Archive for March, 2016

I will be posting a series of articles on Wildlife Ponds, although these ponds may be slightly more relevant to the UK, you can still use the same concepts and tips no matter where you are!

pond frog

Frogs in a Pond, make excellent Slug Terminators in a Permaculture System

This is article #1, further below I will update with links to future articles in the series so please keep an eye out and follow the blog, out of all of my mini projects in my mini garden over the last year or two, this has been the first which really excited me and is keeping me very interested and motivated, I guess it is the multiple benefits which a pond can provide which make it such a worthwhile project, that I am already figuring out little ways to extend the size of the pond and plants which I will place into  the system, all of this will be shared in the future once complete …

Quick Update on my own mini pond and it’s progress, the pond is in place, filled with water, pebbles and some duck weed as an interim substitute for the pond plants I intend to obtain in the coming weeks. I am specifically concentrating on only British Native species for the reason that they are more friendly to local wildlife and the ecosystem in general. A net was made from chicken wire just in case any herons or blackbirds decide to fish for frogs, today I got hold of what I hope is ‘Iris pseudacorus’ which is a native Water Iris, I should be able to give a true identification once it flowers in June. Now I await for my trusted ‘Pond Plant Nursery’ to sell me their winter recovering Oxygenating plants and others which I am adding into the design, Oxygenators are important especially if the pond is ”still” meaning without a water feature such as a fountain or waterfall. Never hesitate to find a specialist like I have, they should normally be more than happy to help out with advice depending on your pond size, mine is almost a micro pond if there is such a category?

Below are a few pictures I have obtained from other online sources, The last image is one I would like you all to look at and decide for yourselves, why that particular pond has a few issues with it which may be inhibiting frogs rather than promoting or helping them, just use your common sense and in the coming days I will post what I know is wrong with it based on the picture.

Click on each picture above and it will open in a larger viewing window

perma ponds - wrong doings

In the last picture above, take a look and see if you can find at least 3-4 issues with this pond which are inhibiting the frog / wildlife ecosystem, I will post the exact same photo in a few days highlighting the issues and discussing further!

Click HERE for a previous post with a nice video explaining 6 great benefits to having a pond system

Wouldn’t you agree ?

Just click on each image above to view in a larger window.

I have decided this year to add a pond into my system, I have a small back garden so the pond will have to be quite small as well, my main goal is firstly to keep frogs as Slug Terminators! I have a supply of Frogs / Frog spawn which I can make use of and then there will be the added benefits that usually come with ponds / water systems in a garden, here is a very precise video explaining 6 great reasons why you should have a pond (even if just a small one) installed in your garden.

Keep an eye out on my Growingarden Permaculture Blog for any updates on my pond design and how it all goes on through the year and years ahead!

Hi everybody, I was glad to see that they have already updated their website with the date for the 2016 London Permaculture Festival, It will be at the Cecil Sharpe House (as always) In Camden. The event is on Sunday the 31st of July, 11am – 6pm and the entry fees are the same at £6 normal and £4 Concessions.

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Take a look here at my report on the very fun and enjoyable London Permaculture Festival 2015 event

This is a family friendly event and there is too much to do, you simply cannot attend all of the workshops on that day, you are pretty much guaranteed to miss out on things unfortunately, one recommendation from me personally … DON’T FORGET YOUR NOTEBOOK!! < I did 😦

click Here for info on the 2014 / 15 workshops

Last Summer I added Oca and Ulloco Tuberous crops to my vegetable grow list in my garden, having harvested them recently, I can only advise that personally they are not worth the effort due to the small yield. This opinion is mainly helpful to those in countries with a similar climate to the UK, these plants are really from the Andean areas in South America where they are guaranteed to have more abundant sunshine.

Perennial tuber Kit: Incredible Vegetables

Various Perennial Tubers: Oca, Ulloco, Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) & Crosney (Chinese Artichoke).

Whilst I did get a few tubers per plant that were of a decent size, the rest were usually really tiny and even too small to be able to clean properly for culinary use.
I will be keeping a small amount of stock growing in one pot just for the sake of having some aside and re-seeding every year, this will prevent the need to buy more in the event of trying again.

On another note, the same goes for Chinese Artichokes AKA Crosneys, although the yield was quite big, the actual tubers were tiny and most broke whilst harvesting! Oca have a far more worthwhile yield compared with these so for any new gardeners interested to try unusual tubers out, the Oca are probably best after Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes).

Simply put, if I had a larger piece of land (I have a very small typical UK garden), and some more time on my hands, I would probably have a dedicated area to grow these crops and experiment with soil types (my soil is quite heavy). So, I am not entirely giving up, just putting these tubers on a backburner list whilst I find other crops to dedicate my limited space to.

To order any Unusual tuber vegetables in the UK / Europe, take a look at Incredible Vegetables, they supply full info on planting etc.

Here is a very good article outlining some pretty scary facts about the bane of Genetic Modification on humanity and also the world’s ecosystem (when keeping Genetic Pollen Pollution / Contamination in mind).

“Control oil and you control nations,” said US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. “Control food and you control the people.”

World food control is almost in place thanks to the reduction of seed diversity with genetically modified seeds being distributed by only a few transnational corporations. Genetic engineering has made proprietary control through the use of intellectual property rights possible over the seeds on which the world’s food supply depends on. To cover these costs, food prices are raised.

Monsanto is a leading corporation in agribusiness has been gradually taking over smaller heirloom seeds suppliers in addition to trademarks acquisition of a number of heirloom seeds. This started several years ago and it’s continuing. There’s significant probability that when buying seeds from a local store, one may get a genetically modified product.

Monsanto was formed in 1901, that’s more than a century ago, in the year. Throughout the ages, Monsanto has emerged and secured its reputation as a face of corporate evil. Demonstrations have been held globally by environmental activists and when Monsanto introduced Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) seeds. Monsanto modifies a plant or crop artificially, making it immune to a specific, all-purpose poison through genetic engineering. It’s expected that the modified crop stays safe with the use of pesticides while everything else is killed.

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The Monsanto Controversy

The controversy that lies with Monsanto is not recent; the company used to be a chemical company which produced Agent Orange and its main poison, Dioxin. The company was also involved in selling DDT, dairy cow hormone rBGH, the carcinogenic Aspartame sweetener, and PCBs in the past.

Impacts of GMO Foods

GMOs are unhealthy, this is according to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM). The organization points out that GMO food can cause infertility, organ damage, immune system disorder and accelerated aging. Another impact is the expected increase in the use of herbicides in an effort to stem the ‘superweed’ resulting from weed’s resistance to herbicides due to their increased usage.

Due to the possibility of cross-pollination, it’s expected that GMO pollution will be the long-term problem with no possibility of eradication. The famous and tragic Colony Collapse Disorder of Honey Bees was recognized to have happened after the introduction of GMOs. All these point to an unsustainable and dark future.

Please read the Full Article Here.

Here we have proof that the Forest Gardening method Does in fact work despite the skepticism that we Permies will inevitable experience from traditional ”Horticultural / Mono-cultural Society” types, in this 5 minute, well narrated and presented video, the land owner discusses his land and the project how it has come on since 1994.
This is a great video to watch to be able to understand the Forest Garden concept.


The main article where I came across this video is Here on the Permaculture News site, and below I have added a few images of the 7 basic layers of the Forest Garden concept:

7 layers

7 Layers of the Food Forest in Permaculture

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A Food Forest incorporating a Hugel / Swale combination