Archive for the ‘urban farm’ Category

phils

Looking at my ”Country Stat’s” on this blog, it looks like the Philippines is going to take the lead ahead of Australia this month in views (Australia seems to always be third in my stats right after UK and USA who always both dominate 1st and 2nd place), I’m not entirely sure why they suddenly seem to be searching for Permaculture or finding my blog in particular (Perhaps it is my previous article on GM Rice?) but I have decided to dedicate an article based on Organic and Permaculture projects that I have seen there. I have previously searched for either a Permaculture Farm / Forest Garden or Tour video to include the country in my long list of ”Videos and Tours”. I just never got around to sharing or writing an article so, here we have a few videos to view for any Filipino’s looking to self educate and then be able to try grow healthy food  for themselves and family / community.

So, Salamat for Stopping By, here are a few videos, Some are in Tagalog and I think the one in Bohol is in Bisaya with some English thrown in by the video uploader and some of his friends, enjoy:

Video 1: Urban Agriculture Philippines – (15 mins), container growing, aquaponics, rabbits etc.in an Urban setting (Tagalog)

Video 2: Maribojoc Organic Demo Farm Bohol pt1 (After Watching Part 1, the other parts will be available to watch on the side suggestion bar on youtube) – Entrance to this Demonstration Farm is PHP30 per person! That’s Cheap considering what you will learn …

https://youtu.be/X4AMG6P9qww

Video 3: 1 Project Freedom, a Permaculture Demonstration Site, Tublay, Benguet, Philippines (It will be interesting to learn from them if one can take the time out to go on a tour and visit the site)

Please remember, this is an active blog where you Do Not need an account to be able to use my comments section, anyone can comment selecting ”post as Guest”, please comment and get communicating with me and others, Permaculture is also about community and learning 🙂

Further Reading / Educational = Previous Article: How to build a Banana Circle to increase crop flavour, nutrition and yield!

 

I accidentally let a Courgette (Zucchini) get to Marrow size, although I sometimes do this, I so far haven’t let any go past the 1 kg mark, the harvest from last week yielded a Marrow that is sitting somewhere at the 1.85 kg mark!! We still have yet to open it and see if it has gone to seed, if yes are they woody yet? if not, is it soft and still edible? I have seen a recipe online for Stuffed large Courgettes which I would like to give a try …

25 Runner Beans ‘Czar’, 35 Tomato ‘Millefleur’, 2x Italian Vine Tomatoes and the Courgette-Zilla with it’s normal sized cousin. The Millefleur tomatoes are really delicious straight from the bush, this variety will be a mainstay from now on for me.

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Regrets I have, as usual are that I again had plants germinated which I didn’t get in the ground or at least re-potted soon enough, they went to waste and this harvest could have included a good bowl full of various leafy greens for a nice salad … perhaps even an Aubergine or two if I had made good effort to get my polytunnel finished at least two months ago.

In the above photo’s you can see the prolific fruiting of the Tomato ‘Millefleur’ variety, we have had a pretty weak summer this year and I suspect that this variety will do much better in hotter summers.
I am very, very chuffed to say that I Finally got a Watermelon forming, the little ball really expanded quite a bit in the last day or two since I first spotted it (there looks to be another forming on one of the other plants too 🙂
Since it is so late in the season to even think of the watermelon doing well at all, I just need to get the polytunnel finished and work on adding heat mass temporarily into the tunnel to counter the inevitable cold nights that are very close around the corner -by heat mass I mean large rocks / bricks etc to absorb the sun’s radiation during the day to release slowly at night, the Watermelon Variety is bred for a short season so hopefully by October it can be harvested
One or two flowers from the one surviving Melon seem to be selling too so hopefully something is going on there as well …

It was a clear day (mostly) and everything in the pond was highly visible almost down to the bottom, my Oxygenating plants have grown so much I can start selling them in small batches now (the Water Mint is also sending shoots out in every direction, looks like I may have to sell a pond starter package online?), today I spotted the regular frog then suddenly a smaller one popped out from the same hiding place!

