Observe and Interact is one of the Permaculture Principles promoted by David Holmgrem. One interpretation of this principle is that we observe what we see around us, and then use that information to help us to create or modify systems in our designs. However this only touches the surface of what Observe and Interact can help us to do. I try and use this principle with everything that I do Including my reading and research. This post is about the conventional use of the Observe and Interact principle, and will be followed by Observe and Interact -Part Two, which will focus on reading and research.
Last year I published a post about My Earliest Flowering Willow, and was surprised to see that the willow that flowered earliest for my was a hybrid called ‘Lapin’. I was up in the Forest Garden again today, ‘weeping’ at the damage done to my willows by rabbits, and noticed that again, the earliest flowering willow variety was ‘Lapin’. This was one of the three varieties that I had obtained from the National Willow Collection, at Rothamsted Research.
The weather has affected me in a similar way to many growers around the country, but has not ‘wrecked’ the polyculture experiment completely. Autumn sown onions are ready to lift, along with garlic planted at the same time. I felt that it was a little early, but a check back through old blog posts suggests that this is a similar time to last year. Some of the sunflowers in the polyculture have been wrecked by slugs, but most are OK. Pictures below. The worst damage has been to the grain, much of which has been blown over. Again, pictures below.
Alright, alright, it’s been a while since my last post, but it’s hectic. I thought that I would post a few pictures of my polyculture experiment, to show you how things are progressing, which on the whole, is well.
As you can see from the picture below, the Bonfils grain growing has been awesome.
Rye and Spelt
As you look at the picture, the spelt is on your left, and the rye is on your right. The rye is already flowering, and continuing to grow. In this picture the rye is already above my head, and the spelt has put on another 6 inches of growth in the last week, since this picture was taken.
Two years ago I was sent some willow cuttings from the research centre at Rothampstead, who keep the National willow collection. The cuttings were for me to use to see which were the earliest flowering willows. My interest is early bee forage. I have a lot of violet willow (Salix daphnoides), which is my earliest flowering willow and every year I’m relieved when I see my bees foraging on it, as I know that their lean period is over. From then on, there is a steady flow of nectar until early Summer, and only the weather.