out.

Regenerative Landscape Design Online Course

We're super excited about running the course and look forward to providing you with the confidence, inspiration, and opportunity to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes, gardens, and farms that produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.


Welcome to 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.




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.

 

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Medlars in the Forest Garden, Bulgarian Honey Garlic under Figs and Wild Flower Meadows - Week 9 - The Polyculture Project

Wow, that week went super fast. It's been hot and still here the last week, threatening to rain but never delivering which is odd for May as it's usually one of our wettest months. We spent most of the week working in the home garden Apatheia, propagating plants for the nursery, planting out the Tomatoes (now the chance of late frost is unlikely) and chop and dropping in the perennial beds of the forest garden. Here are some photos from the gardens and what we've been up to this week.


Allium neapolitanum - Daffodil Garlic,  another of the new Alliums we're growing.  A perennial bulbous plant native to the Mediterranean from Portugal to Turkey. Delicious flowers :) 


Here are the flowers with an unidentified fly (Diptera) that appears to be stuck to the petal via its proboscis. I'm not sure what's going on there? 


Orange-tip Butterfly- Anthocharis cardamines feeding on the nectar of some Kohlrabi plants that we did not harvest last season. The flowers and flower buds are delicious and make a welcome snack whenever passing by. 


Mespilus germanica - Medlar is one of my favorite trees in the garden. It grows at a steady pace and never becomes overwhelming, tolerates (even appreciates) a little shade and I've never known any of the trees in our gardens or in the surrounding area to be troubled by pest and disease. As the plant matures it often develops a quirky lean and reliably turns out plenty of deliciously unusual fruits right up until Christmas. The spring flowers are graceful and emerge in stages. I had the opportunity to photograph the flowers in different stages from a plant we planted in Aponia about 5 years ago. 

Mespilus germanica - Medlar flowering in the Forest Garden 

Mespilus germanica - Medlar
 fruits in late September in the forest garden 


I'm enjoying some quick stir-fries from the garden. I grab a few handfuls of Allium tuberosum  - Garlic Chives and Rumex patientia -  a few sprigs of Satureja montana - Winter Savory and Origanum vulgare - Pot Marjora and some  Asparagus officinalis - Asparagus spears., dice it, fry it with a few duck eggs and some bacon and that's lunch:) 


Viburnum opulus 'Xanthocarpum' - Guelder Rose flowering. Good fruit for the birds during the early winter.


Nectaroscordum siculum - Bulgarian Honey Garlic are in flower and what a wonderful flower it is. I love the way the inflorescence tower above the other vegetation on these plants. I've been dotting them around the garden over the years and the effect is quite striking. We're experimenting with these plants for pest control (as a pest confuser) given how powerful the sulfur-containing compounds are in these plants - more on that hereThese plants are also responsible for a national treasure here in Bulgaria, Samardala (Самардала)  a spice/seasoning often used in cooking.


Here's a patch of them strutting their stuff under a Ficus carica cv. - Fig


Sophie sowed some Chickpea - Cicer arietinum that I planted out the other day on the edge of an Asparagus officinalis - Asparagus patch. Beautiful plant and probably fixing some Nitrogen too.


Ammon Felix who is participating in our Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course 
 this season is looking for a landowner interested in developing a Food Forest. Ammon is based in Walla Walla, Washington 

The main goals of this project are

1. Create a food forest that can produce enough highly nutritious berries, nuts, and herbs to supplement the nutritional and medicinal needs of a household

2. Design a self-sustaining system that is drought tolerant, produces its own fertility and creates habitat for support species

3. Can be efficiently managed with hand tools and uplifting human labor

4. Be an example of a Food Forest in our Bio-region and can be occasionally accessed by visitors

5. Act as a genetic repository for uncommon fruits and perennial vegetables that grow well in our region

This project could take many forms. Anywhere from a city parking strip, an empty field, or an existing woody area could be used. If you or anyone you know is interested in this project please get in touch. We can call to talk through your thoughts, the benefits of planting a food forest, the potential site location, and the design and implementation process.

The design process will be done as part of the “Regenerative Landscape Design Course” I am taking part in this spring (www.thepolycultureproject.com/online-learning-platform.html). I have been looking forward to starting this project for a long time and hope you will find the idea inspiring. - Ammon Felix

If you are interested you can contact Ammon via Facebook here

Forest Garden 

Early morning in the garden with the ducks. They like grazing the Trifolium repens - White Clover that we've sown into the lawn.


Always a pleasure to watch the wildflower meadows changing from week to week this time of year. Greater stitchwort - Stellaria holostea is the star of the show at the moment 


As well as the changes from week to week. meadows in the different gardens also feature different dominant species and this is probably due to the different way the meadows are managed. The above photo is from a meadow cut for hay twice a year, with some cattle and horse grazing in early Autumn and the meadow below is grazed by a small flock of sheep pretty much all season. The soils are more or less the same in both locations.


Elaeagnus umbellata - Autumn Olive seed sown last autumn and transplanted into a nursery bed 3 weeks ago by Dylan are doing well. The strongest of these seedlings will be over 60 cm tall by the end of the summer and 4 - 5 years from now will be producing their own fruits.



We're in the third week of our very first Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course -  How to Design, Build and Manage Polycultures for Landscapes, Gardens, and Farms. It's been good fun so far and we have great group with some beautiful plots to work on.

