Has it really been that long?

I was quite shocked when I sat down to write this post to realise I haven’t posted since Easter! I know I’ve been busy but Easter was ages ago – and the garden has grown so much that the plants in last post’s pictures look very small.

I’ve been planting seeds – some of them twice because the slugs appeared to have had a party on one particularly rainy day! And potting stuff on. And weeding.

The fruit is coming on nicely and the Naked Garden is looking very good, thanks to Elaine’s hard work:

Jethro and Hannah planted up their small vege plot with beans, peas and courgettes – hope the slugs don’t get them!

We’ve also planted 12 trees in the forest garden. I spent ages planning it all out properly and deciding carefully where each tree should go. But then when I took the trees to the plot, there were a few things I’d overlooked – trees in adjacent spaces that will grow and cast shadows that I hadn’t allowed for, and areas that haven’t been cleared of scrub yet. Maybe we bought the trees too early, but we were full of enthusiasm! So we went about in our usual organic, thinking on our feet fashion and adjusted the plan to suit reality. So I’m struggling to design in a proper by-the-book permaculture fashion, but the trees are in and mulched:

I’m going on a Forest Gardening Course with Martin Crawford next week, so that should help me plan the next few layers a little better, I hope.

Speaking of permaculture, there have been 2 weekends of my PDC (3 days in total) since I last posted. The first was about water and had lots in it to think about – when we think about saving water we think about washing our clothes less often and taking shorter showers, but most of our water footprint is embedded in the things we buy – like cotton bedsheets and beans imported from Africa. There was a really fascinating session on humanure – I’ve long intended to add a compost toilet to the garden, down in the forest garden for those times when I’m too lazy to stomp back up to the house. This session made me want to do that even more – just need more days in each weekend! Actually what I need is a permaculture design, including an implementation plan.

We also looked at aquaponic systems. Can’t say I fully get this – while I can see a use for it in disaster recovery situations, I really don’t understand it’s usefulness in UK gardens. We don’t have a culture of eating freshwater fish – I’ve never tried them, but am inclined to think we would have that culture if they tasted good!

The second permaculture weekend was spent camping at The Inkpot in Lincolnshire – a regenerative agriculture demonstration farm, plus forest garden and straw-bale field shelter cum classroom. This was totally inspiring! While I can’t ever see myself as a farmer with sheep and cows, that part was interesting. But the inspiring part was the perennial vegetables and forest garden. I have a tendency to feel over-whelmed and tied by the garden – like I’m always behind and it’s never quite good enough. But Hannah espoused a philosophy of ‘no guilt, no judgement’ and I really connected with that. I need to give myself a break! What we do here is pretty damn good considering we both have full-time jobs, and Keith has almost a second job as a musician. Since the trip, I’ve been looking at the garden differently and wondering what I can do differently – more perennial veg for one thing. Hoping to pick up more tips and suggestions on my forest gardening course next weekend.

So that’s it for now. I’ll try not to leave it so long until the next time!

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