The pond has been swamped with Water Skaters, I saw two who found a lonesome Woodlouse to munch on. Today I managed to add some Onions into my last outdoor sowings of Carrots (the Carrots were seeded about two weeks ago – the Onions were placed where seeds failed to Germinate), planting a few Onions between and around your Carrots will confuse Carrot Root Fly – for those of you who are new to this, it’s called a few names worldwide – most commonly, Companion Planting or Intercropping.

I planted these onions knowing it is too late for them, but two things could happen here;
1: They will be a reasonable size once they need pulling out, so can be used as Salad Onions or
2: If small enough, they can be lifted to be stored to dry out, then I can use them to start early in my polytunnel for large Spring time Onions
3: They will survive at least most of the length of the Carrots’ life, so they will have fulfilled their purpose if they only provide the distracting scents

The Globe Artichokes ‘Cynara cardunculus’ a non edible variety of Globe Artichoke which is used mainly for ornamental reasons, are doing well it seems. All three are sending out fresh shoots including the one I planted in the very beginning (About 4 month’s ago when I got granted the land) -the most recent ones are scavenged from another plot which is vacant, I don’t want to find out that new tenants thought it was a weed and decided to kill them off …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so I finally get around to posting ”what’s going on” photo’s of both my Allotment and Garden …

I love bees, but unfortunately with this year’s cool weather, I haven’t been able to get a nice photo yet compared with previous years, I do have a frog though 😉

Click on each picture below for a larger image of such

 

Wildlife have increased both on the Allotment and Garden, mainly due to the added varieties of plants as well as ponds on both sites, I can’t stress enough how important a pond is, even if you just get a small container and place it in a hole with a few plants inside, it will go a long way to help the local ecosystem, not only that but can also create a Micro Climate which you can take advantage of in terms of Plant Variety and options …

Tadpoles are, Still Tadpoles! … in the small pond at home, I’m leaning towards that maybe they don’t have as much food due to the pond size compared with the Allotment, so I’ve made a mental note to throw in a few more ”accidentally stepped on” slugs to help them along …

I’m growing Achocha for the first time this year, they are climbers so they are growing amongst the Pumpkins on the large trellis, they are related to the famous ‘Exploding Cucumber’ but the reason why I’m growing them is I feel like giving up on Peppers, the slugs are too Rambo here and this variety is said to taste like Green Peppers when fried – they are also a vine plant so a bit out of reach for the slugs.

The Japanese ‘Hokkaido’ Pumpkin are said to be one of the easiest Heritage (Heirloom) pumpkins to grow in the UK climate, are quite prolific and highly recommended as well as the Pumpkin Masque De Province.

I chopped down my Bocking 14 Comfrey literally 3 – 4 weeks ago and already have a plant almost two thirds back to the original size! You definitely need to divide the roots every year after the second year onwards … the crowns sell for reasonable money online so keep that in mind! I am pondering opening an online shop here, this will be something on offer if I go ahead with the idea.

Above are the photo’s from the Allotment plot, starting with a nice sunrise sometime perhaps after 6am? Once cloud, wow, amazing for the UK skyline eh?

The wildflower bed is doing better now than I had expected (I really waited very late to buy and sow a pack on that dedicated bed) luckily all worked out fine, I suspect maybe less than half of the varieties mentioned on the seed pack germinated so I was quite happy with what came out. The Borage flowers are beautiful aren’t they? No wonder they are used in salads for a visual touch!

