Friday, July 28, 2006

Welcome to any new visitors to our permaculture blog. We’ve placed an ad in the latest issue of Permaculture Magazine with the aim of inviting more people to read our blog and offer advice, encouragement and inspiration. So why the blog? Stuart’s done a Permaculture Design Course with Patrick Whitefield and we’ve got a collection of books and a minimum of experience growing some vegetables; other than that, we’re beginner’s in all of this. We hope that other beginners may be reassured by our stumbling progress and inspired to give it a go, rather than be put off by the perfection of the experts. (See Liam’s comment on the 28th June blog, and my posting of 13th July in reply).

We could also do with any help you have to give. Turning theory into practice isn’t always easy, and instructions have an annoying habit of often missing a vital detail. An example is our first attempt at growing potatoes using a “grow through mulch”. See pp194-196 of Patrick’s The Earth Care Manual: A Permaculture Handbook for Britain and other Temperate Climates for an explanation. Basically, we’ve covered the ground with sheets of cardboard, then a layer of compost, placed the seed potatoes on top and covered the whole lot in straw. And the book says: “Extra mulch is sometimes needed later on, when dug potatoes would need earthing up.” (p.196) Why sometimes and not others? What should we look for? Having never grown potatoes before, we don’t even know when “dug potatoes would need earthing up” by way of comparison. After just a few weeks, Gabrielle was ferreting around in the straw for evidence that something was growing (neither of us have much patience, unfortunately) and got all excited to find our first tuber, only to discover that it was, in fact, the seed potato!

Joy Larkom’s Grow Your Own Vegetables and advice from our neighbours who are growing potatoes the traditional way has answered this particular problem but, as you can see, we really are beginners and would welcome hearing your comments. Posting a comment is easy:
1. click on the green “x comments” at the end of the relevant post
2. type in your comment
3. below your comment, where it says “choose an identity” click “other” and in “name” write your name or alias
4. click “publish your post”
We get to check them first, so there will be a delay before your comments appear.

We look forward to hearing from you.