Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bristol Permaculture group/ course visit

I meant to post this last week, but was too busy with other things. Had a very enjoyabole visit from Britol permaculture group course, with Sarah Pugh and Ruth. They have come the last three years now, they sited Y Felin, Tom and Lisa Brown's delightful permaculture plot near Machynlleth, then come to Chickenshack for a talk about housing co-ops and of course, what we get up to hear.

There is a wonderful little indpeendent hostel in Corris in the village above where CAT is, where we all stayed for the night, thus allowing for a visit to the slaters for a few pints of Ruddles or whatever. It was a full day touring CAT and visiting their book shop etc. The pic is of the group walking down to the Dulas river below CAT on a frosty sunny moring. Great group, full of questions and very interested in the subject.. so cheers folks, it was lovely meeting you all!
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More forest gardening

Again, not much to look at yet, but another new tree that has gone in this week, intot he forest garden, is this plum. Prunus golden pershore . Sounded lovely on the lable so i thought I would give it a go. The field has lots of wild damsons and sloes growing in it very happily, so we thought we would try a few more of that family. There is anotr plum, nearer the barn, that Mandy gave me last spring, and also a greengage which has been there quite a lot longer, they are also delicious if you can get them before the birds do.

The overall plan for the garden is basically to build a thick hedge of shelter belt around a central veg area. The trees and shrubs are protected on the outside by willow and a hedge of raspberries. And we are underplanting these fruit trees and shrubs with herbs and berries an perennials like asparagusa nd comfrey. I stil looks messy as the mulch fabrics have blown around in the wind, it will be transformed finally when we pull all that off and can plant into clean soil underneath.
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I just wrote a whole piece on the wonderful chokeberry and it failed to publish, an I am left trying to write it again.. I shall keep it sort this time. Aronia Melocarpa, Black chokeberry, it went in today and will produce lots of rather tart black berries, which are delicious and are a perfect jam ingredient as they make it set easily as well as taste great. There is a red one, Aronia Arbutifolia, which I planted one of about this time last year. Its a spreading shrubby bush, and the leaves are very beautiful in the autumn as well. We hope to be able to get cuttings from and it get good at propagating them to use in the school garden project, as well as here.
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new chooks

they came a couple of days ago and are still settling in , but they are black tailed something or others.. and fairly hardy breed by all accounts, its been quite amusing watching them adjust to their new home.. the other hens were a bit disdainful, looking down on these new imposters but hopefull they will be all fine. there beauties thas for sure!
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School garden

Ok a digression here as this is not permaculture at chickenshackc, but this is what i have been doing as a job; building permaculture forest gardens in schools. This one we are feeling proud of at the moment, not much evidence of the plantings, as it is still winter, but its going to be a little refuge from the rest of the extensive school playground, and be filled with scented herbs, and edible fruits and berries. There is a compass dial seat and a wildlife pond. The pond is protected by a metal grill, so the little darlings don't drown themselves. The bigger plan I guess is to get really experienced at forest garden design and and plantings, and to propagate a lot of the plants here at the housing co-op, so it can grow into a nice parallel business here. Plus we get lots of plants to play with in our forest gardenPosted by Picasa

Oca oxalis

Not sure is if this is going to work as the software I was using to update my blog seems to have stopped working, so I am trying a different system... so if you get a picture is a blurred shot of some oca tubers, which are like, but different from potatoes. they are very tasty, and I am planning to try growing them here.. I might start them in the tunnel first, to build up my stock of the tubers before I try them outside, athough they should do well there as well Posted by Picasa