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I know this is a little late as the event was almost two weeks ago, but things are a little busy on the allotment and others.

Upon arriving at the festival and moving on into the Garden, I was a little worried that the event this year was watered down a bit or at least will have far fewer people attending, But, within an hour or so and after attending the first workshop, things picked up rather nicely.

For anyone who would like to attend the event in the future but have been holding back due to the distance, just keep in mind that to make the journey worth while, the event is held just minutes walk away from the Camden Market area, Regent’s Park and the London Zoo as well as the local Regent’s Canal. If one does not want to walk the entire distance to Camden Market just for a bite to eat, there are many restaurants and Cafe’s between Camden Town Station and the Cecil Sharp House.
Although, the event together with all of the various workshops should keep you busy for the whole 6 hours!

The book stand operated by Permanent Publications was, as usual, one of the busiest stalls in the Market at the festival (no surprise there), the Rare Plant Nursery Edulis was there also as usual but with what seemed like fewer plants this year when compared to previous years yet still with a good variety available (or is it perhaps that I arrived a little late and much of the stock was already sold?)
They source, grow and sell rare edible plants including bulbs, climbers (vines), nitrogen fixers, berry plants, herbs and more, if you missed this year’s event and like what Edulis stocks, they now offer delivery so you can order in an online / mailorder type setting. I currently own about 8 various shrub, berry and edible plants from them and can highly recommend their stock including two of my favourite berry plants Japanese Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius) and Chokeberry (Aronia prunifolia)[ 2-3 varieties offered]. The owner of Edulis is a Permaculturist himself and therefore many of these plants will have more than one function in a design.


I further found hand crafted teas, soaps, agricultural tools for sale, hemp health products, moringa health products and the ever present Cake Stand with it’s attention to the various diets of festival attendees. There were protest and awareness stands, childrens activities from storytelling, bug hunting in the garden etc.

Permablitz London were also there doing some work, I unfortunately didn’t manage to go see exactly what, but a general idea is mentioned on the Timetable image at the top of this post  article. Permablitzing is a very good eay to learn and get some real practical experience in Permaculture with some insight into how designs are implemented and function. Once you attend 3 Permablitzes, you can get one done at your property, allotment / community garden or even nominate a friend / family members property to receive a ‘Permaculture Overhaul’.

In conclusion, this was honestly the most successful one that I have attended over the years having met loads of people doing very interesting work not only locally but internationally as well and I shall be attending these events every year onwards …

I will post again when I know the date of the 2018 festival.

Lon Perm Fest 17 banner

London Permaculture Festival 2017 (30th July)

I am happy to advise that the date of the 2017 London Permaculture Festival has been announced!

The annual event is always held at the Cecil Sharp House (home of the English Folk Dance Society) in Camden, North london.
There are workshops going on indoors and out, activities for everyone including families and children, you can usually purchase home made foods and drink with other things like an exotic / rare plant nursery which sell plants that are well suited to Permaculture design in that they have multiple functions ….

As I have mentioned in the past in previous posts (2015) and (2016),  there is an array of free workshops going on during the event and you have the opportunity to learn lots about Permaculture and alternative lifestyle or sustainability oriented changes.

The event will take place on Sunday the 30th of July and the entry fee remains the same at £6 normal entry and £4 for concessions, it runs from 11am to 6pm and all under 18 go in for free.

Click Here for the London Permaculture Festival Home Page – includes a video

 

 

I am in no way going to be benefiting from this financially, however, as an avid follower of Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture methods, I stumbled upon this excellent deal which, I unfortunately cannot take advantage of due to already owning Both books 😦

sepp-book-deal

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture and Desert of Paradise – Huge Discounted Offer

The Books: ‘Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture’ and the equally interesting ‘Desert or Paradise, Restoring Endangered Landscapes using Water Mangement, including Lake and Pond Construction‘ are Both on a very good clearance offer for only £18.95 with free delivery for Both Books, this is a massive saving of £16.95 and just short of getting one of the books for Free! – on the website Green Shopping which stocks a wide range of books and magazines not only from Permanent Publications. Click here for the offer (Note, the link is likely to become unuseable once they stop the offer or sell out).

