Hackney Permaculture

New apples trees and an old fig tree
February 23, 2009, 10:42 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

This week we took delivery of two apple trees, two gooseberry bushes and twenty two raspberry plants – which is what happens when i get carried away shopping online late at night. If anyone wants a spare raspberry plant do hollar otherwise a spot of guerrilla gardening may be called for to spread the berry love.

What's in this box then?

What's in this box then?

Trees in the post!

Trees in the post! Now where are the instructions?

The apple trees are M27s which you will of course know are ‘very dwarfing’ so will not grow to more than 2 metres high. Just for the record we ordered them from http://www.blackmoor.co.uk/ who were ace…

1 x Raspberry Collection 10 Canes Of Prosen & 10 Canes Of Polka = £19.00
1 x Apple Discovery M27 – 1 Year Maiden Bare Root = £12.45
1 x Apple Winter Gem M27 – 2 Year Bush Bare Root  = £16.00
Sub-Total: £47.45
Best Way (Shipping to United Kingdom (England) : 9.15 kg(s)): £10.00
Total: £57.45

We also gave the fig tree and surrounding plants a good haircut to make a bit of space for new things and to encourage the fig tree to fig.

Look... you can see the fig tree now!

Look... you can see the fig tree now!

Also getting the chop was the hangy stuff growing up the elderflower tree at the back. I can’t remember the names of the hangy stuff but it wasn’t ivy and was rumoured to have pretty flowers. My mum knew what it was called and so did the girls so hopefully I will remember to ask and write it down next time.

Other action has included collecting some unwanted pottery packaging crates to turn into container beds, bringing more bags of compost from the park to join the party, ordering water butts and nice organic seeds, and lots and lots of cutting up pruned bits of plant so it takes up less room and creates a cosy nest for furry animals.


Cute steps
February 23, 2009, 10:37 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: ,

Not much to say here other than making this cute little stepped path using boughs from the plum tree has made me happy as larry – which is very happy for those of you not up to speed with dated english slang.

A cute stepped path made from a plum tree bough

A cute stepped path made from a plum tree bough

February 22, 2009, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Doing, Learning | Tags: , ,

It may not have anything to do with growing veg but somehow couchsurfing feels like it belongs on this blog.

Basically you sign up to a social networking site of people who are happy for you to come and kip on their couch. Nice, huh? Have a peek here – http://www.couchsurfing.com/

I have had one person to stay so far and all went swimmingly. My first couchsurf will be in Glasgow in two weeks time.

Apparently Natalie searched couchsurfing for 'axe murder' and I came up

Apparently Natalie searched couchsurfing for 'axe murder' and I came up

Pedal Power, generating electricity with bikes
February 21, 2009, 10:23 pm
Filed under: Learning | Tags: , , ,

As mentioned in the previous post – Gunpowder park in Enfield has been hosting The Energy Cafe for a wee while. We went up to take part in a wonderful workshop on generating electricity using pedal power run by Magnificent Revolution, who have been providing electricity for music and cinema events around the country.

Lucy fixing a bike into the 'trainer'

Lucy fixing a bike into the 'trainer'

I was planning on writing up all that I learnt but luckily the girls are one step ahead of me and have comprehensive instructions on their own blog here – http://www.magnificentrevolution.org/diy-2/

I am not sure that this is going to be useful in the garden at the moment but you never know when it may come in handy, hey? Did someone say living in a yurt one day? Hmmmmm….

Smoke-free wood stove
February 21, 2009, 10:04 pm
Filed under: Learning, Thinking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

A quick jaunt up north to Enfield on the train from Hackney Downs and we are in Gunpowder Park at The Energy Cafe for a workshop on pedal power. Andrew was also about and demonstrating his smoke-free wood stove which impressed me muchly.

Hooking up a fan to feed the flames more air increases the efficiency of the combustion and decreases the amount of smoke, which is essentially unburnt hydrocarbons or very small bits of wood to you and me.

Andrew demonstrates his design for a smoke-free wood stove

Andrew demonstrates his design for a smoke-free wood stove

All of the stove had been made from reused parts found in local skips. The main body was an old flue buried into a tyre filled with soil, the fan was from an old laptop. As the flue was already double walled it provided excellent insulation so the wood could burn at a higher temperature. The fan created a vortex in the main chamber which meant better mixing of air again leading to a higher burn temperature resulting in no smoke at all and 5kW of heat apparently!

A top view of the smoke-free wood stove showing the fan induced vortex

A top view of the smoke-free wood stove showing the fan induced vortex

Pruning the Plum Tree
February 16, 2009, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , ,

By the looks of things the plum tree has been in trouble for sometime. Jamie gave us some tips on pruning back in the autumn but advised us to leave it until february for the big chop.

Tree haircuts are fun… in fact anything that gives you an excuse to climb things is fun… perhaps that is what ivy is useful for… constantly regrowing so we can keep climbing back up and cut it back again…

Official advice includes pruning tree back to four main bits (boughs I think!) and generally getting rid of anything that looks unhappy. Things to look for include bark condition, branches doing funny things like doubling back on themselves or wrapping themselves around each other… etc etc…

I hope the squirrels let the tree alone this year to bear some plums.


Claudia up the tree


Nacho couldn't resist dropping by from next door to play with tools

jakob’s magic seed sorting technique
February 11, 2009, 8:39 am
Filed under: Doing, Thinking | Tags: , ,

A little while ago I posted an entry about drying squash seeds and I have been saving and drying these and other seeds since including pumpkin and melon.

There was a little incident recently when mice found the seeds but luckily they only ate a few of them and then moved on to tastier finds.

One of the annoying things about saving and drying seeds is how fiddly it is… cue my housemate Jakob with an ingenious idea – why not put them, goop and all into a big bowl of water, mix it about and let the seeds float to the top! Much more fun…

drying seeds