Saturday, November 08, 2008

Forest Garden at Chickenshack

A riot of useful perennials at the heart of the forest garden at Chickenshack. Mints, lemon balms, sages, elacampagne, yarrow, surrounding apple, and other fruit trees. Deep and shallow rooted plants cycling nutrients and building up a healthy population of beneficial insects and microbes.

Over the years the heavily overgrazing and tired fields at Chickenshack have transformed in a diverse rich and productive landscape. It took me three years of quite intensive work to get back on top of the part of the garden after it had become seriously over grown, transplanting lots of plants I had grown on from the Roof Garden in RISC. Others I bought in. I had to scythe down weeds and mulch heavily to surpress the nettles and grasses to get the herb and fruiting layers strongly established.

Chickenshack Garden

Shot of the veg garden at Chickenshack in 2008. My last summer there, its really starting to develop now and coming to life. We have fed the soil with compost, green manures and seaweed and worked hard to remove the bindweed and buttercup that had invaded. The tired rainwashed soils have really come back to life and been re structured by careful nurturing. There are lots of Marigolds in the foreground, which aside from being edible and useful in many ways they are an excellent companion plant and are eay to save seed from to regrow. The Stone wall provides shelter and is a heat sink as well, soaking up the sun on a warm day and creating useful microclimate.


Don't you just love that word... Stromatalites... I don't get the chance to use it that often so i like to savour the opportunities when I do. I used a pic of them, these strange shapeless rocky nodules growing on a shallow sea in a talk I give on the Introduction to permaculutre course at the Workhouse the other weekend. They are not exactly the oldest living organisam on the planet, but they are crucially the very first ones to breath in Co2 and breath out oxygen. They turn up in the fossil record about 3 1/2 billion years ago, and were widespread around the globe. You can still find them in certain special places, like off Western Autralia. Before them there was no oxygen in the planet's atmosphere, we have a lot to thank them for, as oxygen breathing organisms ourselves.

I want to thank everyone who came on the Permaculture course at the Workhouse, the first of what I hope will be many we do there. Its kind of interesting running one in the shell of an empty building, right at the beginning of a new project. A blank canvas to apply your imagination to.

we are planning another permaculture weekend in March, and a yurt making weekend course in April, again both at the Workhouse. I am currently posting information about m courses and project on the Sector39 website, the which is the permaculture design team i work with to develop courses and permaculture projects.

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