Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘biodiversity’

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.

International Biodiversity Day.

In Animals, arigna, Bees, Gardening, sustainable living on May 22, 2011 at 7:06 am

So we are still here! The World did’nt end! So we continue on. Today is International Biodiversity Day. For those of us to whom that matters let us carry on. Carry on with living as lightly as we can on this Planet. Carry on with growing as much food as possible. Carry on to encourage biodiversity by not using poisons on our land, by leaving wild areas, by planting flowers for bees, butterflies and other insects.

Here in Arigna our animals are enjoying the plentiful grass. Daphne (above) seems to be on a non stop eating marathon. She does’nt even shelter from the rain, but then it is the soft Summer variety. Winter rain is a different matter, harsh and cold, she hates that, but then so do we. Our milking Goat, Enid, is milking well, about 2 litres each day. Lots of paneer and milky puddings plus lots being frozen for Winter.

Walking by Lough Allen yesterday I spotted these wild Deer tracks. Would love to see the deer but they seem to hide in the shrubbery and forest during the day.

There has been an amazing amount of growth this year. The dry Spring followed by lots of rain seems to have been ideal for everything. Fruit supplies look promising, lots of fruit set on Apples, Plums, Blackcurrant and other bush fruits. The Grape in the polytunnel is also heavily laden. Abundant wildlife is also evident, loads of Bumble Bees this year. Spotted lots of Butterflies and even a Ladybird. In the polytunnel we always have lots of Frogs. Too many insects to name and there seems to be loads of Spiders, more than I’ve noticed previously. Even saw a couple of Leeches earlier in the week, can’t say I like them very much but they are here! I think they like the damp ground.