Productive Polyculture Experiment

Sometimes it’s funny how things turn out. I have not been a fan of the ‘garden polyculture’ strand within permaculture. I think that it’s ok on a small scale, or where there is a lot of free labour available for harvesting, but it has never struck me as a way to grow significant quantities of calories. Strangely I seem to be coming back to the idea. It all started with confirmation of the yield increase from a grain legume combination. Not really a true polyculture, more of an intercrop, but the basis of my small scale grain growing experiments. Things have moved on a bit since then. Please note that I’m not going to be giving details of all of the plants that I am using in my experiment, or references for the information that has got me to this point. I want to be sure that it works, before publishing the results. There will however be plenty of links to help you think about your own polycultures, or cover crop cocktails.

 

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Wolds Woodland Farming Project Open Day

The Wolds Woodland Farming project is the ‘official’ or business name of The Sustainable Smallholding, and the name that is used for the Permaculture Association LAND Project. The association asked for as many Land Projects as possible to open for International Permaculture Day, which is Sunday 4th May. So the Wolds Woodland Farming Project will be having an open day, completely FREE of charge.

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Rockdust, Glacial Milk, and Plant Nutrition

I’ve been using rockdust as part of my soil balancing strategy, as well as an ingredient in my potting mixes. In addition I’ve been mixing rockdust into my poutry food, adding it to my wormeries, and compost heaps, but over the last couple of weeks I’ve been using the rockdust in a liquid suspension, to water my plants, and as a foliar spray.

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Building A DIY Warming Cabinet.

I’ve felt the need for a warming cabinet a few times in the last year or so. A late batch of cider failed to get started in the cold weather, and a warming cabinet, or warming pad, would have stopped the cider from ‘hanging’ and eventually being spoilt. Last Autumn I wanted to experiment with making biofertilisers, but many of them need some warmth to ferment properly. Again, a warming cabinet would have allowed me to experiment with the biofertilser. Finally, I have just bought some mushroom spawn, to grow edible mushrooms. They too need some warmth, so I finally got a grip of myself, and made one.

A quick disclaimer here. I didn’t bother looking to see how other people have made their own warming cabinets, I just knocked this one up. Please don’t copy this unless you can’t find anything better.

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Overwintering Green Manure

I have used a number of Green Manure strategies this Winter as part of my soil fertility building program. In fact I think that I have shifted from growing food to growing soil as my primary activity. Using a Green Manure provides a number of benefits for me, which I’ll describe below. Please note that this is an explanation of some of the things that I have done this Winter, and not an attempt to teach people how a green manure should be used.

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