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Permaculture in UK and Eire

 
Nigel Wickenden
Posts: 6
Location: Spalding, Lincolnshire
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I'm just starting to learn about permaculture and will be doing a 12 day design course in May. I understand that different parts of the world will have different "best value" plants and this is why I thought I'd try starting a thread for people in the UK and Eire to exchange information and ideas. Obviously I'm hoping I'm not the only person from the British Isles here.

My garden is laid out traditionally at present with lawns and flower beds. I was getting a bit fed up with it last year and put three apple trees and a plum on dwarfing root stock in the front lawn. Then I made a bed by a fence and added raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and currants.

We've already got a couple of bamboo plants so stakes are covered and I'v just bought two Hardy Kiwis, a Black Mulberry and a New Zealand Flax. Next item on the agenda is some Comfrey. Once I have done the design course I shall start looking at perennial veg to plant too. One thing I thought of is fertility and years ago I found spent mushroom compost to be excellent, so I think I'll invest in some and then cover with wet cardboard/newspapers to kill off the grass and stuff I don't want.

I would really appreciate any advice that seasoned permaculturalists can offer to somebody living on a dead flat land at sea level in the East Midlands.

Nigel.
 
Fiona Martin
Posts: 30
Location: UK, Newcastle Upon Tyne
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Hi Nigel,

I'm not a seasoned permaculturist but thought I'd say hi, I'm also based in the UK, but further North - Newcastle Upon Tyne. It sounds like you're are making a good start with your trees and currants. It's difficult to know where to start, my approach on my allotment has been to start with my soil - it's in an appalling state, so I'm trying to add more organic matter. Since you're doing a course in May I would maybe hold off doing anything too big until you've done that, there's no harm in covering the grass that you want to eliminate, that will give you a head start what ever you decide to do long term.

Cheers,

Fiona
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Hi guys,

I'm based in Kent... UK permies do exist, but we are rather rare.

I suggest you add your location and climate details to your profile so it appear on the left when you post - it makes it much easier to spot each other!


Mike
 
Fiona Martin
Posts: 30
Location: UK, Newcastle Upon Tyne
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Hmm yes, that would probably help!
 
Nigel Wickenden
Posts: 6
Location: Spalding, Lincolnshire
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I live in the fenlands of south Lincolnshire where it is very flat. We usually get mild winters and mild summers. Rainfall is a bit over 20" per year but the water table is quite near the surface because we're at or just below sea level. In winter if the wind comes from the East it can get well below freezing. The coldest I've experienced here is -19C or -2F but that really is unusual.

We have a small plot both front and rear of the bungalow. The front being on the North side and the rear being overshadowed by trees from the property ver the fence. We do get good light on the back wall of the building. We have paths all the way round close to the walls so as to clean the windows & doors with two patios by the back door and patio door.

I am also constrained by the fact that my wife wants to see a lot of flowers from the kitchen window and the garden seat under it. We also have a covered garden swing at the southwest corner of the back garden and she wants flowers around that too. The flower beds are against the back fence with lawn between them and the patios/path.

My immediate thoughts are to make a herb spiral near the kitchen door and garden seat under the kitchen window. Next I would turn the lawn into her flower bed and try to hide a few food plants in there. The empty flower beds would then receive perennial food plants with a couple of dwarfed fruit trees. One of the Hardy Kiwis will go up that warm back wall and the other against our East fence that faces West. As to the front garden, I will try and get it all to perennials with flowers close to the drive, bedroom windows and front door.

I'll save the real planning until after I have done the design course which finishes May 31st. It is up near Aberdeen at http://pri-tap.com/

 
Nigel Wickenden
Posts: 6
Location: Spalding, Lincolnshire
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Michael Cox wrote:I suggest you add your location and climate details to your profile so it appear on the left when you post - it makes it much easier to spot each other!
What zone would I be in on the edge of The Wash?

Nigel.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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If you want to keep your wife happy with the flowers just make sure you plant guilds with flowers to attract the pollinators or that are mineral accumulators.

Is the course up at Tap o Noth? If so you'll be about 20 minutes away from me I'm still in the early stage of sorting stuff here as we have only been here 6 years but you'd be welcome to pop over and see what we have managed in rather challenging conditions.
 
Nigel Wickenden
Posts: 6
Location: Spalding, Lincolnshire
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:Is the course up at Tap o Noth?
Yes. May 19th to 31st. Quite a long trek from Spalding but the timing was convenient.

