Posts Tagged ‘Permaculture Plants’

I have been meaning to do this for ages and here it finally is, I have a dedicated page with a calendar for seed sowing and planting.
Click Here to jump straight to it, but keep in mind it is a page tab at the top of the screen near the ”About Growingarden” tab.

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Soon I will update the other months such as March onwards so you can order your seeds in advance and also prepare / think how you would like to arrange your garden design this year.
Keep in mind, newer concepts like Companion Planting, Planting for wildlife especially Pollinators etc. Some herbs are pungeant, they release off strong odours which repel and confuse pests.

Remember, to keep things interesting, think what did not work so well last year and apply one of the Permaculture Principles ”The Problem is the Solution”- in other words you can fix a problem by turning it into a solution and working with it instead of against.
For an off -the-head example: If you have had problems with slugs and no matter what you do, their numbers never drop and the population keeps staying high, get a duck or two! Ducks love them and you will be introducing a pest controller into your system which will produce eggs and even meat if you wish, lets not forget they also have a built in rear compost spreader as well! 😉

This Seasonal Growing Calendar is only valid for Cold Weather  / Temperate Climates such as in the Northern Hemisphere / Europe/UK where frosts are expected during winter.

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Another Plant which I cannot see myself ever doing without unless moving to a climate which it cannot thrive in is the Artichoke Plant ‘Cynara Cardunculus’ (there are a few varieties). My obsession with these came when I snapped a photo of one flower head which had around 9 or so bees on it alone!

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The plant has a pleasant ‘Silver Tone’ effect which covers Greys and Silvers in an ornamental bed (Perennials)

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Multiple Flower Heads ‘Cynara cardunculus’

A friend of mine says that his Grandparents in the past, used to cook  the young shoots in a type of stew / broth recipe in the South of France.
There is the famous ‘Globe Artichoke’ which is edible and the varieties I am mainly focusing on here which do not produce edible flower heads such as the latter, but are great for Bees and Pollinators.
The plants are Perennial and once established should last years, in colder Temperate regions these Herbaceous plants will die down in a cold Winter and re-sprout in Spring. I am classing the Ornamental Artichoke ‘Cynara Cardunculus’ as Semi / Beneficial with the Edible ‘Globe Artichoke’ Variety as a good Beneficial Plant (Multiple Uses / Purposes) in a Sustainable / Permaculture System (Edible parts, good Cash Crop if grown in bulk, Perennial, Medicinal uses as described below and Pollinator attractant / forage plant. Another point is the leaves produce good green waste for composting and the tall woody stems you will chop down in Winter are great biomass, can be used as canes, in Hugel Mounds / Hugelkultur etc.)

 

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Bees Love the Artichoke Plant ‘Cynara cardunculus’

The plants are used medicinally and the following is taken from WebMD:

” Artichoke is a plant. The leaf, stem, and root are used to make “extracts” which contain a high concentration of certain chemicals found in the plant. These extracts are used as medicine.

Artichoke is used to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver, and this is thought to help reduce the symptoms of heartburn and alcohol “hangover.” Artichoke is also used for high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney problems, anemia, fluid retention (edema), arthritis, bladder infections, and liver problems.

Some people use artichoke for treating snakebites, preventing gallstones, lowering blood pressure, lowering blood sugar; to increase urine flow; and as a tonic or stimulant.

In foods, artichoke leaves and extracts are used to flavor beverages. Cynarin and chlorogenic acid, which are chemicals found in artichoke, are sometimes used as sweeteners.

Don’t confuse artichoke with Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus).

How does it work?

Artichoke has chemicals that can reduce nausea and vomiting, spasms, and intestinal gas. These chemicals have also been shown to lower cholesterol. ”

 

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‘Cynara cardunculus’ grown commercially

The plants can be propagated by root division, take an established plant in dormancy (Winter / end of Winter towards Spring), using a spade, you will merely slice into the center of the root crown and dig around this newly sliced section, taking as much of the root with you as possible with soil to transplant to a nursing bed or in its final location. A layer of mulch is always a good idea once placed as protection from frost to ensure survival of the new plant.

Growing a couple of these plants in your garden together with other local / native as well as non native Bee Friendly plants will be very helpful for our Bee friends as an important food supply, ensure you study the different flowering times so that you can ensure that you alway have a plant or two supplying them with pollen and nectar most of the year round. You can even place one plant in a semi / shaded spot and this plant will flower later on, its flowers will still be going when the other plant has already finished its flushes.

I just have to make a post about this awesome Heriloom, (non Hybrid / GMO) Tomato Plant ( Tomato ‘Millefleur’ ) because I keep raving about it in previous posts and now, after harvesting 138 tomatoes from One Plant for the Second Time (I think the previous was 134 +- from the one in my Garden a few weeks ago) …

I highly reccommend this Tomato for a small space or balcony garden as it makes huge flower trusses which never seem to stop producing more and more flower! You eventually end up having to cut off any new growth especially when the season starts becoming a little unpredictable (quite common here in the UK).

Please excuse the low quality shots below of the plant …

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Tomato ‘Millefleur’ – a New breed known as Centiflor Tomatoes

Okay, now unfortunately I cannot say any true estimate of how many Tomatoes I have harvested in total so far from the two plants I have, but I can give a rough estimate of around 350 / 370 Tomatoes harvested to date between Both Plants combined, with perhaps another 100 – 150 to come depending on weather conditions, the Tom’s are there alrerady but we are not sure whether they will ripen as it’s almost October and usually by this time of the year, Tomatoes are dead or covered in Blight!

Okay so you aren’t keen on having such an abundant supply of one fruit? Sure, but remember, there is Always the backup of Preservation or even giving to your community! In the coming days I will post an article on Drying and Jarring / Canning your Tomatoes to be able to last into Winter and easily into the following year!

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Tomato ‘Millefleur’ a definite ”Permaculture Plant” in my books, so versatile and fruit can be Preserved to supply well into the next year

 

Please keep an eye out on this Blog, I may just open a shop option whereby I may sell limited amounts of seed packs here of Plants / Annuals which I highly recommend.

Growing these Tomato plants in pots on a Balcony or small space is a good possibility under the following conditions:

  1. Planted in a Large Pot with lots of Organic Material mixed into the soil / compost,
  2. Watered everyday when very hot and dry, but every 3rd day or so during normal summer weather (keep a tray saucer beneath pot if possible),
  3. Fed with a liquid feed once a week after maybe one month after potting into the large pot,
  4. Top of the compost / soil layer covered in some kind of dry mulch such as straw, well composted woodchip etc.
  5. Pot preferrably placed in the shade whilst the plant itself sits in sun as much as possible, you can slice old thick bags like the ones compost come in from the shops, wrap these around the sides only of the plant pot (if the bag is White) to reflect sun and prevent evaporation,
  6. Nip off all new flowers between 15th August and beginning of September as these will hardly get a chance to form and ripen, nipping them off will divert the energy / nutrients into the existing Tomatoes

Do you have / want to grow on your Balcony or very confined space? Then You Need To watch This Video – this will show you just how much can be added into a small space if designed properly!