Perennial kale

Perennial kale planted with mint, marjoram and lovage has done well. But later in the summer it seems that the butterflies got wise and the kale was stripped by caterpillars.


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The parakeets are becoming very numerous and a nuisance.They squabbled with the green woodpeckers over nesting holes and last summer we think they took plums and apples when no-one was around.  Aasta and Lachlann have built a scare-parakeet.


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Shoreham Midsummer Festival

Fiona MacDonald and John Holland designed and built this superior Bug Hotel for the Forest Garden. It nestles invitingly next to the Airstream caravan.



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Late hard frost

Late hard frosts in April and May have not been good for the plums and currants.
But the blossom on this pear, Josephine de Malines, seems unaffected by the frost on this cold April morning.
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Soil Food Web analysis

We thought it could be of great interest if we were able to monitor the changes and hopefully the improvements in the soil food web of the Forest Garden as it matures. In this photo the fruit growing and orchard management consultant David Pennell is helping us by collecting soil samples which he’ll have analysed.

David Pennell

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Family permablitz day

A terrific day! We planted 1 apple (Worcester Pearmain), 1 damson (a sucker from the Biddesden damson), many cuttings: 8 autumn raspberries, 8 blackcurrants, 4 red currants, 2 gooseberries, and 8 comfrey roots.
We also pruned raspberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries, sprinkled Root Grow in the planting holes and spread lots of mulch.
Pascoe and Fox looking at the new raspberries
Mia, Alvar, Afonso, Fox and Glyn mulching the autumn raspberries
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Apple harvest

We took David Pennell’s advice and removed a large proportion of the small apples over the summer so that more energy could be directed towards growth rather than fruit production.

The trees that fruited best were: Red Devil, Pixie and Charles Ross

A beautiful Charles Ross apple


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Harvest 2015

A terrific year for gooseberries and currants – black, red and white.
Our first Mirabelle plums.

Most of our gages were taken by parakeets (we think) just as they ripened.

Dot and Christina picking currants

Nell and Duncan’s wedding cake decorated with our white currants

Orchid -Forest Garden
And a good year for pyramid orchids. At least 8 appeared among the long grass.

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We still haven’t got a water supply for the pond and luckily the late summer rain came just in time before we had to top it up with tap water.

The pond vegetation is doing well: water crowfoot, broad-leaved pond weed, water forget-me-not, purple loosestrife, willow herb, water buttercup and flags.

No sign of our newts.

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June 2015

David Pennell, who advised us on our original selection of fruit trees, came to see how our trees were doing.
He found that the less robust apple trees were suffering from aphid damage and would benefit from a dressing of organic chicken manure pellets. He said bug hotels would be a good idea.

At this stage with young trees we should be fairly ruthless in taking off a lot of small apples. Most of their energy should be going into growth not fruit production.

He is also going to advise us on taking soil samples so that we can monitor soil improvements as the forest garden matures.


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