The Pumpkin is another French variety Galeuse d’Eysines which I had some reasonable success with last year, it climbs well and does pretty good in storage

I placed Marigolds ‘Tagetes’ too late ( well I discovered that Marigolds really should be the First plant you germinate before you start sowing vegetable seeds – this is a personal observation, but I bet not my own) and hence lost a Pumpkin and Courgette plant to slugs, the other marigolds under my Achocha plants almost got completely decimated (that’s their purpose anyway) but are coming back to life now, their new purpose is ornamental to brighten up the plot and finally to provide me with seed for next year

The Water Mint ‘Mentha Aquatica’ are now flowering, they are insect / Bee beneficial and if you look closely in the photo, you can see a resident Frog on the left near the flower right in the emergence zone at the water line.

Till the next Garden / Allotment update – most likely a Harvest Update but there might be more ”mid summer” if we suddenly get good hot weather so the plants can get a boost

Allotments in Europe can best be described to those in other parts of the world as similar to community gardens, with the emphasis on that each individual gets a designated plot (if available) to grow primarily, healthy food for themselves and family.
This is not restricted to food growing, at least not in the UK that I am aware of, I have seen plots dedicated almost 100% to growing certain tree / shrubs which are good for weaving and others where the owner (tenant) just wants a small shed with some kind of cooking devices, seed storage, sitting area and a kettle to make tea or coffee with a garden mostly covered in ornamental flowers and plants.

Within the UK, interest in allotments surges during economic recessions etc. often causing dismay when people find out there is a 10 year waiting list for one in their area!


Allotment numbers in Europe are as follows (Source: allotmentphotogallery.com):

Germany 1.4 million allotments
United Kingdom 330,000
The Netherlands 240,000
Denmark 62,120
Sweden 51,000
Belgium 42,000
Austria 38,000
Switzerland  27,000
France 26,000
Finland  5,000
Norway  2,000
Malta 50

In countries like Denmark and England, allotment gardening can be traced back as far as the 1730’s, whilst the rest of Europe started joining in around the 1800’s onwards till today with Malta starting 50 allotments in April 2011. In Germany, the largest provider and user of Council / Municipal supplied allotments, the land used for the 1.4 million allotments accounts to 470 square Kilometers !

Click HERE for Quick Tour of Britain’s Best Allotment Winners Plot 2015 (Video)

Click HERE for a previous post of an Allotment site in Bristol which is managed by Mike Feingold, an old school Permaculturist (Video Tour / educational)

I have been meaning to post on the Hugelkultur method for around a year now and have finally gotten to doing it! I’ve gone through all of my own personal pictures to show you my own experience installing and now after one year, my experience with the system.

Traditionally, the Hugel system is a year on year progression whereby in the first year, you are meant to only grow shallow rooting crops such as lettuces, then follow on the second year and third with larger crops until you are growing tomatoes, peppers etc.

well, I Cheated! haha, I also got away with cheating so far with some amendments.
Ok, so a Hugelkultur bed is basically large cut tree logs placed in a small dug out trench (supposed to only be a few inches deep) which are topped with smaller logs, which are then topped with branches, then sticks, twigs, leaves and finally the layer of ‘sod’ which will then have a layer of compost or soil added over it to plant in. (sod is upturned chunks of grass and roots)

The purpose of this system is for the logs and the rest of the organic matter sitting on top of the logs to slowly decompose over a long period of time (up to ten years +) which provides a good, nutrient rich soil amendment or compost bed which you can grow edible plants / crops on.

In the above images, you see the main 7 layers, I finally had the last (8th) layer which was the rest of the Top Soil, I made the planting layer much thicker than traditional Hugel Beds so in order to be able to immediately grow the main crops I go for such as Tomatoes, Pumpkins etc. The way that I cheated includes maintaining hole cavities to ensure that air is able to penetrate deep down ensuring it remains Aerobic. My Hugel Bed was dug deeper than usual as I wanted the logs to penetrate deeper to condition the heavy clay subsoil and also counter the builders rubble that I came across after digging about half a space deep!
After 10 years my garden beds will be far far more natural and organic compared with my neighbours.

