Sunday, 28 March 2010

Chickens and guttering! News update.

Guttering and BBQ arrived today from Andy who is moving up North shortly. One of the next important jobs is to get the water harvesting started. The guttering for the summer house is gratefully received. As for the BBQ, it could be amazing. I just hope I will get lots of friend round for some tasty food this summer and we have a rain proof veranda, if it does rain. But do I really need a BBQ? It seems very indulgent.

Andy also brought a shed over for the other Andy who will need to come and get it quick before I take it over. It looks like a useful sort of a shed!

The ideas are starting to shape up. The front garden raised beds may be arranged as a mandala. There is space for at least another 3 fruit trees in the front and definitely a cherry and a peach in the back. I also have my favourite garden foraging must have plant...Lavatera. But where to put them (3). This week I hope to have some worked designs.

Clare has offered me two chickens. I have checked with the neighbours and they are DELIGHTED. Of course I have said yes. This is synchonicity! The very day Clare offered I was just thinking the area by the side of the house would make an ideal chicken run!I am a bit anxious, more about the level of commitment to being at home but I think the neighbours children will be pretty good at helping out.

Next Saturday will be session 3 of our 6 create a garden from scratch. We will be doing more on Permaculture design techniques.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Equinox Saturday

Another exciting session. In the learning bit we looked at Permaculture Design tecniques and how to apply ethics to each system we design and how it can be applied to our choices too. We explored some Permaculture principles. I talked through a previous workshop session in which we applied Permaculture design to the problem: what if the supermarkets run out of food? Using the principles a couple of key points become clear... local resources meet local needs. Our food needs to be local to be sustainable. We need each other, our knowledge, support and community. The problem was turned around into the goal: An abundance of food for everyone, everywhere all the time. We also looked at SAD, the design technique I learned as a Landscape Architect: Survey, Analysis and Design, we also looked at Zoning and sector anaylsis and I completely forgot to mention OBREDIM! Next time. I thought this was a juicy session.

With 10 of us and 5 children we achieved a lot. The work: A load of yorkstone slabs were moved round the back ready to be utilised in a patio, this was a big heavy job and a strong team of 3 tackled this with what looked like ease, I am sure it must have been hard work. More glazing on the greenhouse got done, although this seems be problematic. Most of the glass that has been stored does not appear to fit and some of it is broken and it is tricky to put in. One suggestion was to tear it down and erect a polytunnel! We will see. Meanwhile seedlings will find a place on a sunny windowsill. There was further cleaning of windows in the summer house and finally another team of 3 tackled the shed stuffed full of wood to be sorted. It seems rats or some creature has been using this as a toilet and was pretty disgusting. YUK! I had hoped to carve out space for the bikes and tools. Just the tools! Today I thought I would empty it and store everything under the wendy house as the shed is damp from the ground and there is a roof leak that needs attention. The shed may collapse if I take everything out though! One other job was to sort through the multitude of accumulated pots.

There is a seed collection building up. Sally contributed some herbs and seeds. just planted some lettuce. I have aspargus seedlings waiting to have a home too. My favourite quirky nursery in Challock turns out to be organic and sells loads of edible plants and seeds. Will take Andy there to get his fruit trees before the season turns.

Equinox Saturday

Friday, 19 March 2010

yields are theoretically unlimited

Just been reading Bill mollison's ideas about yields being theoretically unlimited. That awesome idea suggests that we can for example grow food and however complex and productive the system, it can be developed to be more productive. In his permaculture bible he describes examples of these unlimited yield systems in all areas of life. Stunning... We will be discussing this at session 2 tomorrow.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Next session this Saturday and strawberries are planted!

Well I got the strawberries planted in the planter, very exciting! A few plants have been dotted around the garden. The rest have been planted up to sell on the Permaculture stall I am doing at the Steiner school's Easter Bazaar. So big thanks to Alice for the plants.

i actually got my 2010 copy of the biodynamic calender last week. I have a terrible habit of getting them in March when I start getting desperate to know whether or not it is a leaf or pruning day. I thought I might make session 3 a wacky one exploring dowsing, earth geometry and biodynamics. I will see what the team want!

I have drawn up the survey so now have a base plan to doodle all over and hopefully make all the design mistakes on paper!

I am getting ready for the next session on Saturday and have to say i am incredibly excited and a bit nervous. I love sharing Permaculture I think it is such an awesome idea. Designing for someone else seems easier. So i will introduce some design skills on Saturday with which we will hopefully uncover some of the design for this garden.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Strawberry plants are coming!

Alice on Stone Street has been invaded by hundreds of strawberry plants and is glad to release a few dozen! I will go and dig them up in the next couple of days.

I never realised how much I wanted one of these strawberry planters. You know the large pot with about 20 holes for plants to be popped in. Strawberry plants are so versatile. Of course you get the lovely fruit. They are a great ground cover. They are beautiful plants, and every year they make more and more plants. If I get really hungry I can eat the leaves too, bit tough. that would be one for the stock pot!

I never made it to the beach yesterday. I did make it to Thanet by total mistake so ran up a few unnecessary carbon miles and was late for my meeting. I did however find time to look at the list of vegetable and apart from cabbages, I want everything!

So a vegetable order will be winging its way on Thursday! I may restrain myself!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Getting weirdly excited about what veg to grow.

