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Day 5 – Digging and Setting up Compost Bins

new permaculture allotment

Another 2 hours at the allotment and I was able to get some more digging work done and clearing some dried bramble heaps. Not only this however but we also dropped off 4 pallets of varying sizes found in skips around the neighbourhood.

Day Five

 

new permaculture allotmentA good square of land was carefully dug with the removal of roots, rubbish and pebbles as I went. It’s tough going to get through the solid ground but steady progress has been made none the less.

new permaculture allotmentI then managed to construct one and a half compost bins from the pallets by using the fencing as main support and tying the bins together at the corners with twine. I am going to need more pallets to complete this section of the plot to create front panels and build 3 compost bins in total.

Compost Bin One

General weeds and other unusables that time a long time and/or a lot of care to produce compost that could be used. Or as storage throughout the year until a bonfire can be made (allowed on our plot every november).

Compost Bin Two

Compost to be used on the plot in the next year when it is ready. This year’s compost will be added to this bin but not used. To be rotated with compost bin three.

Compost Bin Three

Compost to be used in the current year (not applicable for the first year of the plot). This compost will have been breaking down in the previous year. To be rotated with compost bin two.

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Day Four – A Quick Hours Work

day four permaculture

Sometimes when you are looking after an allotment or garden, you only get one or two hours here and there. With so much going on, it can be hard to find the time to go the plot, but even if you can only go down for 10 minutes do your best to do so because chipping away at it a little bit at a time will help you tremendously in the long run.

So today, Day four at the plot, I only had time for an hours work and here is what I did…

 

Day 4

 

First of all I got to work clearing the dried bramble cuttings from our last day of clearing and piling them up in the main weed pile at the front of the plot.

This only took a short while, so I got out the spade and started digging up the ground at the front of the plot. I thought I would start and what looked like the easiest section of the allotment but the ground had lots of clumps of wire, plastic, glass and rubble as well as the standard weeds.

day four permaculture

It wasn’t long before the sun’s heat was too strong for me and I was tired of pulling up debris so I had to call it a day after only doing a small corner, but I had to get back anyway so it wasn’t a loss.

It wasn't long before the sun's heat was too strong for me

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Day Three – BIG Permaculture Project Helpers Day

collecting pebbles

On my third day of working on the allotment I asked for helpers to come along to the plot to help out and drink some alcohol with a facebook event. We had a shaky start as one of our helpers had previously hurt his shoulder and was therefore mostly supervising but we didn’t mind.

Day 3

The first problem I encountered while on the plot was a lack of access to our tools storage box. The box was a gift from our wonderful friend Wayne, so it was brand new but the padlock we used was also new and desperately needed oiling. I waited for Alan and Killian to arrive with the oil but they were not due to land for an hour or so.

In the meantime, I began work on the vertical growing fence.

vertical growing fenceThis fence is constructed out of plastic 2L bottles and twine. I have started from the one end of my plot where the seating will be, so that the first area covered will provide some privacy. I am told that particularly in winter time the fence along the side of my plot is very see through as the plant life dies off. My plot is immediately next to the park, so it’s important to me to have some kind of barrier between us. I am thinking about planting lettuces in this plastic bottle wall next spring if not sooner as they don’t mind the shady bits under the trees.

The aim is to create a “Lettuce Hedge” across the plot which would take little to no space and produce more lettuce than we know what to do with. For now we are building it little by little with whatever 2L bottles we can get our hands on. I will produce a quick guide for building a vertical garden like this so stay tuned.

clearing the plot

We then got to work clearing the last third of the plot of brambles including the mound at the back. As it turns out, there is lots of rubbish and stones all over the plot we need to deal with before we break our tools trying to dig. In this picture you can see our good friend Dean working hard scraping up the loose brambles and plants into piles (or rows as he decided).

collecting pebblesWe then borrowed Alan’s wheelbarrow for the day and began collecting pebbles of all sizes and poured them into a pile at the end of the plot. We don’t want these pebbles in our way on the allotment – some of them are quite large! However, we can reuse these later underneath our polytunnel/aquaponics system. I’ll tell you more about this later though so stay tuned to find out what happens to these pebbles.

