In my Sustainable Grains design I referred to the fact that I was waiting for books to arrive to allow me to continue my research into Small Scale Grain Growing. I am gradually working my way through an abundance of information, but there is plenty to be encouraged about. This includes observations of the continuous production of wheat in the same fields, with interplanted legumes, and measurements of grain yields with legume interplants as part of a formal experiment. Both of these were recorded by Sir Albert Howard in India.
I’m using a wet day to take the time to commit to writing my thoughts on soil fertility and soil building.
I’ve not made a secret of my belief that the ‘digging is bad for the soil’ argument is too simplistic. I liken it to the way that you warn a child about fire by repeatedly saying ‘HOT’. Eventually your child will need to know how to make and use fire for themselves. In gardening terms the argument that digging is harmful is fine as a general warning, and for people who are happy not to delve deeper into soil and its’ workings, but once you have a decent knowledge of the subject it is possible to be more specific.
Well today was a busy day, with the first harvest of grain from my Bonfils Polyculture. It wasn’t all great news, but this is the first example of small scale grain growing, and grain harvested using the Bonfils method, and a good start to my polyculture experiments.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m currently putting together my portfolio for the Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design. You will also notice that I have been posting less. That’s not because I haven’t got stuff to write about, but more a result of the volume of work that I’ve been putting in for the diploma.
I thought that I’d give you a quick summary of the designs that I’ve written up. There are nine so far, with one more still to write.
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.