Saturday, 3 October 2020

Walnuts, Bulbs from the Allium Nursery and Persimmons - Week 27 - The Polyculture Project

It's truly a relief to move into autumn following the hottest and driest summer I can remember here. It's a pleasure to be in the gardens again and witness the last flurry of activity before the winter sets in.  

This week marks the peak of walnut season! Once they start to drop we take a long stick and gently hit the branches. As you can see in the image below, most of the nuts have been released from the husks and need just a slight bit of encouragement to fall. Of course you can always leave them to drop on their own, but it makes for more efficient harvesting to collect the nuts in one go.


A walnut from the tree in the volunteer house garden. Possibly the best tasting walnuts in town!


Walnut trees produce the chemical juglone, which is exuded from all parts of the plant. This chemical can inhibit the growth rate of nearby plants, a phenomenon known as negative alleopathy. You can see our previous blog post here which provides a table of plants that are tolerant to juglone. The lists were compiled from published sources and are based on observation under various settings, but few plants have actually been experimentally tested for sensitivity to juglone. The plants highlighted in green in the table are species we have personally observed growing seemingly unhindered in and around the under story of Juglans regia.  


We are offering some great cultivars this season. You can check out what's on offer here.



Last week we finished our first online Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course, although it's not a wrap yet, as the participants will be using the knowledge that they gained and the exercises that were completed throughout the course to put together final a final design project. We're really looking forward to seeing the designs and hope to share some of them on here with you in November and December. A massive thank you to everyone who took part - it's been a great 20 weeks, and we look forward to seeing your final designs in the coming  months!

We are already looking forward to next year's course that will start on the 1st May 2021 - if you are interested you can register here for the full course before 1st December with promo code EARLY2021 and receive a 25% discount,


I was amazed but delighted to find a few ripe Japanese Persimmon - Diospyros kaki this week. The fruits are significantly smaller than usual - probably due to the very dry and hot summer experienced here this year. Ordinarily the fruit ripens in November - December, and we often have to pick it when it's hard and soften the fruit indoors on the windowsill. This is the first time I have picked it ripe from the tree, a somewhat messy experience as the fruit is so very soft when ripe. Absolutely delicious though!




 Persimmon prefers full sun, but can tolerate light shade. This tree is growing next to, and partially under, the walnut tree forementioned. You can see the two trees together in the below image. The main trunk of  the Diospyros kaki - Japanese Persimmon is approximately 5m away from the main trunk of the Juglans regia - Persian Walnut, and both trees are thriving so far. We may need to lift the lower limbs of the Walnut in the future to make some space, but otherwise they both appear quite comfortable. For a list of Persimon cultivars on offer this season see here.




The Allium nursery has come full circle! From planting out the first bulbs last autumn to now harvesting baby bulbs to offer to our customers this season. All the species we planted and now offer are edible, attractive to beneficial insects, flower at various times throughout the year, and root at different depths.  See below for a more detailed profile on A.atropurpureum - Ornamental Onion.


Allium atropurpureum or Ornamental Onion, is a perennial bulb with flower stems growing to 1m in height.  Native to the Balkan region and although quite tolerant of different soil types, heavy clay soils should always be avoided with Alliums. They really seem to thrive in open, sunny positions in well drained soil. A.atropurpureum is fairly drought tolerant and can tolerate quite low temperatures (USDA hardiness zone 7-10).  It's striking tall drumstick-like appearance brings a unique quality to the garden, and the flowers are an unusual maroon colour, blooming in May - June.




Uses: This Allium didn't get the common name Ornamental Onion for nothing, and it's highly valued for its aesthetic qualities. It can be grown in a sunny border in a polyculture in the herb layer, and may also be grown with roses as it is thought to play a helpful role in pest control. It shouldn't be grown with legumes, but can be grown with carrots and beetroots, making a good guard on the outer edges of an annual vegetable bed.




Edibility: The bulbs are reportedly edible, although we haven't tried them yet.  The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, and are best when young and before the plant flowers. Flowers can be used as a garnish on salads. Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet and are thought to reduce cholesterol and improve circulation.

Biodiversity: Lots of dark wine red nectar-pollen rich florets, making a large characteristically Allium shaped pom-pom that forms on the end of a long stem. Known for attracting bees, butterflies​/​moths, birds and other pollinators, and stands out due to its height.
 
Propagation: Bulbs should be planted 10cm deep in the autumn for emergence the following spring.  Once clump forming, can be divided in the spring.


 

Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course 


If you would like to learn how to design, build and manage regenerative landscapes we'll be running our second Regenerative Landscape Design - Online Interactive Course that starts on May 1st, 2021. 

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.

Regenerative Landscape Design Online Course

You can find out all about the course here and right now we have a 20% discount on the full enrollment fees. Just use the promo code SUB2021 in the section of the registration form to receive your discount. The offer is valid until the 15th of March 2021.

We are looking forward to providing you with this unique online learning experience - as far as we know the very first of its kind, 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. Looking forward to it!

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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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