Forest Garden makeover underway

This time last year, I planted lots of strawberry runners, courtesy of Old Sleningford Farm, so that there was ground cover in my nascent forest garden. And over the summer I was really pleased to see new runners shooting out and planting themselves.

Going back to last autumn, one thing I didn’t yet know, or rather two things: I was going to get a bokashi bin and start using the mix in hugel beds. So, with the wind having abated – I wouldn’t have wanted shredded paper, which I added to the bed, to have blown away before I had chance to cover it up with manure and topsoil – I first had to lift the strawberry plants and runners in order to make space for the latest hugel bed.

This hugel bed has more wood in it than the two I built earlier in the year. The rationale for this is that it being in an area for perennial crops, I won’t be digging up such plants on a regular basis. I don’t think it will take long for the mound to go down, all the same, considering the bed I constructed in the spring is already back to ground level.

Not having dug saturated clay before, I was in for a bit of a shock at how heavy the soil was in comparison with when it is dry. I was also pretty wiped out by the time I had finished, so laying down a path and other plans will have to wait till another day now.

At least all my trees are still standing. Unlike the one below which had blown down overnight on Wednesday, near where I park my car on a workday.



About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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8 Responses to Forest Garden makeover underway

  1. Kalamain says:

    Yeah…. Thick clay when its wet is VERY difficult to break up.
    At work we tend not to do it by hand. We get a tiller or rotavator in to do it. Yeah… We are lazy!

    Oh…. And by Hugel bed… Do you mean Hügelkultur??ügelkultur
    Is it working?

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I mean hugelkultur… I think it is working, although it’s too early to say for sure. I have been using thin planks of wood rather than thick trunks of trees, but the solids from the bokashi bin have made the beds warmer.

      Fortunately my clay soil is just on the side of clay rather than the heaviest sort, so breaking it up was okay. But lifting it to make a trench was another matter!

  2. Thank you for sharing Helen lovely update have a save and warm weekend

  3. Hi Helen:
    Why don’t you have a Like button? (My reason for asking: Sometimes I wish to comment, and sometimes I just want you to know that I read your post and liked it.) Wishing you a great weekend, from the wilds of Ontario!

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for your question, Cynthia. I agree, sometimes I have no specific comment but want to acknowledge the post. Unfortunately, there were a few people who liked without reading, which irritated me.

      Anyway, I’m glad you appreciated the post. I have done some more work this morning. We were supposed to have some snow (according to my phone) but it has been glorious sunshine, though still a bit nippy.

      I hope it’s not too wild in Ontario! Have a good weekend, too 🙂

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