Glen

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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Base Map

Having brainstormed our ideas for our garden we now have a good idea about what our goals are and what it is we want our garden to be. Next step is to take stock of what we have already got to work with. An essential part of the design process is creating a base map. A base map is an essential tool for helping model and visualise ideas. It can be used as a means of familiarising yourself with the…

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Brainstorm in a teacup

Having clear goals is key to any design. The first part of our planning process was to get a clear idea of what is was we actually wanted our garden to be. We wanted the whole family to feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the garden and to do this we felt it important for the kids to be involved from the beginning. This means getting everyone involved in the design, so we held a creative brainstorm session one…

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“It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas”

– Paul Cezanne Yet, here we are. Perusing the neatly presented garden on the day we picked up the keys. The previous owner had scraped the weeds back from the beds, making it look very tidy for prospective buyers, and I have to admit, I like they way it looks. Clean lines, no clutter of vegetation, neatly clipped lawns – all these things appeal to my sense of order. As wonderful as it is to be able to put down roots…

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New Beginnings in Urban Permaculture

Welcome to BURPP! We took ownership of a small piece of urban paradise in the capital city of New Zealand in January 2017. We rented the same property 12 months previously but as tenants we were restricted in what we could do. It didn’t stop us dreaming though. We often wondered what we might do if we had free reign to unleash permaculture on the place. What sort  productive food systems could the property yield? Well by an interesting turn…

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