Phew... Just getting excited about deciding what I will grow in the way of annuals this year as it is time to start seedlings off. Definitely rip them off the plants peas! Tonnes of salad. Just that sounds great. The usuals too: courgettes, runner beans, chard, spinach, tomatoes. Is it weird to get so happy just thinking about yummy things I can go and scavenge from my own garden? I am off to a meeting at St Margarets so may sit by the beach for 10 minutes with my veg book.

The garden seems much clearer today. Not as messy as it seemed yesterday.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Session 1. What a great start!

Icy cold wind coming from the East. Brrhhh. There were 10 of us plus 5 children. Tea and food seemed to feature highly as a handful arrived early for lunch and most stayed for soup afterwards with cups of hot beverages in between.

The focus was very much on getting to know the garden. We explored the fundamental Permaculture skill of observation. We did a treasure hunt to find about 20 things round the garden. I think I made it too easy as everyone did it really quickly. We did some nature awareness games which included only a few eyes closed exercises. We walked the boundaries of the property, I found myself in places I had not been before. This was fascinating to me as I see lots of things that need doing and tidying I had stopped noticing. I have lived here a year now which has given me time to understand how the sunlight and winds really influence this place, As my place is sandwiched between conventionally worked fields, pesticide sprays are an issue especially as I (and my neighbour) do not use chemicals in the garden.

I really enjoyed the day and always love the way a group of people start bonding when working on a task together. I appreciated having my daughter around. The children were part of it all, free to come and go. They mainly played hard on their own games. My team worked hard. We got started on re glazing the greenhouse, created a log store, pruned a shrub, put a door knocker on my door, cleaned windows in the summer house, listed resources around the place and a measured survey was done to create a base plan. ..all in 1.5 hours! Plus the working into the dark of the two Andys to complete the log store! The summer house makes a great workshop space. this is the first time it has been clear enough to use in this way. It works really well. It can only get better now.

I was very excited. Now I am panicking a bit on the huge job ahead! It is important to have fun doing this so I will acknowledge the panic and the need to relax and enjoy the process. This is of course a design issue! I will first apply a KISS! Keep it Simple Sister. My garden is already pretty fab and everything that happens now on is making it better. My years of foraging means I can find food in the garden already and I have made an excellent start.

Next time we will start exploring Permaculture design techniques and start watching as a design unfolds. I already sketched out a design, shortly after moving here. Now I am spending time applying Permaculture design techniques and principles it will be interesting to see what evolves.

First session was great!

What a great time! It was bitterly cold as we practised observation skills. I will write more tomorrow with some photos.

Friday, 5 March 2010

More magical manifestations

Andy from round the corner has brought another 4 trailer loads of things he does not need anymore that I can use! Matching garden table, chairs and umbrella. (All timber painted a tasteful blue. Just needs a little TLC). A strawberry planter thing. I have always had a yearning for one of those. Just need to get 20 strawberry plants now! More giant slices of wood. A barrow, felting to go on the wood store I now need! And the loan of a sack barrow to use tomorrow on the big first day.

He is so fired up hearing about Permaculture that I may well be invited to the Lake District to help design his small holding into a productive place. A great energy exchange!

It is a good job my meeting was cancelled today so I was around to help him cart around the giant bits of wood. I have a feeling we will be sharing out potential timber slice tables and stools amongst the willing workers that come along!

Excited & scared

I feel very excited and a little scared! I have been bonkers about Permaculture for 20years and have tonnes of experience but this is the first time I have ever consciously created my own Permaculture garden. I have designed and created many Permacultural and Forest gardens over the years for others. Now it is my turn.

The sun is shining here. I have a million things to organise but here I am doing my first bit of blogging and already finding I want to write loads.

I will restrain myself and just add in the way that miracles happen. This week 2 significant gifts have arrived. My friend Tom has moved house and given me a Flowform! This in itself is totally brilliant and will be a beautiful and useful asset in the garden. if you dont know what this is then look it up. The other gift is from Andy who is also moving. He dropped off 4 trailers of seasoned wood for my log burner and a lot of large slices of wood that can be used to make garden furniture. Thanks Tom and Andy.

Got to go and prepare for our first session tomorrow.

I am excited! We start tomorrow!

I have invited people through the local Kent Permaculture and Transistion networks to come and learn about Permaculture hands on for free! I sent out the message below.

Create a Permaculture Garden from scratch!
First session Saturday March 6th 1.30-4.30 in Bekesbourne

The aim is to Create a super productive garden that provides most of our food without much work once set up.

Would you like to learn about Permaculture in a hands on way?

Practice design skills, hang out with like minded people helping with a project.FOR FREE! Well sort of, you have to work for it, so bring gloves and wellies when you come!

I am a Permaculture teacher and experienced garden designer.

You bring your hands, some time and an open mind, help me make a compost bin, fit a water bin or dig a pond etc., I teach you permaculture design, with cups tea thrown in!

To start with: Permaculture garden design, then specialist Permaculture techniques such as forest gardening, creating guilds etc

If you can’t make this date but would like to be involved, please let me know.

What is a Permaculture Garden ?
Produces high yields of crops for little work
Minimum work for maximum output
Works with nature, not against it
Thoughtful design means yields are theoretically unlimited
Everything garden. One that meets our needs in a beautiful and simple way: food, fun for kids, somewhere to chill and whatever else we want to include.