Bridget

Fedges and Permaculture beds.

In permaculture, sustainable living on April 12, 2012 at 10:13 am

Having recently been given a bunch of rooted Willow we decided to use it to make a fedge to form the outline for a new permaculture bed. A fedge is a cross between a fence and a hedge, usually constructed from Willow. Spring is the best time to do this as the Willow will root easily at this time. If you have plants or rooted Willow it can be done anytime.  We spaced the rods the length of Andy’s foot apart but they can be as little as 6 inches apart if you want a more solid barrier.

 

It was grey and showery when we did the fedge last Sunday but we persevered and got it done.

 

After inserted all the rods we just bent the tops over about a foot from the ground and wove them together. There are many designs you can make, arches, diamonds etc. As this was our first fedge we decided to keep it simple. The whole thing was a bit fragile at first but when all the weaving was done and a few strategically placed bits of string were used the whole thing stabilised. A website with lots of ideas and more comprehensive instructions is www.willowkits.co.uk .

Next step was to make the permaculture bed between the existing path and the edge of the fedge. The sod does’nt need to be turned… on top of the grass just lay down several layers of newspaper and cardboard. Make sure they are overlapped well so no grass or weeds come through. Remove any staples and plastic tape which may be holding the boxes together. On top of this layer we put a good thick mulch of rushes. Straw can also be used.

When the mulching is finished planting holes can be made in the cardboard/paper and plants planted straight in. In other beds we have made this way plants have been planted first, then the cardboard and mulch layers placed around the plants. On this occasion we will let the mulch settle a little before planting. There is already an established Damson here and a small Amelanchier has also been planted. In true permaculture style everything in this bed will be perennial food crops…herbs and fruits plus a few flowers for colour and for the insects. Willow itself is a great plant for biodiversity as it supports over 250 species. Over time this mulch will rot down and provide nutrition for the plants and improve the soil. It will need renewing each year.

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  1. I had no idea what a fedge was but thanks so much for sharing! You guys sure have tons of projects going on in the garden! Love this post!

  2. I am in awe of the lovely things you create and plant in your garden. 🙂

  3. Love the fedge. Now where can we have one on our allotment site, I wonder.

  4. Fedge is a great word. Like fudge but without the calories. I like the way you do your beds, we did something similar with card and bark chip in various places in my home garden, works like a dream assuming none of the weeds are particularly vicious things.

  5. This sounds a great way of gardening less back breaking and with the water shortage every little helps.

  6. This is the second Blog Post I’ve read today about fedges. My comment on the other Blog is the same as here – “I want one!” 😉

  7. Thanks for this informative post. I had not heard of a “fedge” before – what a cute word! I’ve used the cardboard + mulch technique for starting new beds too. But our soil here is so heavy, you can’t possibly dig holes through it and plant right away. Have to wait a year or two for the mulch to break down, then dig in. I bet you have awesome loamy soil there!

  8. I have never heard of a gedge before, but it makes perfect sense. I also make my beds the same way, saves a lot of wear and tear on the back. Look forward to seeing your fedge grow.

  9. Sorry Bridget, but I need an exact measurement of Andy’s foot. Ta. Dave

  10. Have been laying the reeds I’m cutting back, around the fig trees. But the mulch is getting knee high. Will have spread it around.

  11. Very interesting, Bridget. I have a few beds left to be planted, so may try this approach on one or two of them.

  12. I made a raised bed just exactly the same way last year. Once I got my sides in place, I laid lots of cardboard down over the grass. I filled it in with soil and compost. I’ve never had anything grow so well (particularly since I normally garden in rocky clay). I had parsley leaves the size of my hand! It was astonishing. My swallowtail butterflies didn’t find it though–or perhaps they didn’t recognize it as parsley because it was so huge! No matter–I had parsley elsewhere for them as well.

  13. Your way of creating beds is exactly what I did to my allotment, bed by bed I covered and mulched and manured, and relatively quickly the beds were created. It’s a superb way of gardening, and no back-breaking digging required!!

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