Newly built mushroom bed with Shitake mushroom spawn.
Our plans for 2018
It maybe March but a thick layer of snow covers the earth and the plants in the garden are mostly dormant so the gardens are looking bare where there was once lush growth. Still the harvests are in and we have an abundance of leeks, squashes, artichokes, carrots and parsnips to keep us going.
This year (fingers crossed) we will create our wildlife pond to encourage more diversity of bird and animal into the garden. We have had hedgehogs but want to see more of them as well as the odd bird of prey like owls and of course pollinators like hoverflies. We want to build a composting toilet for when we get caught short on the field as well as experiment with new crops such as buckwheat and bring more colour into the garden.
Check it out.! Permaculture magazine published an article by Andrew in January 2017 and this created a big, positive response, we were amazed how many people get what we are doing and want to learn more without spending a fortune on courses and accommodation! So we are delighted to see our article on the synthesis of ‘Permaculture, Biodynamics and Organic Cultivation’ published in this Springs issue (no. 95) of Permaculture Magazine. Fingers crossed, it creates a similar interest.
We did not achieve all that we set out to do in 2017. Andrew broke his collarbone in the early Spring (which was dislodged twice more into summer) and Yolande spent 8 months of the year in New Zealand looking after her Dad (who was terminally ill). Thanks to the help of (full board) Taste of Self Sufficiency guests and WOOFers, we managed to lay more than one third of our hedges (about 25 metres), landscaped a sheer drop into a slope, planted more woodland with hazel, sweet chestnut, oak and walnut, started mushroom growing in wood chip beds and logs, planted a willow tree nursery of many different colours and vigours of willow to provide for living sculptures and weaving opportunities in future years.
Because of the lack of capacity (Yo being away) and capability (Andrews frozen shoulder), we made a decision to have fewer guests. Consequently, Andrew had time to reflect and make notes of things to do differently, revising our sowing and planting plan, ordering a new biodynamic calendar for 2018 to see once again how productive this system can be and looking at seed and plant sources.
In the December, having had a combination of intensive chiropractic, physio and Emmett therapy over the summer-autumn period, Andrew planted 200 willows into a new windbreak hedge to protect our plot better against the prevailing Westerlies. It’s a double row so that we can coppice each row every 2 years to ensure there is always protection but also providing us with willow for weaving.
On the whole, 2017 was amazing in terms of learning about biodynamics and seeing the incredible yields we have had in the year. We’ve also had a lot to learn about planting new types of seeds and you can see what we did in our blog. We shared much warmth and laughter with those who came as part of the full board Taste of Self Sufficiency (ToSS) offer. 15 lots of people came for between 2 and 7 nights to join in the learning experience, and some people couldn’t make it in 2017 so are planning to come in 2018. It’s been a great experience to date so we hope to see more ToSSers in 2018!
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