Sustainable Smallholding Pictures and Update

Hi everyone

A few of my recent posts have not had pictures. It’s difficult to take them when your hands are covered in soil/compost/muck, so today I did a quick walk around, before work, and again afterwards, to help keep you up to date with what our place looks like, and what we’ve been up to.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had been reorganising the vegetable beds.

vegetable growing area1

In this picture the beds are orientated two ways. The two dark beds closest to the camera run North to South (right to left). Whereas the beds in the centre of the area, and those along the Northern (right) edge, run East to West.  Although not clear from this picture, at the far side of the area, the beds also run North to South. The aim is to have the raised beds around the outside of the growing space, provide some shelter for the central area.

Originally all of the beds were laid out East to West, giving thirty raised beds of about 12ft by 5ft. I’m changing this to give some longer beds running North to South, and an area in the centre that is lower. This is so that I can take two areas out of production. I grew much of the bulky food in the redundant areas, so need to make growing potatoes, sweetcorn, and climbing beans, easier. On raised beds, some of the crops are too tall to harvest easily, and they can be a bit dry for potatoes, and squash.

vegetable area2

This area is going to become a chicken forage area, which I hope to construct this Summer, once all of the planting out has been done. It grew most of my bulk food. The greenhouses will be moved at the end of the growing season.

Soft Fruit Area

The fenced area in the centre of the picture¬† was used to grow soft fruit, and Asparagus, but I ended up with too large an area to look after, and with all of the other things that need to be done, I never had enough time to keep it weeded. I hope to incorporate soft fruit into the chicken forage area, and around the periphery of the vegetable growing area. What was silly was that I was producing all of this food, which was taking up all of my time, and yet I was giving most of it away. With only two people to feed, reducing the area under cultivation was the only sensible option. If I find that I need some more space, it’s not difficult to start again.

Today I spent most of the day putting the finishing touches to my tree planting. This consisted mainly of putting leaf mould around the bases of some of the trees, and spreading all of the woody materials that I had spare along the tree rows.

Individual Tree Mulched

This is the leaf mould around the base of a tree, with some wood shavings, and a recycled Leylandii tree as mulch.

Tree Rows

This shows some more rows mulched. As you can see, the mulch is not thick enough to suppress grass, but it should help to feed fungi, which in turn should help to feed the tree. This mulch will be continually topped up with shavings from the chicken hutches, and the dog kennel.

I took some pictures of some tree seed, and Sweetcorn, soaking, but ti’s getting late, so I’ll post them later this week.

Take Care

Deano

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