Hackney Permaculture


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

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Making reed beds for grey water recycling

One of the projects that really stuck in my head after reading my first book on permaculture was creating reed beds for recycling grey water (any waste water from the house except sewage from the toilet).

After a good deal of time spent researching and reading around the topic the time finally came to make it a reality. Luckily there is a builders depo at the end of my street who sell gravel and my friend Morgan was on hand to help me put it all together.

For an average household you need 1m² of reed bed to recycle each persons grey water and you need four reeds per square metre. As I already had two used bath tubs to hand which came to just over 2m² and the three of us who live at 33b don’t use that much water I decided to go with that even if it was a little below the recommended area.

Ten reed plants were bought from Reeds from Seeds who can be found here – http://www.brynpolyn.co.uk/ – The total costwas £27.60 most of which was the delivery cost to London from Wales. They were very helpful people indeed explaining that late April or early May were the best time to plant.

A depth of about a metre seems to be the order of the day from a couple of diagrams I saw. The bath tubs took a maximum of about 80cm so I went with that, filling them with a layer of fine gravel on top of a layer of coarse gravel, about 50/50 of each.

It was decided after some debate to run the water into the bottom of each bath tub with water exiting out of the top. This way it has to pass up through the whole reed bed and cannot flow straight through as some designs seem to indicate. Pipes were fixed in the bottom with bricks and slate to keep them from being crushed by the weight of the gravel and to stop them from coming out. You can see that the first ‘metal tub’ reed bed is above the height of the other ‘mighty white’ tub so the water passes from the house into the bottom of the upper tub, rising through the bed to a pipe which feeds it into the bottom of the lower tub before it overflows through the bath’s original overflow into either the pond or the adjacent bed.

The metal tub was lined with a plastic sheet as it had many holes in the bottom from a previous life as a planter. Making the right sized hole for the pipe fixture was a challenge finally managed with a drill, some elbow grease and a bit of love, hence the three photos!

A lot of designs have settlement tanks and other features. I decided not to go for these yet but allowed space further back upstream to retro fit a settlement tank if needed. Whilst the reeds establish themselves I only plan to put bath and shower water into them and to use only natural grooming and cleaning products in the bathroom so there shouldn’t be anything too nasty for them to have to deal with and not too much by way of solid matter as the plug hole catches all the hairs!

Here are a few other pages of interest –

http://web.onetel.net.uk/~johndecarteret/water%20treatment.htm

http://www.green-water.org/projects.html

Gravel and a sunk bath tub

Gravel and a sunk bath tub

Morgan planting reeds into the gravel-filled bath tub

Morgan planting reeds into the gravel-filled bath tub

Plastic fitting detail shot

Plastic fitting detail shot

Plastic fitting detail shot

Plastic fitting detail shot

Plastic fitting detail shot

Plastic fitting detail shot

Lining the metal tub

Lining the metal tub

Two tier reed beds for recycling grey water

Two tier reed beds for recycling grey water



Grey-water recycling sketches
October 11, 2008, 2:28 pm
Filed under: Planning | Tags: , , , ,

Pretty soon we want to put grey-water recycling into action.

This will involve diverting waste water from the bathroom and kitchen into the garden and then filtering it using sand and reed beds before sending it into our pond and other places around the garden.

Laura has done some ace sketches which I thought we should share with you…

Laura's grey-water recycling sketches

Laura's grey-water recycling sketches



The Plan
September 21, 2008, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Planning | Tags: ,
Laura's map from the planning meeting

Laura's map from the planning meeting



Day 1 – Plotting and scheming
September 16, 2008, 5:20 pm
Filed under: Planning | Tags: , , , , ,

Welcome, this blog will chart the permaculture ambitions of Robin, Laura and Claudia, beginning with the conversion of the back garden of 33b Farleigh Road from an overgrown and unused bit of urban space into a haven of all things edible and beautiful.

We had our first meeting last week and drew a lovely garden plan which i will scan and put up here soon as i can get it back from Laura.

Immediate activities include

  • setting up a compost using palettes found nearby, mulching using cardboard, compost/food waste/leaves and ripped newspapers,
  • building a cold room/green house kinda thing using old windows,
  • making a pond with a bathtub that was being chucked from the basement flat,
  • exploring the reuse of grey water recycling,
  • inspecting what is already growing in the garden to see if anything is worth rescuing before we mulch
  • accosting as many friends as possible to help out!

We are planning to get up early on recycling day and go and raid all of the food waste bins which get put out on the street!