Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘fedge’

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.

A Visit to Seed Savers. part 2.

In Gardening, green living, Off the beaten track., sustainable living on October 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

There is so much to see at Seed Savers…do allow a couple of hours if you are going to visit. This pizza oven was made at a workshop which took place there…schoolchildren can cook pizza here when they visit. I love it…the shape reminds me of the monks huts on the islands off the coast of Ireland.

The oven is sheltered by this hexaganol shaped sod roof.

Living sculpture …a metal frame was made then the young trees were tied in to it. When the trees are bigger the frame will be taken away. Things like this set the brain working…oh! maybe I can do one!

The Apple nursery…these trees will be for sale in a couple of years.

On past the tree nursery in a secluded corner is this gorgeous cob house. Did’nt get to see inside as a lucky visitor was staying there. Bet it’s cosy in there! Cob is made with straw and clay from the local area giving this house a low carbon footprint.

No…it’s not real. Makes a good image though against the darkening sky.

Another lovely Willow arch and fedge. A fedge is a living hedge made from Willow. If you want instructions on how to make a fedge check out www.willowarchway.wordpress.com where there is an excellent tutorial on making a fedge.

If you are interested in seed saving do check out ISSA website www.irishseedsavers.ie . You can become a supporter for a small annual fee. As well as knowing you are supporting the excellent work being done here, saving and preserving heritage seeds for the future, you will receive 5 varieties of seeds and 3 varieties of Potatoes each year. A mazagine is also sent out twice a year.

Off Grid Living.

In Gardening, Off the beaten track., permaculture, sustainable living on September 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Our friends Elaine and LJ live on a 7 acre smallholding about 10 miles away from us. Living the good life for about 7 years now their wooden clad house is warm, cosy and welcoming despite having no mains electricity or water, things most people can’t imagine living without.

Electricity for the house comes from solar panels and a wind turbine atop this pole. Sorry, I cut off the wind turbine, crap pic, anyway you get the idea! Water is gravity fed from a well on their own land, some rainwater is also collected.

There are 2 polytunnels for vegetables and also an orchard. Slowly this land which was only ever used as grazing for cows is being converted to a haven for wildlife. No chemicals are used here, nature rules. Elaine and LJ call their philosophy “Permaganics, a combination of organic and permaculture techniques.”

Their 2 donkeys Floyd and Bowie have the run of the land that isn’t being cultivated, about 4 acres. I think the names reveal a little about their owners musical tastes too!

 Willow cuttings planted last year have taken well, they help to divide the land into separate spaces and take up excess moisture from the ground. More will be planted over the coming Winter. Willow grows easily from cuttings planted in frost-free weather in Autumn or Winter. Here they have been formed into overlapping semi-circles to form a “fedge”.

This willow lined pathway leads to a magical woodland area. One can imagine Nymphs, Fairies and maybe even Leprachauns having their abode here. They will not be disturbed.

This pic was taken walking back to the house from the woodland.

In the orchard the Apples are ready for picking.