Glen

Elderflower Cordial

It’s elderflower season! Now is the time to harvest flower heads to make delicious elderflower cordial. I did exactly that last weekend when I discovered a tree laden with blossom at a friend’s small holding in Greytown. Elder is such an amazingly useful tree, providing fruit and flowers that have medicinal benefits as well being a tasty ingredient in cordial, syrup and even champagne. I’ve harvested the berries in autumn to make a delicious and nutritious cough and chest tonic.…

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Building Soil

Our plan for the next couple of years to the set up a row of vegetable beds running east-west in the back garden and surround this with a bee-friendly perennial herb garden. However, most of our garden is currently grassed, and the compacted clay is not ideal for intensive growing. Therefore we need to look at building soil and creating an environment that will encourage healthy soil life necessary for plants to grow. Complex Ecosystem A single tablespoon of earth…

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Tennants Wanted

TO LET 1st floor studio apartment with enclosed garden and full  board. Accommodations boast good natural lighting and are tastefully decorated. Perched within a fine neighbourhood, with exceptional views. Would suit a small brood of females (2-3). No males, sorry. Available immediately. We are hoping would-be tenants will soon be flocking to see this wee gem.       Please follow and like us:

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Tree in the Corner

There is a massive tree in the north-west corner of the front garden. Right in the corner, jammed up hard against the corner of the fence in such a way that it must have been planted there well before the fence was erected. In fact, the tree is so large it must be a similar vintage to our 1930s house. I’m not even sure what species the tree in the  corner is. It’s certainly native, possibly from the Myrtle family.…

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Herb Seeds!

What did I do during the cold dark weeks of winter? Buy seeds of course! And I recently indulged myself as I started making plans for a Medicinal Herb Garden that would also double as the bee border around my veggie beds. The idea here is to plant up a calendar year of constantly flowering plants for bees to forage on through all the seasons, to keep them coming back and pollinating my fruiting crops. I found a neat wee…

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Building Chicken Coopery – a story in pictures

Since before we even had a plan, chickens were in the plan. And for some unexplained reason I felt the that it was my compelling duty to personally provide a hand-built shelter for planned chooks. This sense of duty persisted, despite my complete lack of joinery experience and not having ever built anything with wood before. To be fair, I do have some experience with working with wood, but it is more reductive than constructive and limited to carving spoons.…

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Fruit Tree Guilds

Since planting the fruit trees I’ve been investigating what I could use to under-plant them that will be beneficial to the them, but also might serve other purposes, such as providing resources for us. In permaculture, these kinds of associations are known as plants guilds. This post talks about the considerations I took is designing fruit tree guilds for my apples and pears. Guilds are like next-level companion planting, with a twist. A guild is a grouping a plants, trees, animals, insects and…

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Planting Fruit Trees

I made some great progress in the garden on a glorious winter’s day. The second installment of the fruit tree order arrived a month earlier than expected. Deciduous fruit trees usually come bare rooted, which means they need to be planted again fairly quickly. I still had a small mountain of agapanthus to dig out, and I really wasn’t prepared to be planting fruit trees. It was a bit of a scramble but luckily I was able to call on…

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Man versus Pantha – Getting rid of Agapanthus

As attractive as the flower may be, I think Agapantha (Agapanthus praecox) is horrible. It spreads and chokes out other plants and robs the soil of nutrients. And as far as I know, there is no beneficial use for it, not as food, medicine or as part of a permaculture system. Unfortunately, we have a lot of it on our urban ranch. In most places it is so established that the roots sit about a foot and a half proud…

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Breaking the first rule of Permaculture Club

I quoted the first of David Holmgren’s principles of permaculture: observe and Interact in my blank canvass post. Truth is, this takes a great deal of self-discipline. I often struggle to curb my enthusiasm enough to slow down, look and take it all in. I usually just want to leap in and start planting. And this is where I have already caught myself breaking the first rule of permaculture club. In my defense, we have lived here a year previously as renting…

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