Hackney Permaculture


The front garden
April 24, 2009, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , , , ,

We have been plotting and scheming for a while about what to do with the front garden, previously an ugly useless bit of concrete. Seemed about time to make something so Dean came over and we played with tools and heavy stuff to make a raised bed…

We now have raspberries, tomatoes, borage, rocket, lettuce, marigolds, radishes and loads of wild mint and lemon balm.

Breaking up the front patio back in december 08

Breaking up the front patio back in december 08

Front garden with path and soil

Front garden with path and soil

Building a raised bed onto the mulched front garden

Building a raised bed onto the mulched front garden

Front garden with soft fruit bed at back, raised bed in middle, and small herb bed at front

Front garden with soft fruit bed at back, raised bed in middle, and small herb bed at front



Making a bag garden
April 23, 2009, 10:12 am
Filed under: Learning | Tags: , ,


A beautiful short piece on making a garden in a bag



Recycled Hessian Sacks

hessian sacks

A few weeks ago I got forwarded the lovely email below from a chap called Brian and in need of hessian sacks for the filtering bit of my grey-water recycling beds, I decided to invest.

I went for five bags of wood chip and five bags of compost, all delivered to my door for the bargain price of £27.50 – nice.

—————————————

Subject: hessian sacks and compost

Forest Recycling Project has a supply of hessian sacks which can be used for all sorts of things in the garden and beyond (see above video clip for inspiration) they are 50p each with discounts for bulk orders (delivery may be possible for an extra charge). We are also able to supply the sacks half filled (about 75 litres) with soil improver compost from green waste (£2.50) or wood chip (£1.00). Please contact me to place an order or for more info. Feel free to forward on to anyone who may be interested

Cheers

Brian

Head Office
FOREST RECYCLING PROJECT LTD
2C Bakers Avenue, Walthamstow, E17 9AW
Company No: 2427258
VAT No: 548917400
Tel; 020 8539 3856
E-Mail: info@frponline.org.uk
Web Site: www.frponline.org.uk



Making leaf curd from lime tree leaves
April 19, 2009, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Doing, Learning | Tags: , , , ,

I recently invested in the British permaculture bible, The Earth Care Manual by Patrick Whitefield. It is a truly awesome body of work which I recommend to anyone with a pulse.

One of the first things to catch my eye was a recipe tucked into an obscure corner of the book about making leaf-curd and feeling slightly nervous about where us vegans are going to find tofu when flying it over from the other side of the world stops making economic sense, I thought it time to have a go at making some…

  1. First I accosted my friend Richard Godwin to climb up the lime tree and harvest some of the lovely young leaves, which just so happened to be a nice lime colour.
  2. Next we stuck the leaves into a liquidiser until we had a smooth leafy paste which was then strained through a tea towel to remove the pulp.
  3. The remaining liquid was then boiled and the curd which formed on top collected by skimming from the top of the pan and put into an improvised mould.
  4. Then we knocked up a quick stir fry and ate ‘leafu’ as it also seems to be affectionately called.

Richard also wrote a column about this for the Evening Standard which can be read here – http://godwin.thisislondon.co.uk/2009/04/permaculture.html

Further research lead me to this PDF document – Leaf concentrate: A Field Guide for Small Scale Programs by David Kennedy and Leaf for Life (1993) which is utterly huge and if you want to get geeky on the topic seems to pretty much cover EVERYTHING, ever that you could ever ever ever want to know about making leaf curd anywhere at anytime with anyone.

Richard Godwin harvesting lime leaves

Richard Godwin harvesting lime leaves

Lime Leaf purée

Lime leaf purée

Leaf curd in improvised mold

Leaf curd in improvised mold

Leaf curd or Leafu stir fry

Leaf curd or Leafu stir fry



Fighting the good fight (slugs and snails)

Okay so we had to lose our virginity at some point. You create a nice bed, you plant stuff, it grows, then slugs and snails come and eat it…

One of the first things planted out were some beans which got utterly munched within days. It was clear that some extra thought was required and non-lethal reinforcements came in the shape of cloches made from plastic drinks bottles, broken up egg shells, copper from wire and coins, and midnight slug and snail raids with my brand new head torch!

Not wanting to kill any of god’s creatures, I have just been throwing them over the fence so far which seems to have worked, making a huge dent in the local population and seems to keep everyone happy as next door don’t really do much with their garden and there is lots of nice green stuff growing there.

Our veg is safe for now…

Anti slug defences

Anti slug defences

Anti slug defences (Part 2)

Anti slug defences (Part 2)

Cloches made from used drinks bottles to protect from snails and slugs

Cloches made from used drinks bottles to protect from snails and slugs

Cloches and netting to protect young plants

Cloches and netting to protect young plants



Mulching the edge of a pond
April 11, 2009, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Doing, Thinking | Tags: , , , , ,

As previously mentioned we now have a pond but quite a bit of the black liner is showing which is kinda bad news as it is more likely to get punctured as a result.

The back story is that it is virtually impossible to make a small pond which is deep enough to keep bugs and grubs happy over the winter without having some steep edges. Depths of over 70cm are advised so frogs and toads can survive the pond freezing but it you only have a metre or two for your pond you are not then going to have shallow enough sides so that any organic matter can sit on the liner for stuff to grow in.

I thought I might have a go at mulching the edges with cardboard and then piling some mud on top to cover it over. In order to stop the mud from falling straight off the cardboard I peeled back the top layer from dampened cardboard to reaveal the bumpy underside, threaded some twigs into the cardboard to create ridges and made very thick icky mud which was really really fun! Seriously – this is an excuse for adults to make mud pies… oh yes.

Seems to have done the job nicely thus far and hopefully plants will start to bind it all together creating a long term organic cover over the liner.

The problem - visible pond liner

The problem - visible pond liner

Cardboard ridged and threaded with twigs covering liner

Cardboard ridged and threaded with twigs covering liner

The solution - mulched pond edge covering liner

The solution - mulched pond edge covering liner

Claudia planting around the pond

Claudia planting around the pond



Soft fruit area
April 9, 2009, 3:29 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , ,

It seems that in order to be a half credible permaculture project you need to have a soft fruit area so we cleared a bit of space in ‘The Glade’ as Racheal has now christened the woody bit of our patch and set to work making a new home for our gooseberry and raspberry plants.

The glade - pre soft fruit area

The glade - pre soft fruit area

New soft fruit area

New soft fruit area