Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Progress Report

The pond has been dug and most of the forest garden site has been prepared. The pond is to be sited in zone 5, wildlife area, of the garden. This is to limit the amount of human interaction with, what is to be, this most valuable ecosystem. We marked out the site for the pond and began by loosen up and removing the top soil, this will be reused elsewhere in the garden. At the site chosen for the pond the top soil went down to 300mm below this depth we then encountered heavy clay sub soil. We went to a maximum depth of 1m, very difficult. During the first day of digging we had the company of our little garden helpers, the robin and truss. They both had a massive feast of worms and other small insects, it is always fun and interesting to watch them stalk and catch their prey.

Spot the predator

We had a lovely day last Sunday and took full advantage of it. We took the opportunity to do some more preparations on the forest garden site. We are planning on putting in some standard size fruit trees, a nitrogen fixing tree, some small soft fruit bushes and some perennial vegetables as ground cover and climbers. We are running a bit behind schedule as we would rather have all the trees in before spring. We dug in a generous amount of organic matter and covered the site with newspaper, this will enrich the soil and help hold in moisture and heat.

The Forest Garden site

The forest garden design is based on a south facing 1m grid system. This will hopefully allow each plant to get full access to the sun while also having enough space to develop fully. We have been doing some research into what varieties of fruit trees and shrubs we should use, so many to choose from. We would like to keep it as native and organic as we possibly can and this, thankfully, has shorten the list somewhat. We are also thinking of putting in some willow plants which we will use for craft making. These are all just ideas at the moment and as the season presses on we will see which ones manifest themselves into reality. We are still considering chickens and have been looking into different ways of feeding and maintaining them with as little effort as possible. One of the main ideas of this self sustainable project is to put in the majority of the work in the beginning stages then sit back and watch as it develops and maintains itself with us doing very little, which will mainly involve harvesting and the occasional weeding and pruning, once the system has been established. Fingers crossed.
One more this I wanted to share with you is our new wormery. It is teaming with activity and the worms are all doing a fantastic job of turning all our kitchen scraps into very nutritious soil.

Composting Worms at work

This post was just to update on the progress and highlight the main features of the project at the moment, I will go into more details on the design and build of the wildlife pond, the forest garden and of course the kitchen garden in the next few post. Until then happy gardening.

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