More permaculture beds

I just realised that earlier this month I wrote ‘raised beds’, then ‘permaculture beds’. If you aren’t confused – and I apologise – then it’s down to the fact I am creating beds in more than one garden this month.

The only thing uniting them is the ‘P’ word.

The London allotment is getting the ‘make better gardens’ treatment too. And all because the weekend tree pruning workshop in December was a huge success.

I blithely mentioned that if anyone had any tree prunings, I’d happily add them to my next permaculture bed.

Cue a bit of a shock this month when I came back to find a forest of prunings all over the plot. That will teach me for being over-enthusiastic. And it’s not as if I’m a tree expert. But I wanted to show lots of the plotholders that having trees that are way over the eight foot height limit and positively cluttered with crossing branches isn’t a big deal.

A keen attitude, a good sharp pair of loppers and secateurs and someone to hold the ladder and you are good to go.

My loppers were hard at work reducing the long apple branches to tasty morsels of future rot.

And with help from David in cutting down the ENORMOUS potatoes vine and climbing rose at the back of my plot…

I had more than enough material to start building.

First up, the soil digging. Note tidy for once – a tarp in situ before I shoveled the gorgeous claggy goo.

Then in with the logs, the brambles, the apple branches, the vines, the works. I didn’t line them up neatly. My friend Lisa would have done a better job. But it was freezing and I was working fast before my duties as path volunteer kicked in at 9am.

I ought to have slaved over this job. It is a joy to create, especially as you know you aren’t going to touch the bed again. I did toy with putting down similar geotextile – but that was in the other garden, in another country. So down it went. Naked. There are bound to be beasties pushing up.

And I ran out of time before I could seal the magic package. So this is the current state of my little London garden.

It feels the same way – exposed as it is – when you have hired a giant skip next to a building project and left it uncovered, on the street. And everyone will amble past and lob in their rubbish.

I have to pray my allotment mates are kind souls and won’t lob any bindweed roots in here. And I doubt they will. But it’s anxious times in the allotment until I can get this soil replaced. And then mulched.

Have you spotted the mound of mulch currently in the middle of the plot? Quite orange and fresh. I got very, very lucky on my first morning back. On my power walk I spotted a group of tree surgeons reducing the height of some monster beech trees near the house.

A quick manic friendly chat; an unseemly rush back to the house to return with all my dozen Ikea bags and then the car.

Plus this wonderful retort from the long-suffering tree surgeon when I asked, a bit too keenly, as his lads finished loading the car with sacks and sacks of their chippings.

‘Ooh, where are you working tomorrow? I’m always keen for more.’

Long theatrical pause: ‘Wherever it is, I certainly won’t be telling you.’

Well, yes. You can’t say fairer than that.