All of this was done and completed before Winter was over (2015) and a final layer of semi  mulched leaves was placed on top of the bed to encourage the worms to remain closer to the surface and condition the soil before spring. NOTE: In the photo’s you see a small three foot wide hole, due to time constraints I could only make the Hugel Bed in sections at a time, the entire bed was about 4 meters long by 80cm wide (13 ft x 2 ft 7 in) once completed.

Success? YES! I grew Pumpkins, Tomatoes, Peppers, Oca Tubers, Nasturtium and Courgettes (Zucchini) on this bed with ease!, I have also discovered a new trick to maintain breathing cavities which I will update Here in the days / weeks coming, to ensure the system stays aerobic.
The Permaculture genius Sepp Holtzer is said to be the pioneer of the Hugel Method, I have read his book: Sepp Holtzer’s Permaculture, I highly recommend this book even if you are not interested in Permaculture but have an interest in growing food on any scale!

Below I have a few images found online that will help in understanding the Hugelkultur method better, I have a very small piece of land and it is not mine, so I cannot simply cut out part of the lawn and follow the general method of Hugel Beds, hence why I stuck to the actual flower beds which restricted the size and working area.


At the end of the upcoming growing season I will definitely come back with a new post updating on what crops were grown and any observations whether positive or negative regarding my Hugel System … Don’t Be Scared To Experiment !

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!

Over the last few years, I have been quite interested in observing how some buildings especially large warehouses in Industrial Estates have such huge roof space and all that it is used for is mounting a few air conditioning units!
With the improvements in Solar Cell technology (including wind turbines), surely if at least 50% of all larger buildings in Estates such as these as well as Shopping Malls, Schools etc. were to be fitted with Photovoltaic Solar Panels then we would see a massive decrease in the need or reliance on polluting fossil fuels as well as Nuclear ! ?

City Square Mall Singapore, Rooftop includes Solar Panels, Green Living Plants and Rainwater Harvesting!

City Square Mall Singapore, Rooftop includes Solar Panels, Green Living Plants and Rainwater Harvesting!

I completely agree that renewable energy is not something we can 100% rely on just yet, but slowly phasing out the need for these other primitive and environmentally destructive forms of energy until we gain the know how to become 100% reliant on renewables, is definitely something that needs to be done as a priority worldwide. Click Here for the Article on City Square Mall (Above Photo) in Singapore.

Solar Panels on an IKEA Superstore

Solar Panels on an IKEA Superstore

This is not entirely restricted to energy production, there is also food production as an option and this is becoming more popular worldwide! In England and also in many other countries, local authorities provide plots of land for rent to local residents at a rental fee (per year) which they can use to grow their own food, host a few bee hives etc. even just to be able to garden … Unfortunately, they cannot provide enough of these plots (Called Allotments in the UK) and some councils are selling them for private development! Not only this but running your own little plot on an allotment site also requires you to have reasonable transport options, many people do not own cars and also allotment sites can be too far from ones home.

Rooftop Gardening may help alleviate this problem:

Note: I read somewhere a few years ago that New York is estimated to have enough roof space to feed 15 Million people! I do not know if this is on an annual basis calculation but if I ever come across the study I will most definitely post it here as an article with a link!

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (NY).  20 June 2010. Photo: Antoine Doyen

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (NY). 20 June 2010. Photo: Antoine Doyen

rooftop farm New York

rooftop farm New York

Rooftop Farm - Brooklyn Grange NY

Rooftop Farm – Brooklyn Grange NY

Rooftop Farm - Brooklyn Grange NY 1

Rooftop Farm – Brooklyn Grange NY 1

Rooftop Farm - Location Unknown

Rooftop Farm – Location Unknown

Rooftop Farm Antwerp, Belgium

Rooftop Farm / Garden, Antwerp, Belgium

Stacey Kimmons and Audra Lewicki harvest lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden's 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West in Chicago.

Stacey Kimmons and Audra Lewicki harvest lettuce at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s 20,000-square-foot vegetable garden atop McCormick Place West in Chicago.