If you have read my recent posts, you could be forgiven for thinking that all I’m doing at the moment is catching swarms. I did think that if ever I wrote an autobiography, this chapter would be entitled ‘Summers in a bee suit’, but I’m trying hard to keep up with all of the other chores that need doing. With no swarms for two days, and after a concerted effort to get ahead of the bees in terms of hive and frame assembly, I have actually managed to spend some time repotting, potting on, planting out, and thinking about the future.
It’s that time of year again, where everything needs doing now, and I find out all of the things that I didn’t get done over the Winter. Having not posted for about three weeks, there is also a log jam of things to write about, but rather than try and catch up with everthing in one post, I’ll explain why I’ve not been keeping up with the blog bits here, and then try and put the other stuff into shorter posts, by category.
Just three weeks ago, it seemed like there was plenty of time before things became busy in the garden, but this week I realised that not only did I need to get some more seeds sown, but also that the busy time was just around the corner. So I’ve been sowing more seeds, soaking some seeds, and germinating them on kitchen towel, and dividing perennial plants, and moving them. Hopefully this post will give you some ideas of what you could be planting now, and if you can think of something that I’ve forgotten, please comment, and let me know.
At the end of last week I took another trip down to the nursery of Paul Whittaker, author of the book, HARDY BAMBOO, Taming the Dragon. I had reserved four new species to grow here, last year, but hadn’t been able to make the trip earlier.
The original list was Phyllostachys nuda, Phyllstachys propinqua, Phyllostachys rubromarginata, and Chusquea culeou. I added Fargesia rufa, and a Phyllostachys vivax cultivar.
The three original Phyllostachys varieties were selected primarily for their edible shoots, but all have good culm wood, and can be used for building small structures. I had ordered the Chusquea primarily for it’s attractiveness, but I then checked, and found out that it has good edible shoots too, which makes it a better permaculture plant.
The P.vivax cultivar that I added was just a pretty colour. All of the P. vivax cultivars are strong growers, with tasty shoots, and large culms. I already have two varieties.
The Fargesia was bought to use as poultry shelter. It will grow to about 12ft maximum, clump tightly, but leans outwards slightly, giving shade in Summer, and shelter in Winter.
For those of you who like facts, I’ve collated some information for you. Please note that these figures are based on performance in the UK, and growth will be greater with more warmth. Paul’s website is called Hardy Bamboo.
My Blog title, The Sustainable Smallholding, is an aspiration, as opposed to a description of where we are at the moment. The reasons for that are many, and complex, but one of the key ones is the sheer amount of knowledge that you need to acquire, and solutions that you have to find, to achieve sustainability, self reliance, or self sufficiency. It seems that each time that you peel back a layer of a problem, another sits nestled within. In this post I will explore some of the areas that I have identified as important in my search for sustainability.