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.
It’s only November and I already have almost all of my seeds for next year. Some of that is down to seed saving, something that I should have done more of in the past, but the rest is down to thinking ahead. It all sounds a bit organised, but some of the seeds came too late to sow this autumn, and will have to wait until spring. The seeds that I have are very different from what I’ve grown in the past, and really show the direction that my food growing is taking, growing in a polyculture. This is the pattern for my experiments next year. New additions include rye, perennial rye, spelt, perennial wheat, soya beans, and millet. Increases include lots more broad (fava) beans, but with a substantial reduction in the salads, and leaves. This all fits in with my desire to grow all of our own food. We eat a lot of grains, so unless I grow grains, I will never produce all that we eat.
This post has been a little while in the making, and is a result of a telephone conversation with a friend of mine. She had been worried that despite working long hours, she never seemed to get everything done, or even achieve very much. Initially I was going to list all of the things that I didn’t get done this year, but the list was so long that I would never have finished the post. Instead, I’m going to go through some of the stuff that I did around the smallholding today, and then the stuff that didn’t get done.
Today was wet and blustery, and I couldn’t force myself out to do some serious work, so I sat and shelled Broad beans instead. it took about four hours, and I ended up with three piles. One for storage, one with insect damage for eating now, and then the really trashy ones, which will be fed to the ducks. The picture below gives you an idea of how much I got from a patch of about 8ft x 4ft.
Here they are spread out on the windowsill, to finish drying.
The repetitive work gives me time to think, and as I was working with beans, and this years beans arrived in the post, I was thinking about their place in my polyculture experiment. It occurred to me that my choice of bean was made using the same process that I would undergo when I am consciously using Permaculture Principles, but without me actually thinking about it. Permaculture thinking.
This was supposed to be an Update with pictures, but there seems to be a problem with uploading the images. No idea why, but it’s not temporary. Back to the Polyculture stuff.
The corn is not performing as well as I’d hoped. I’m not sure why that is, but they may be getting too much shade from some adjacent sunflowers, or the crimson and persian clover ground cover may be too competitive. The performance is not uniform, so may be down to seed quality. I’ll try another variety next year. The Crimson clover, Persian clover, and Bladder senna, are all flowering. The Bladder senna has some plants with a pure yellow flower, and some with a really nice bronze/orange tint. The pictures are lovely, but only I can see them….