collecting rubbishAccording to the allotment council, the plot has been sneakily used as a dump site for trash, weeds and gone over crops for many years now and several allotmenteers have had to be told off about it. Hopefully now we are working on this plot they will stop but in the meantime that still means an awful lot of rubbish and dangerous items to be cleared off the plot! I got to work collecting buried plastic carrier bags, bottles, broken shards of glass, bricks, concrete, plastic and twisted metal to name just a few little surprises on the plot. There is still plenty more to be done however, so we will have to continue this another day!

A BIG thank you to everyone who turned up to offer a helping hand or donated materials or gifts to the project.

Big Permaculture Project Helpers Day

day two allotment

Down at my new allotment I am embarking upon a BIG Permaculture project that is mostly experimentation, learning and hard work! Today is a day where you can join in and help me get the plot sorted. Hopefully this will be the first of many days where people can tag along to help or just watch if you are feeling particularly sadistic 🙂

 

Sign up on Facebook if you wish to join us. Attendees will be rewarded with exercise, learning and beer!

The plot will need several days like this so don’t worry if you can’t join us on this day.

There are several jobs we need doing to get this allotment ready – none of them particularly glamorous but feel free to take your pick:

 

  1. Rock Collector – The plot is FULL of rocks. We actually want to reuse these in the pond aquaponics system but they are no good scattered around the plot. We need someone to go around with a bucket and collect them up.
  2. Litter seeker – The plot used to be a rubbish dumping ground for the careless. That means there are bits of plastic and rubbish that need removing and binning to make the plot safe.
  3. Wheelbarrow Duty – As the plot builds up piles of tough brambles and other weeds, we need someone helpful to cart it all off to the tipping area as required.
  4. Diggers – We will probably need as many of these as possible. We need to dig over the entire plot and remove roots where possible. In the future we will also be after people to help dig out the polytunnel aquaponics system (designs to come) but this will be another day event later on.

NOTE TO ATTENDEES

This is a personal/private project with an invitation extended to friends, and friends of friends. While everyone is welcome, people attending any of these events do so at their own risk, and must take responsibility for themselves and their own safety and attend the event as friends (or new friends) helping out.

 

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Day Two: Chicken Experimentation

I say it’s day two, but actually it’s day 2.5 as I did manage to get to the plot yesterday and do a rough half hours work getting some extra clearing done but hopefully you won’t mind me bundling it into Day Two.

Day Two

Today  I concentrated mainly on more clearing armed with my trusty hedge trimmers and fork. I managed to get up to the next tree stump cleared which means I have about 1/3 to 1/4 of the plot left to do. Yay! The main thing not to think about however, is that after I have finally finished clearing I will need to do some serious digging!

day two allotment

While I was doing the clearing however I had a couple of extra helpers on my plot today. Killian (5 years old) helped me with some light digging work and keeping an eye on my other helper: Chickeny the chicken. We brought her along to the allotment today for a bit of enrichment and to see if she can get any of the soil loose. The soil right now as it stands is quite rock solid! Chickeny did more egg laying than anything else but I aim to bring her back and see if we can get something more done. I’m going to need to dig it up several times so every little helps.

day two allotmentIf you are thinking about getting chickens on to your plot there are just a few simple things to remember:

  • Keep the chicken/s supervised. Cats and other animals are usually lurking around and the chicken may even dig very deep and escape.
  • You can use a netted cloche like the one in the picture to keep the chicken in a controlled location. Our chicken doesn’t really “escape” but the netted cloche stops her wandering into someone else’s plot by mistake. You can learn about how to make these in our blog post: making divan’s into cloches.
  • Ensure they have water available – bring along a spare drinker.
  • Ensure they have shade available (I used my old hoodie draped over the cloche to provide a shaded corner).
  • Make sure they are placed away from any plants you want to keep. The tastiest plants for us are the tastiest plants for chickens!