Creating a permaculture bed


Yep. I’ve buried a horse.

Or a very very large boa constrictor.

Fear not animal lovers; it’s my new permaculture bed. In the shaded area under the plum trees near the lavender bed.

I realized that over this drought-stricken summer I just can’t have areas of the garden that require the hose.

And with Lisa’s enthusiastic visit last month (she drew me a chart of her permaculture bed’s contents) I decided to give it a go.

And I must confess that I added it on to Nicolas’ day. He built the fence much faster than I calculated. And he likes to earn a full day’s worth of work.

So the bed needed digging out. Or as we call it here – harvesting rocks.

A depth of 20cm (just under a foot) dug out and the soil placed on my hastily assembled tarps.

Next up the log layer. The rotting log layer.  That wasn’t a problem. We have plenty lying about behind the stables.

I am forever chucking branches that are too thick for my chipper and too flimsy to warrant cutting up for firewood.

The whole bed slopes (of course) so we actually put in the very slow to rot chestnut stakes down the far end so that when things settle somewhat it might even look almost level.

And then it was the scrabble about to collect leaves, mulching grass cuttings (desiccated after the no rain summer) and compost to place over the top of the logs to a rather high tower.

Not to worry. Over then with the compost that Nicolas dug out (I can’t claim any kudos for this I’m ashamed to say) and shaped like a snake.

The whole teetering mound will settle over the winter as the leaves and mulch layer rots down. And of course I will need to add a layer of straw next spring so that the weeds don’t leap into life.

It is not a quick fix. I don’t think I can do much planting straight away. There is going to be a bit of nitrogen lacking as the soil interacts with the logs and compost layer underneath. But I will monitor it and see. I might try some sample plants just to see how the soil is doing.

Feels good.

And here is a bit of colour in among the brown.

Very very late season flowers. I found them hidden behind the jostaberries in the soft fruit orchard when I was hunting mulch.

These are the last traces of the plants from the wildflower mix I sowed in the area behind the shrubs.

I’ll need to keep a better eye on them and save the seeds.