Thursday, 2 June 2016

#30dayswild days 1 & 2 and my future plans for the month

On day 1 of the #30dayswild challenge run by the Wildlife Trusts I decided to take my new knowledge from my time at the Bushcraft Show 2016 and decided to try making some nettle cord.

I harvested my longest nettles from the bottom of my garden; stripped the leaves and left the stems to dry out in the sun. I will be coming back to this task some time later in the month.

I saved the newer leaves to dry out and use for tea and the older leaves I used as a mulch round the bottom of my fruit trees.

All in all a productive 1st day of the #30dayswild challenge. And even if the cord doesn't work I have some lovely leaves drying for tea and I love nettle tea!!

If you want more information about making nettles string read my blog post here (the string section starts at 16.00) or there are loads of videos on YouTube like this one by Ray Mears.

Today I was considering what I wanted to do as part of the #30dayswild that would also have benefits beyond the challenge. I decided I wanted to get to know my rather overgrown garden a bit better. I want to document the plants in my garden as well as getting to know more of the wildlife - birds, insects, etc.. I am not particularly green fingered - in fact I tend to kill plants quite easily - however as part of my Diploma in Permaculture Design I am trying to make my garden more productive. My design is based around the idea of a forest garden.

Let me take this opportunity to tell you more about Permaculture. Permaculture is an ethically based, integrated system of design for human habitation that is in harmony with the natural world which Bill Mollison and David Holmgren co-developed (worth googling their names to find out more.) There are many other definitions of permaculture and every person or article that talks about it will tell you something different (watch Kevin Hunn's fab videos of people giving their own definitions including me in this video!!!!).

Another simple explanation or permaculture is that the name is taken from permanent agriculture or permanent culture (or both):

permanent - something stable and enduring and that can continue indefinitely e.g.. regenerative systems like renewable energy, perennial vegetables or forest gardens

culture or agriculture obviously refer to food growing systems and people/cultural systems

What everyone agrees on regardless of their definition is that permaculture is underpinned a set of principles (read more here and here or look at the tabs at the top of my blog) and by the 3 very simple but important ethics:
Earth Care - permaculture works with natural systems rather than against them
People Care -  all people have the right to access the resource they need to exist
Fair Shares - a recognition that the earth's resources are finite and need to be distributed fairly so set limits and redistribute surplus

Bill Mollison believed that "the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production. Even if only on a small scale in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this there is enough for everyone." So one of my plans for the #30dayswild challenge is to observe what is happening in my garden; learn more about what is growing and flourishing in my garden and start planning how to make it more productive whilst also taking the opportunity to learn more about garden wildlife.

Luckily at this point in writing my blog post my Mum arrived. She is a keen gardener so I thought why not get her to help!!! I took her around the whole of my garden videoing and recording what plants she could name.

I also took the opportunity to refill my bird feeder, make a note to get more bird feed, construct somewhere to put my bird feeder using a branch that was lying around and eat some sweet cicely. Over the next few days I will be looking up what can be done with the various plants and planning what to do next in my evolving forest garden.