Hackney Permaculture


fruit trees for somerford grove

This winter I have been blessed with the opportunity of working with the residents of Somerford Grove, a council estate bordered to the north by my road, to plant thirty two fruit trees. This includes a mulberry tree, a few pear and plum trees as well as twenty six different varieties of apple tree.

I have no idea what competition there is but I would love to think that this may be one of the biggest and most varied orchards inside the M25 …and i still have the budget to plant another 30 trees next winter!

The first nine trees were planted as part of the ‘Making Space in Dalston’ project by J&L Gibbons with muf architecture/art for the London Development Authority. The London Orchard Project donated the trees.

The rest of the trees have been funded by the Play Pathfinder scheme actioned by The Learning Trust. Cllr Louisa Thompson has been a great source of support in helping this to happen.

The trees were all bought from Blackmoor nursery who have been excellent. Hedvig Murray from Get Growing has been working with me to make sure all the planting went off without a hitch.

The trees are mostly M27 very dwarfing rootstocks where near buildings (max height 2-3m) and M26 semi-dwarfing rootstock in the bigger patches of green (max height 3-4m).

I decided to not protect the trees with stakes or mesh, having faith that the residents will look after them having planted them. Also by not spending money on protection, I was able to plant quite a few more trees so if any do get damaged then nothing will have been lost overall.

Alex Collings, Anna Garforth and Helen Babbs all deserve a shout for pitching in to help too.

The first nine trees were planted as part of the ‘Making Space in Dalston’ project by J&L Gibbons with muf architecture/art for the LDA. The London Orchard Project donated the first nine trees.

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selling unwanted cds using music magpie
August 30, 2009, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Doing, Recycling | Tags: ,
Selling second hand cds using music magpie

Selling second hand cds using music magpie

I curiously manage to be a hoarder who aspires to have few posessions. Every so often my ruthless streak overcomes my hoarding streak and I eBay, freecycle or put things out on the street to get rid of them.

Music magpie (http://www.musicmagpie.co.uk/) is a service for online buying of second hand cds and I have to say I am pretty impressed by their service. You type in the bar code, they make you an offer for your cds, then they send you postage stickers which you use to post them the cds using recycled jiffy bags which you have been hoarding too. Brilliant.

…and yes I did sell my Burt Bacharach cd… £36 for 27 cds was the final count – that is quite a bit of carrot cake.



scrumping!
August 23, 2009, 10:37 am
Filed under: Collecting, Doing | Tags: , , , , , ,

Not exactly rocket science but picking apples in London does seem to be a fringe activity. So many trees dripping with fruit, most of which ends up getting swept up by the street cleaners. Not this year :-)

Buying a telescopic fruit picker was the first action – I got mine second hand from ebay, here is a new one that is similiar – http://garden4less.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=RGM

Now off to these two trees on St Jude Street –

We had so many apples from our scrump that I set up shop on my street and started giving them away to neighbours which then resulted in my being invited into various back gardens to pick more!

Time to make some chutney now i guess :-)



plum harvesting time
Robin picking plums using telescopic fruit harvesting device

Robin picking plums using telescopic fruit harvesting device

I was never quite sure how we were going to get all of the plums harvested from the top of such a huge tree and then someone suggested I buy a special tool to do the job which I must confess hadn’t occurred to me!

A quick bit of googling and eBaying later and… ta da… one ten foot extendible fruit picking gadget. Happy days…

The one I bought was second hand on eBay but if I was going to buy new the one that caught my eye was the multi-use fruit picker made by Wolf Garden – http://www.wolf-garten.co.uk

The rest, as they say, is plum jam, plum pickle and assorted other forms of plum joy history.

The plum picking team

The picking team with over 10kg of plums... we only stopped when it got dark!



Farleigh Road Big Lunch 19th July 2009
July 23, 2009, 2:03 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , , , , ,
Farleigh Road Big Lunch 1

Farleigh Road Big Lunch

Last week Farleigh Road held a street party as part of the national ‘Big Lunch’ campaign (http://www.thebiglunch.com/)

The road was shut, residents of all ages and nationalities pulled together to create a truly awesome feast and the street was transformed for a day.

I took the liberty of carrying furniture and plants from my front room into the street – happy days.

I am lucky to live on such an amazing street – full of diversity and life – a little positivity can go a long way.

Farleigh Road Big Lunch

Farleigh Road Big Lunch



Rainwater Harvesting Part 2
July 2, 2009, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Doing | Tags: , , ,
Joe plumbing in recycled food drums/barrels to increase our rain water harvesting capacity

Joe plumbing in recycled food drums/barrels to increase our rain water harvesting capacity

A little while back I set up a rainwater harvesting system which you can see here – https://hackneypermaculture.org.uk/2009/03/27/rainwater-harvesting/

I decided it needed upgrading as we kept running out of water and after some surfing I found a source of recycled plastic food drums/barrels from this gem of a place in Wales – http://www.dvfuels.co.uk/category.asp?catID=4

Delivery worked out cheapest when buying a palette of eight so I got eight and found others to buy them using the local Transition Town Hackney mailing list.

Joe and I had a fun day plumbing them into the existing water butt. Nearly got the hang of using the power drill now!

Robin trying to fix the pipe in place

Robin trying to fix the pipe in place

Piping and fixtures from local hardware shop

Piping and fixtures from local hardware shop



Pruning and training the grapevine
June 18, 2009, 8:08 am
Filed under: Doing, Learning, Planning, Thinking | Tags: , , , , ,

When we first cleared back some of the undergrowth in the back garden we discovered an old grapevine stump that looked like it was dead. To our delight it started to sprout a tonne of leaves a few months back so todays job was to start training it up a trellis into a fan.

There is some good advice here – http://www.realenglishfruit.co.uk/content/treetraining.htm

Grapevine at the start of day

Grapevine at the start of day

Grapevine after haircut - we cut it back to just two leaders

Grapevine after haircut - we cut it back to just two leaders

Grapevine with leaders tied to trellis

Grapevine with leaders tied to trellis ready to grow into a fan