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Stevie Sun

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since Apr 28, 2013
I own a little house in some suburbs and I wish to develop a garden that is beautiful and useful.

I want to use my garden to its full potential and then develop out from there. Maybe that will mean an allotment, or maybe that will mean a move?

I want to help my best friend (who's also my housemate) manage his woodland in such a way that it's easier for him to manage, helpful for the wildlife in our area and maybe also produces some food for us.

And I hope to learn ways to do these things as well as learn about stuff that makes me think.
Devon, UK
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Recent posts by Stevie Sun

My best friend has a patch of woodland just over 10 acres. He has his workshop there, and doesn't really have enough time to manage it due to most of his time being taken up with the business of making and selling his craft. He has offered myself and another friend use of space within the woods to create a forest garden. It's a lovely space, it's free, and offers a win-win.

I've tried to find the answer by using places like gov.uk but can't find a clear enough answer. As we are dealing with young woodland and will be looking to swap out some of the hazel, birch, ash, brambles and ivy with a greater variety of usable species and then sell produce from the forest garden - will that be change of land use? Will we have to seek change of use with the local authority?

I would just phone the LA planning department and ask them, but I'm worried that despite being in Devon they'll not know what I'm talking about and misunderstand.
8 months ago
The Bec Hellouin model includes a forest garden, and was started on less than ideal land, and would probably hold up very well productivity wise. I don't have my copy to hand at the moment but the research being conducted on the farm suggests a high level of productivity, using permaculture design and techniques along with Parisian market gardening techniques. Exclusively producing food in a forest garden probably isn't the most productive method for producing food but it brings many other benefits, and I doubt anyone says we should exclusively use forest gardens in temperate regions anyway.
Growing in urban spaces I think it's also important to consider things like the ability of the plants we grow to absorb carbon from the air and clean pollutants out of air too. Heck even here in rural devon they were talking on the radio the other day about high levels of pollution in our towns (because everyone has to drive everywhere because our public transport is rubbish and few people get to live near where they live). But I think that's coming back to the fact that a forest garden isn't just about providing food. It's providing food, fuel, basketry materials, medicines, breathing space, pollution reduction, carbon reduction, immune system support, and probably a bunch of other things I haven't thought about depending on how you design your space. I'm just now thinking about how you could stick a glamping pod or similar into a forest garden and suddenly you have a yield you couldn't get from a potato field.
1 year ago
Ive just had a quick look to try and gauge how your rainfall compares to my experience here in the SW of England.

You probably have more days of rain and more rain than I do. And it's pretty soggy here. Sometimes even when it doesn't rain it's still damp.

Have you considered air flow and general dampness within the house? If there's not much air flow and a fair amount of damp in the air - things will take a long time to dry.
I can't dry things on a clothes horse in my bedroom because I keep the room too cool and there's poor air flow. I use the bathroom because handles the extra moisture much better.
1 year ago
Or to write my question out properly:
Having layered wood plus compostable stuff, how much depth of soil do I need to have?

I moved the wood and compostable stuff into place in october, then had major surgery, and am now starting to cover the beet with soil. The top soil I removed in the first place is nice and naturally fine but with some stones. I want to get it planted and covered with mulch before the couch grass sets in (it's surrounded by the stuff sadly).
3 years ago
Meal plan.
Meal plan to use what you have rather than because a recipe looks good.
Make broth. Make soup.
Eat lots of veggies and not so much fruit (veggies cost less).

I am lucky enough that I have not one but two butcher shops in my local town. One of the will give bones out for soup making for free. I can use the free bones to make broth which makes the meat i do buy go further plus add nutrients not available in the meat alone.

Keeping my cooking simple also saves me money. Herbs and spices can be cheap (especially if I grow the herbs or harvest the rosemary near the office) but add taste and nutrition. I buy little vinegar because it's not cheap to buy the stuff that doesnt have a scary ingredient list and i havent gotten round to learning how to my own.

Plan your meals to take advantage of what you have in store and what's on offer in your area. Dont go chasong round shops for bargains because it often leads to buying what you dont need. I dont know about other countries but here in the UK the main supermarkets tend to list their offers online, if not their full range. This means i can compare prices without stepping food into the store. Once youre in the store they will do everything they can to get you to buy stuff, even if you only popped in for a few items. Meal planning gets away from that. I know what i need and when there's little money in the kitty i stick to my shopping list. When there's more money or a very good offer on i will stock up. I try to buy enough luxury items on offer like coffee i dont ever have to buy at full price.

Anyway, I'll stop waffling now.
3 years ago
Yeah, working with disabled people as I do in my day job I presume people tell the truth or undef describe their needs. If I thought otherwise it would, well I couldnt do my job. Also having experienced temporary mobility issues (am now for example) I know it's stupid to ask of proof of disability (although in the uk we have the blue badge scheme currently it can take a year of limited mobility before a person qualifies).

I think it's a very good idea to describe adjustment options and state openness and willing to accommodate other needs. As I'm involved with a garden which is collectively worked by the community im going to raise with the community doing something along those lines.
3 years ago
I agree on "nothing about us without us".
Im not autistic but do have specific learning difficulties (which people tend to overlook because in their mind you cant be smart and have learning difficulties). I have also been disabled through poor mental health but I am much recovered now the causes have been addressed. We can never assume the person we're communicating with isnt disabled in some way, but I get your point about carers and friends. Sometimes they're needed as advocates and sometimes not.

One "problem" when designing access that I know about and also read from a couple of comments above mine is that different disabilities and different people need different types of access and the only way to know is to ask. Are we on the same page/understanding things similarly?
3 years ago
Years ago my housemate did his masters dissertation about different fuels available to pre industrial blacksmiths. He used pony poo as part of his experiments. It didnt really work as a blacksmith's fuel but cant remember why. Im not at home at the moment but I will try and remember to ask him.

I suspect it would work well enough in a domestic setting with some experimentation and tweaking of set up though.
3 years ago
Im older than you both (about to turn 31) but if you're looking for a small group of people - I'd be interested. I've been thinking about dping some wwoofing to gain skills and experience but as it's just me I've been a bit put off as I like working as part if a group.
I know what about wilma went toilet paper free. She used water. I couldnt get on with it very well myself.

Another alternative is reusable cloths. However im not terrible happy with the hygiene level there for myself.
3 years ago