There is still some time to register for the full cousre and right now we have 25% discount for full enrollment to the course. You can also sign up for separate weeks or modules that appeal to you. 

You can find out more about the course here to see if it tickles your fancy and if you are thinking of reasons why you should do this course and whether this course is suitable for you, take a look here where we lay it all out.

Regenerative Landscape Design Online Course

We're super excited about running the course and look forward to providing you with the confidence, inspiration, and opportunity to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes, gardens, and farms that produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.


Welcome to 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.




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.

 

Sunday, 10 May 2020

Garlic, Dill and Carrot Polyculture, Three edible layers in the Forest Garden and some new Allium Species - Week 8 - The Polyculture Project

It's been lovely to have some decent rain last week, to soak the soils, fill up the water tanks, and give the plants that vibrant green sheen. The rain, followed by warm sunshine, has everything growing profusely and the fruits are swelling on the shrubs and trees.

Here are some photos of the gardens this week.


Sophie and the boys planted out one of our raised beds with garlic in the winter. We plant out garlic about 10 cm apart in rows and can fit four rows spaced approx 20cm apart in each bed. We leave a little extra space between rows for sowing other crops.


  In mid-March, Sophie sowed Dill seeds in between one row of garlic and a mix of carrot and spring onion seed in another row, and we also transplanted early cabbage seedlings into the middle row. The cabbages will get big, but by the time they need the space, we'll have harvested the garlic around them, likewise the carrots. The dill we are already using and we'll keep cutting it to prevent it from going to seed (which it likes to do very quickly in our climate). When all the garlic has been removed next month Sophie plans to plant some young leeks in the available space. It seems to work quite well so far The soil is very good in the beds and we added another 25 L of compost per m2 before sowing the garlic so there is plenty of feed for the plants.


In the forest garden, we've been experimenting with some new  Vaccinium corymbosum cv. - Blueberry cultivars. Here we have Vaccinium corymbosum cv. - Blueberry  'Patriot' planted beside Elaeagnus x ebbingei - Ebbinge's silverberry with Allium ursinum - Wild Garlic flowering in the background at the base of the shrub. The Elaeagnus x ebbingei - Ebbinge's silverberry can be considered the Upper Canopy layer here with the Vaccinium corymbosum cv. - Blueberry as the shrub layer and Allium ursinum - Wild Garlic as the herb layer. We'll be planting some ground cover to fill the spaces between these plants (probably try some Alchemilla mollis - Lady's mantle) and adding so more Allium species (see below) into the area for year-round herbaceous cover. 


 and here's a photo from the other side starring Allium ursinum - Wild Garlic with the Vaccinium corymbosum cv. - Blueberry and emerging Rubus idaeus cv. - Raspberry shoots in the background. 


I never fail to appreciate the beauty and patience of Crab Spiders - Thomisidae but also can't help but feel a little annoyed with them as they use the flowers to attract insects for their benefit.  Here's one lying in wait on Lunaria rediviva - Perennial Honesty flowers for some unfortunate invertebrate assuming they are about to tuck into some sweet nectar, instead are about to be tucked into!


The Allium nursery is doing great and within the next few weeks, we're looking forward to witnessing our new arrivals to the garden in full flower for the first time.


Here are the emerging inflorescence of Allium atropurpureum - Dark Purple Onion (right) and Allium amplectens - Narrowleaf onion on the left 


Allium giganteum grows wild in Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwards into Russia but has become a common resident to ornamental gardens across the world. The plant has large edible bulbs, I've not tried them before but I  assume they taste of Onion :) 


Salvia officinalis - Sage starting to flower. Within a week they will be smothered with all sorts of bees, wasps, butterflies, moths and beetles. 

 

I found this larva on the underside of a Schisandra grandiflora. I'm quite certain it is Amphipyra pyramidea - Copper Underwing Moth (thank you to Kostas Christofidis for the I.D). The larvae are minor pests of Apple and Pears and feed mainly on broadleaved forest trees and shrubs but very rarely in quantities that are disruptive.  Copper Underwing Moth has also been known to feed on Kiwi and I think Schisandra spp. are related to Kiwi. This beauty will soon head to the soil to pupate, emerging as a  Moth in July. 


Morus alba - White Mulberry fruits developing nicely. This is a self-seeded tree that we've been encouraging to grow for the last 12 years. The fruits ripen white and are sweeter fruits than the other Morus alba - White Mulberry trees we have in the gardens. Probably perfect for drying which is something we'd like to get into at the project as we have so much excellent fruit that we cannot possibly consume, give away or sell, particularly from the Mulberry trees.   


We have some great Mullbery cultivars available from our Nursery, click below to find out more.

Check out our selection of Mulberry cultivars available from our nursery this Autumn.



We've launched our very first Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course -  How to Design, Build and Manage Polycultures for Landscapes, Gardens, and Farms, and right now we have 25% discount for full enrollment to the course.

You can find out more about the course here to see if it tickles your fancy and if you are thinking of reasons why you should do this course and whether this course is suitable for you, take a look here where we lay it all out.

Regenerative Landscape Design Online Course

We're super excited about running the course and look forward to providing you with the confidence, inspiration, and opportunity to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes, gardens, and farms that produce food and other resources for humans while enhancing biodiversity.


Welcome to 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.




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.