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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Seeds of freedom – a film about the importance of our seeds

A great 30 minute summary of seeds and food security.

Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of traditional, diversity-rich farming systems across the world, to being transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food system.

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Creating abundance with a forest garden

I came across this film on the Permaculture UK facebook group. Really well shot and very informative. It’s in Portuguese but has English subtitles. Hope you’ll enjoy it too.

Abundância/Abundance from Job Leijh on Vimeo.

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February 9th – Next Friends and Volunteers Days

Winter blessings to you all. We had some beautiful days in the snow, going on  long walks and enjoying the peaceful white landscapes stretching far into the horizon, tracking hare and deer trails and seeing delightful images, like the picture below.

On Saturday, 9th of February 10am to 4pm, we are having another friends and volunteer’s day at the Quadrangle Forest Garden.

ImageWe are going to plant some comfrey around the fruit trees, mark out an irrigation channel and do some other tree tending. There will be a nice wintery soup and bread for lunch, and lovely tea and biscuits for tea breaks. Please check the website of the Quadrangle for the address and for further details on how to get there by train.

If you are planning to attend, please send an email to monika.koncz@gmail.com.

Our next friends and volunteers days will be on the 10th of March (Sunday).

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First gathering of the Nature Culture Network England

The following weekend we had a big gathering. The Nature Culture Network (NCN) England – which Al and I are part of, met from Friday to Sunday at the Quadrangle. It consists of (outdoor) educators, forest school teachers, ‘permaculturists’, wilderness guides and people who simply enjoy spending time outside in Nature. The purpose of the gathering was to meet at the beginning of the year to connect to friends and family, spend time outdoors, tending the Forest Garden, reflect on the year past and make plans for the year ahead and enjoy ourselves with potluck and music.

We had over 30 people and children of various ages come together and spend all day Saturday making more compost heaps, planting two types of vine and 4 blackcurrants and clearing the edges of the forest garden from invading black thorn suckers. It is amazing to see how much work can get done in the course of the few hours that we had, when so many people come together and enjoy themselves sweating outside. We left the land with 7 compost heaps, a sucker free space for the nursery of ground cover plants next year and lots of bits of comfrey planted round the fruit trees to help bring up nutrients with their deep roots.

A great start to the year – thank you !

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First volunteering of the year

After a beautiful reunion with Alastair’s Trackways Year course group at the weekend, we arrived with 6 more helping hands at the Quadrangle, ready to start our week working again in the Forest Garden. After all the eating during Christmas and New year’s, it felt great to spend most of our days outside again working on the land with friends and little people.

The plan was to create compost heaps – one meter cube compost heaps, to be precise. The cube shape and it’s relative height allow the heaps get hot to quicker compost. The compost heaps were created next to piles of cut grass. In a few months time, we are going to plant squash on top of the heaps and the squash will enjoy the open area it’s in, soaking up all the sun and enjoying the nutritious bed its in.

On the pictures you can see how the compost heaps are layered with cut grass and compost in-between. Before piling the heaps, we perforated the ground with a fork and then laid a bunch of twigs and branches as the first layer. The perforation of the ground allows for better absorption of the nutrients and the branches underneath the heap support the overall air circulation.

Thank you Synnøve, Hannah and Kim-Robin!

 

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Volunteers Day in December is cancelled

Unfortunately we have to cancel the upcoming friends and volunteers day in December. The next friends and volunteers day will be on Saturday, 12th of January, 10am to 4pm.

If you would like to attend please send an email to alastair.mackenzie@gmail.com.

 

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Introduction to Permaculture

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Permaculture Taster Day
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Saturday, 9th March 2013
£30 or £20 (concessions for unemployed and senior citizens)

Permaculture Introduction Weekend
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27/28th April 2013
Residential rate: £120 or £100 (concession rate)
Non-residential rate: £100 or £80 (concession rate)

Both events are held at The Quadrangle

What is Permaculture?

By observing the natural world we can see a set of principles at work. Permaculture design uses these principles to develop integrated systems that provide for our needs of food, shelter, energy and community in ways that are healthy and efficient. We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.

Come and learn in a fun and practical way about the many ideas and examples that have been developing in the worldwide Permaculture movement!

Permaculture design is a way of working with nature to make a better world for all. This course will focus on positive and creative responses to climate change and sustainability. Permaculture design uses nature’s principles to develop systems in our homes, gardens and work that provide for our needs in ways that are healthy and efficient.

We can use permaculture design methods to improve the quality and productivity of our individual lives, our society and our environment.
From the introduction weekend you can expect sessions on:

• Ethics and principles

• Design skills applied to food growing

• Examples of permaculture the UK and beyond

• An observation exercise

• Video case studies

• A practical exercise

• An overview of the permaculture network and your local projects.

• Next steps for you to design where you live.

Course will be facilitated by Alastair MacKenzie who has been working with permaculture design for 8 years, in London, Mexico and Devon. Plus a tbc co-facilitator!

If you have any questions or want to book a place, please send an email to alastair.mackenzie@gmail.com.

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Next Friends and Volunteers Days

Wishing you sunny autumnal wishes as we are currently blessed with golden lights reflected in beautiful warm colours of red and yellow leaves that are being blown around in front of our window.

On Saturday, 24th of November 10am to 4pm, we are hosting a Friends and Volunteers day at the Quadrangle Forest Garden.

We are planning to do some tending and gardening together and enjoy the beauty of this riverside forest garden gem! We’ll be preparing the trees for winter, mulching some grass areas to prepare for spring planting and making some compost heaps.

There will be a nice wintery soup and bread for lunch, and lovely tea and biscuits for tea breaks. Please check the website of the Quadrangle for the
address and for further details on how to get there by train.

Future friends and volunteers days will be in the following dates*

13th of December (CANCELLED!)
12th of January
9th of February
10th of March

*dates might change, please keep an eye out for updates on our blog.

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Scything – carbon free and fun!

Alastair just came back from a Scything Workshop in West Hoathely, West Sussex buzzing with enthusiasm and excitement to scythe the high grass in the Forest Garden. Having watched him for a while, I enjoyed giving it a try too whilst having Fynn on my back.

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I interviewed Al why scything is a good thing to do in a forest garden and he responded the following…

Why scything makes sense?

  • low cost as it doesn’t require petrol
  • you can be more selective in what you cut, e.g. ripwort plantain is best to leave as it draws up nutrients for other plants
  • wildlife can get out of the way more easily
  • silent
  • enjoyable
  • healthy activity (you are practicing meditative movements and also you are not inhaling any toxic fumes)

On a more personal note, Al enjoys the body practice of the repetitive scything movements. He says it helps him relax and get into a meditative flow while strengthening the core of his body. Being a martial Art Cheng Hsin practitioner, he probably picked it  up more easily and likewise the movements help him to practice martial art principles. It is great to see the results at the end of a work (out) day.

Once the grass is cut it stays in one strand rather than being chopped into little bits by a strimmer, and is easier to handle. You can make compost heaps quite easily of it.

If you got interested in scything yourself, look out for a scything workshop at The Quadrangle Forest Garden next summer!

Below some magical beings who would not have been with us if we had used a strimmer instead of a scythe.

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