June Permablitz – Forest garden and soil fertility

Back in June, The Quadrangle Trust teamed up with Natural Flow for our first permablitz. It was a great success with 16 people joining us for the fun.

Enjoyed hands on making compost and hands on digging up microbes, stocking and feeding microbes to tree. Very valuable experiences which I’ll remember for years! – student quote

Enjoying a plate of lunch

Enjoying a plate of lunch

The focus of the day were some of the all important themes of forest gardening, understanding soil and building fertility. People witnessed the ever evolving forest garden, we shared a delicious lunch time spread and rounded off the day with a summer evening dip in the river.

As the designer in residence in the forest garden, Natural Flow will continue to bring more permaculture design thinking to this wonderful ex-working dairy farm only an hour from London while organising future events.

 

What is a Permablitz?

Permablitz is a coming together of people with a focused intention to get something done using the art and design science that is permaculture. “Blitz” means lightning strike, so yes, we like to make these events:

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  • focused and intensive
  • learn about permaculture through skill sharing and mini workshops
  • a group sharing of ideas, food and FUN

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Find out more about the growing movement in London here.

Actions of the Day

Outline of the day's event

Outline of the day’s event

To create an inclusive atmosphere in our workshops we collaborated with our team on the day to co-create the event and intersperse work with learning and some relaxation time too to allow people to get to know each other.– student quote

“Creating the structure of the day at the beginning was great. Moving between activities and ‘learning on the job’ rather than being ‘taught’. Seeing it in all in action, in real life! Oh, and of course the beautiful sunshine helped too.” – student quote

Encouraging observation

Encouraging observation

 

 

 

I encourage people getting stuck in and using their own senses to make observations. Here, one of our French contingent made the observation that “the aroma is exactly like the last pressing of the grape harvest when wine making!” Thus using the sense of smell is an indicator that this congealed mass has a healthy population of friendly microbes present.

Turning compost

Turning compost

 

 

 

 

 

Turning compost can be back breaking however many hands make light work and it was a great opportunity to learn about the composition of good compost and make observations about what we can see in the pile.

I enjoyed the ‘re-enlivening’ of the compost heap! It was interesting to learn a bit about the microbes. Overall, the day felt relaxed. – student quote

 

 
Competing with grass and developing a fungally dominated soil is an on going process. Here we are feeding our tree with microbes we bred ourselves, clovers to fix nitrogen and cardboard to arrest the growth of the grass.

group effort

group effort

 

It was a relaxed and easy going atmosphere. Kevin welcomed questions and participation from all of us. I learnt new techniques that I will hope to use for my own garden.– student quote

Finally, after a solid day of getting stuff done, sharing and enjoying good company, we ended the day enjoying the good vibes of The Quadrangle before packing up.

 

TIme for some relaxation

Time for some relaxation

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Kevin Mascarenhas from Natural Flow

We are delighted that Kevin Mascarenhas from Natural Flow has agreed to join us as a forest garden designer and teacher in residence. He will be giving us professional advice and practical help with the ongoing design, implementation and management and help us create
– A sustainable and productive orchard
– A haven for wildlife
– An outdoor classroom and resource for the teaching of permaculture.

We’ve been working with Kevin in 2014. Photo above from our forest garden permablitz in June.

We are looking forward to developing this exciting new partnership.

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