Are you interested in Permaculture, Organic Gardening, Wildlife Gardening, establishing a Rural self sufficient homestead or related? Then Get These Books! You will kick yourself in the future for not having taken this deal …

If you live in the UK, you may be aware that every year around November, the big shopping chain ASDA usually sells bare rooted fruit trees in store at a good low price (usually £5 each).

orchard

Create Your Own Inexpensive Mini Orchard

When you consider that a young (probably same age) fruit tree sells at the major garden centre stores like HomeBcase and B&Q for minimum £10 per tree, this is a great bargain! The only difference is that perhaps (although I’m not sure) the trees in B&Q or HomeBase might be slightly older and able to bare fruit the same year or season after purchasing (keep in mind, the trees in the latter are potted whilst in ASDA they are bare root).
Now, November is well gone and ASDA have sold off all of their stocks since around December, but at the moment, the Tesco Superstores have just received their stocks of bare rooted fruit trees and soft fruit such as blackberries, raspberries etc.
Although they are slightly more expensive per tree (£6), you can save by buying two trees for £10.

A friend of mine told me his Tesco Superstore also had Cherries (Cherry ‘Stella’) on sale, my local one only had the following in stock:

  • Two Pear varieties including the well known ‘Conference’ pear
  • Four Apples (Cox’s Orange Pippin, Jonagold, Discovery & Golden Delicious)
  • One Plum (Victoria)

This may mean that the stock has already been around for some weeks so I would advise anyone with a garden or allotment to get to one asap! The trees are grafted on dwarfing root stocks and therefore are set to grow to a maximum height of 3 – 3.5 meters (9ft 10in to 11ft 5in) which is ideal for home growing and harvesting.

I would advise you to visit the store a few times in one or two weeks to be able to catch the new stock replenishment.

One comparison note I would like to advise anyone interested between the ASDA trees and the Tesco ones is, The ASDA ones come with full information on the year on year pruning regime, the root stock info, what pollination partners the tree needs (if not self pollinating), where best to plant & when to expect fruit etc. whilst the Tesco ones only advise how to plant. One other point that seems to be a positive about the Tesco trees is that the stem thickness seems quite a bit larger and this likely means more mature plants that may develop fruit sooner!

If any readers here know whether the large Sainsburys also stock bare rooted fruit trees please do comment below and lets us know which part of the year they usually stock them!

Hi everybody! In a few days it will ALREADY BE MARCH!! It’s amazing how the seasons creep up on us so quickly ! … ?

After my first year growing Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes in 2014) and with a very good success, I have decided to try out some other tubers due to my ever increasing interest in Perennials and my overall plan on growing a large percentage of my food crops as perennial with a ever decreasing percentage of Annuals.

After a reasonable amount of research and the fact that I hold quite an interest in South American Ancient History, Two of the new tubers on my list for 2015 are Ulloco and Oca (originally grown by the Incas), the third being Chinese Artichoke (Crosney).

Just a couple of days back I received my order from the crew at Incredible Vegetables, their site caught my attention as they specialise in Perennial and also unusual / non-common vegetable crops for the average back garden grower or allotment holder … I recommend to take a look at the site and see if there is anything you fancy, they run an ebay shop too if that suits your convenience better!

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

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

The package contained Oca and Ulloco tubers, they sell various tubers etc. & also packaged kits containing many tuber varieties, I ordered a kit but had to email them to make a deal as I already have Artichokes from my previous year and also Chinese Artichokes bought a couple weeks ago from another seller before I discovered Incredible Veg’s, in short I bought only a kit of Oca and Ulloco’s – Click Here for the package opening post from when I received them (Photo’s / explanation).

These are all going to be interesting to grow and experiment with around my garden, they all grow to various sizes and it will be quite fun experimenting where and what they can be mixed with? For example, Jerusalem Artichokes grow exceptionally tall and leave the ground below open for ground cover crops (lets face it, the sun doesn’t sit all day at the 12 o’clock position) so the shade won’t be an all day event for what you add in to your stacking plan! Oca seem to grow into medium sized bushes and Ulloco seem to be low / ground cover, this is all based on image searches …
I highly recommend Tubers in general but also to get these four varieties as you have tall, medium and lower / ground cover sizes to mix into your vegetable beds.
The one positive charachteristc of Jerusalem Artichokes that ”stands out” for me is that they are shade tolerant, so, due to their height they can be sown in a place where in the beginning they won’t really get much sun, then in the end once they grow taller, they will find enough sunlight to be able to grow well and produce tubers. (behind a garden shed or along a shady wall are great examples – using up places in your garden which are useless for other crops)