Nigel.
 
Charli Wilson
Posts: 269
Location: Derbyshire, UK
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*waves* I'm in the UK too, Derbyshire in the East Midlands.

Black mulberry is one of my favourite plants, not too much effort to keep them trimmed to a bush-shape and the chickens eat both the fruit and the leaves.

I also like sorrel- grows like a weed here, nice lemony salads! As a salad crop plantain is also good, looks after itself.

Not a perennial, but I find squash does very well here- I'm still drowning in pumpkins in January.

 
Nigel Wickenden
Posts: 6
Location: Spalding, Lincolnshire
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Charli Wilson wrote:*waves* I'm in the UK too, Derbyshire in the East Midlands.
I'll be in the White Peak area April 17th to 19th assessing two teams doing their expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Nigel.
 
Fiona Martin
Posts: 30
Location: UK, Newcastle Upon Tyne
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Black mulberry? I always thought they took years and years before they fruit, not sure if I'm confusing them with something else or if it's when they're grown from seed. Is the fruit tasty, or is it just for chickens?

I've just ordered some sorrel seeds, I used to have a clump at my last house, was very tasty!
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1592
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Mulberry is yummy - we have an ancient and neglected tree in the college grounds next to our place. We pick tubs of it through the summer. Great thing is it has ripe fruit for a couple of months so it is always worth a visit.
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Nigel Wickenden wrote:
Katy Whitby-last wrote:Is the course up at Tap o Noth?
Yes. May 19th to 31st. Quite a long trek from Spalding but the timing was convenient.

Nigel.


We will be about then so feel free to come over
 
Iain Bagnall
Posts: 16
Location: Hertfordshire & Devon, England
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Deano Martin is doing some amazing work in Lincolnshire. Have a look at his site here: http://sustainablesmallholding.org/
 
Claire Arrowsmith
Posts: 25
Location: Liberty, NY
bike forest garden fungi
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Hi all,

I do not live in the UK but will be visiting in March. Any tips for me to get hooked up with a project somewhere roughly during the 3rd week of March? Any wwoof hosts out there? Just trying to learn and help out...

Thanks!
Claire
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Where in the UK are you looking for? We can always do with a hand but we are in North East Scotland.
 
Claire Arrowsmith
Posts: 25
Location: Liberty, NY
bike forest garden fungi
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Hi Katy,

Ideally between the London-Norwich area; I fly into London and have about 5 days before I have to be in Norwich. But I'm not necessarily ruling out a train/bus ride to a worthy site...

Thanks
Claire
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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Claire if you go on a forum called The Accidental Smallholder and send a message to benkt they are in Cambridgeshire and might be able to help.
 
Claire Arrowsmith
Posts: 25
Location: Liberty, NY
bike forest garden fungi
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Awesome thank you I will look into that! I've heard back from a few places on the Permaculture Association LAND Centre directory--very useful source. I should have no problem finding a couple sites to pass my short time in England, so best of luck to all of you UK permies out there! Keep doing what you do
 
Ryan Sandford-Blackburn
Posts: 6
Location: Derbyshire, England
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Permaculture practitioners aren't particularly rare in the UK...

See www.permaculture.org.uk/land for over 100 centres of demonstration. Many will accept volunteers/WWOOFers etc.
The Permaculture Association has nearly 1400 members so lots of people like you.
There is also an Eastern Region Gathering in April - https://www.permaculture.org.uk/noticeboard/event/general-event/eastern-region-gathering-2015-04-10

Happy learning and exploring!
 
Paul Ryan
Posts: 57
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I'm rearing a Forest Garden in Hampshire, England

I wish there was a UK-centric permaculture/forestgarden forum. As far as I know, there isn't one active. Permaculture Association's website lists a few broken links and defunct websites but nothing active and lively like permies.com

Perhaps we could ask Paul Wheaton for a UK folder on this site? permies/forums/regional/UK

There are so many people in the UK doing this stuff, it seems like a forum would be a great idea ...
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9041
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
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bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
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We're pretty well at the limit of what the current software can support and are waiting for the new software to be implemented.

I'm not sure what the time-scale is though. I'll go and ask the software team if we can squeeze in one teeny weeny forum more in the meantime...
 
She still doesn't approve of my superhero lifestyle. Or this shameless plug:
2017 Permaculture Design Course and Appropriate Technology Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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