WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE ?

With everything else that’s going on at the moment, certain things have been neglected. Unfortunately this time  it was our poor roses. Sorry roses!

So, I thought that this was a good opportunity to show the effectiveness and ease of permaculture. Yes, I know that there are loads of sites out there on this subject and certain ones might criticise mine, but so what ? I just thought that this could show you how to mend a ‘broken bed’.

Obviously this rose bed can’t be dug over so this is our alternative. First we clipped the long grass down, and hand pulled some weeds. A dock plant had to be dug out but this was right on the edge.

Cardboard was laid down and soaked thouroughly.

Well broken down grass clippings are then placed on top. This should be quite a thick mulch as this  also feeds  the plants.

We also use our donkey ‘Poo Brew’ on the plants to give them all a good feed. All we do to get ‘PooBrew’ is to collect up a couple of buckets of donkey dung, put it into a big blue barrel, fill this with water, cover and leave it to completely break down. This is then diluted down for veg or used neat on the garden and gives us all our organic fertilizer. We call this ‘Permaganics’

A nice thick donkey ‘Poo Brew’ that’s been breaking down for about 6 months.

                                                                              Bowie and Floyd.

We’ve often been questioned as to why we have donkeys. Well, we have the land that they graze which keeps it down for us, they provide our fertilizer for our veg and garden and they are just lovely, lovely animals. Thanks lads !

One of the strange things though, is that permaculture is nothing new, my Grandad was gardening this way 50 years ago and he called it mulching. He’s now 83 and still grows his tomatoes in his greenhouse and waters them every day. Come on GRANDAD !

He didn’t feel like he had to copy other people he just did things his way. When we go over to see him, I still carry the watering can up to his greenhouse for him and it really brings back memories I have of being a child.

He is the person who really got me started on this course of life. We used to go into his shed and make things out of wood, nails, screws, and glue. I have since built my house out of wood, nails, screws and glue ! The knowledge that he has given to me is invaluable. One of the first books he gave to us was ‘The Family Smallholding’ by Katie Thear and it still has that old book smell. This was back in 2001 when I had started to settle down a bit after travelling for 9 years round the world and inspired me that this was the way forward.

So, with this sort of information being passed down, you come to realise that we all stand on the shoulders of giants, but, it all depends on whether we look out and see what’s there at the time. I’ve always tried to acknowledge those people who have inspired me along the way, even if just in memory. It can’t always be done in person, sometimes distance and time make it impossible.

Certain people do, certain people don’t, we just try, and trying is the first step to success. Some people just copy others because they have no path of their own, and these are the ones that try to pull others down so that they can make  themselves feel more important than they really are but with no real substance and are just insecure.

So Happy Litha ! We are now just off to the tunnel to dig up a few new potatoes to have with our home made mint sauce .

Enjoy.

BEES IN THE BORAGE

Well, here I am writing my first tentavive post! As you already know, when we moved onto our land 5 years ago, it was literally just fields, and very wet fields at that! What was going to grow in such conditions? Willow… perfect, but there had to be more. We wanted  herbs, so a way forward was the ‘no dig’ herb garden. This involved strimming an area of grass close to the house, removing the cuttings, laying thick wads of newspaper or cardboard, wetting them and laying the grass cuttings back over the wet paper. This creates a thick mulch that if left for just a few weeks will break down and give you the most gorgeous soil. I planted a few herbs and was astonished when I found worms already at home in the new soil! The worms come up to the surface of the soil to drag the rotting matter down … in effect I had created a wormery! We now have a decent selection of herbs of which we can use fresh during summer or, dry them in a warm place for storing for winter use. I love drying herbs in the kitchen and collecting seeds such as coriander and fennel.

Fennel

I also noticed today that there were still bees to be found in the nasturtium and whats left of the borage, not bad for October

A little fuzzy.....Or should that be buzzy?

Borage has often been planted by beekeepers as a forage crop for their hives and is also an excellent companion plant, as planting it close to tomato plants may repel whiteflies and tomato moths. As a herbal medicine, it has been suggested that Borage has a therapeutic value in treating dry itchy skin such as eczema and psoriasis. The leaves can be used as a poultice for sprains, bruises and inflammation……. but as far as I know, not bee stings!!