Tip for buying tubers that will only be planted in March onwards:

Many sellers tell you to keep the tubers in moist compost medium in a cool place until planting out time (some tubers cannot go into the ground yet), I tried this with my Chinese Artichokes and unfortunately, they sprouted inside the ”cool” cupboard!
The tip is: If you are not sure of this new variety you are growing, then split up your seed tubers into 2-3 trays, keep one tray in a outdoor shed / garage (covered and not in sunlight etc), one in a cupboard and maybe some in the fridge (moisten the compost or keep them wrapped in kitchen towel (tissue) then in a plastic bag on a shelf you don’t use as much & check regularly.
If you are interested to try these out, it is definitely Not Too Late you still have tons of time to prepare a bed/s for them and order

As much as I would prefer to have Slug Control work by merely trapping them and deporting them away from your property, there are other methods which may be needed to really turn the tables in your favour if you really have a slug problem whereby removing them doesn’t seem to work…

'' Slugnatomy '' anatomy of the vegetable loving slug :)

” Slugnatomy ” anatomy of the vegetable loving slug 🙂

Slugs can and do come back soon enough if only shifted 20 or so feet away!

I am currently experimenting with a Beer Cull, I have used beer traps before over the years but read recently that an effective way to manage a beer trap system is to set the traps regularly over a period of time in order to Cull the population back to a lower, maintainable level.

As I would prefer to spend as little money as possible, I decided to go shopping around for cheap beer … Morrisons sent a nice little ”Deals” advert through my letterbox offering a case of 10 beers for £7! this was it, until I realised that a quick pop over to Aldi or Lidl would be beneficial before going for the morrisons deal … I was right!
Lidl sell a case of Carling Lager containing 12 x 440ml cans for ONLY £6.50, at this moment I am able to set 6 small traps and 2 large ones based on the below design with One can’s worth of beer (440ml):

Diagram of a DIY Wildlife Friendly Beer Trap

Preferred Method:

If your beer is 4% Alcohol >, then dilute it with 50% water to help the fermentation, Don’t fill the bottle just go based on the above diagram. If your beer is 2%, then dilution is not needed, Guinness and Ales are highly recommended above beer if you can / are willing to get some.
Dig a hole and place the bottle deep, make sure the entry holes are well above ground level, enough so that beneficial insects and bugs don’t go in (It’s harder for them to climb the plastic), but place a stick in there just in case as an exit ladder (The other bugs don’t like the beer and will want to get out).
At this point, and if you have the time – I recommend that each trap is emptied and fresh beer bait placed inside twice a week (2 cans for me). I am going to stagger the trapping so, for one week I will trap and then give a break for another week and so on, this will allow my 6 week’s supply of beer to spread over 12 weeks thereby making sure I am still trapping in the first week of May (Provided I don’t get tempted to drink some of the beer!)

Slug Control Wildlife Friendly Beer Trap in situ

Note: In the above photo, The beer trap should be another inch or so deeper into the soil, it is not a major issue but helps with attracting more slugs, my other smaller traps (in smaller bottles) tend to have many more slugs compared to these two 1ltr juice bottles.

Slug Beer Trap SUCCESS ! ! 20 in first week

Initial conclusion: There was a good success of 20 Slugs in the first week!, given I have been seriously too busy at work and didn’t manage the energy to go outside in the evening one night to empty and replenish the traps, a count of 20 was really welcome! Tonight the fresh traps went out and about half were put into a different area than last week.

Week #2: Excellent score of 61 Slugs and 1 Snail, again it is observed that the smaller traps worked better

Read the Full Update on Week #2 Here.

Last year’s survivors – A Plum, Apple and Cherry

I stumbled upon these accidentally last year 2013 when grocery shopping, I was skeptical at first as they were bare root fruit trees of various fruits and with my experience in purchasing bare root fruit bushes (which about 50% of the time were dead before I bought them), I decided to only buy two, plant them and if after one week the branches were still ”bendy” then I would go back and get more.
They were Apples, Pears, Cherries and Plums in ASDA for only £6 a pop!! Small varieties that, since they were root ball (meaning they don’t have a pot full of compost on the bottom, they instead have had their roots wrapped in water retaining material covered in plastic). (more…)