Monthly Archive February 2015


Back Garden Video Update and Single Clove Garlics You Find at Lidl

Single Clove Garlic from LidlYou might recognise this from shopping in Lidl. It is a little basket of garlic bulbs, but instead of bulbs that consist of a dozen or so cloves we have a single clove instead. What is this madness?

Well some gardeners may have come across this very occasionally when they have failed to look after their garlic plants or have put their bulbs out late – British gardeners call them ’rounds’  – and it is considered that the plant is immature which is basically true. But what makes these garlics different is that they were grown this way deliberately and on a massive (ie, millions of tons) scale. Read More


Propagating Cabbage by Taking Cuttings

We’re about a month away from something like Spring, here in sunny Southern England. Therefore the starting gun has definitely fired and the mad dash to get everything sown, rooted or generally propagated has started properly. The living room has been taken over with propagaters and the mini greenhouse and cloches have been set up. But it is not all seeds for the permaculturist, we are interested very much in perennials and methods of propagating annuals and biennials that don’t involve spending money.  Read More


More From the Bristol Permaculture Wadi Oasis

I think i’ve found the ‘river’ that is alleged to be under my allotment. I’ve dug most of the bottom end where the reeds were growing (that should have been a clue) to find the soil soaking wet 6 inches under the surface. It wasn’t just wet, it pooled with water, an ideal spot to construct a dam / swale. I am piling the soil up high either side and making the swale wide to ensure any plants I will be growing there don’t drown. The beds’ highest points are 2 feet above the surface of the swale. To those who don’t know, a swale is a ditch dug on contour so that any water entering it slows down to a crawl (because it is flat) and percolates into your beds for later use. Read More


Browning the Desert (or Building a Permaculture Wadi Oasis in Sunny Bristol)

I’ve got a new allotment, one closer to home and a full size one at that – 100ft by 18ft or about 33m x 6m (in new money). It’s a bit of a state but I dug a few spadefuls here and there before taking it (something I’d advise anyone to do) to see what sort of perennial weed roots there are. A teeny bit of couch grass, bind weed and quite a lot of mare’s tail, but much, much less than on my old plot (which I have given up). I’ve got some time off from work and I’ve been digging to remove the perennial weeds. Read More


Animals and sustainability

I’m conscious that this subject can be controversial but I’m not going to avoid discussing it because some people might get upset. ‘Loveage’ asked the question on a previous post so this is my answer.

There are ethical dimensions to the keeping of animals because animals, like humans, suffer when abused. Unfortunately, generally, worldwide, people like to eat them, skin them and make shoes out of them . Anyway, the production line slaughter of animals is abhorrent to me and to many others like me. We are however a minority*

Read More


Another Gardening Manifesto

So, it’s the middle of winter and I am champing at the bit to get growing, but really it is way too early. So time to write another manifesto, a list of promises for the coming year that like all manifestos will be completely ignored by its author (me). I have one allotment and one back garden. The allotment is a bit more like a farm in the sense it is a bit like a food making factory where there is not a lot of prissy fiddling, unlike the back garden which will have pot plants to be fed (chillis, basil, blueberries, etc), cuttings to be tended to and seedlings to be potted up. In the allotment I bung the seed in the ground, water it and weed it. Read More


More fun with wood chips

I noticed that the pile at the end of the garden under a shrub was rotting down nicely and going black and a little crumbly, so I decided to mulch some of the garden with it. I didn’t want the mulch to interfere with any seedlings in the spring so I used it to mulch my overwintering broad beans. Earlier this year I emptied my compost heap and spread all 0.71 cubic metres of it as mulch on my backyard. So now with the wood chips I have made 0.87 cubic metres of hopefully nutrient rich mulch solely from resources within my garden or waste from the house. The wood chips came from a tree at the end of the garden which is getting in the way of my light so I pollard its (small) branches every year and I still have more chips to go, a pile I had under a rhubarb forcer that failed to rot down even though I added buckets of urine to it. Read More

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