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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Forgive me Blogger for I have sinned...

It's been more than 2 months since my last confession...  I know there have been complaints for my lack of blog posts, I hope you haven't all abandoned me.  It's been a long, cold and wet winter.  We've had snow twice this winter (much enjoyed by Eddie the Beagle and his brother Full):

...and there have been at least 3 catastrophic rainfall events this winter, the last just this week with many landslides in the area.  Luckily there has been no major damage on our land, which shows we must have been doing something right.  Finally spring is showing signs of winning (almond blossoms):

and today we have been busy adding to the food forest.  On the soft fruit bed below the pond we planted 2 blackcurrants, 2 redcurrants and a white currant (all called John), 2 raspberries and a pink gooseberry:

The base of the bed is made up of my reverse Hugelkultur method, piling a load of old wood (mostly rotten oear and hazel prunings) on top of which we piled some soil from excavating the pond and some horse manure.  In between the fruit bushes I sowed some clover to add nitrogen to the bed, as they are quite nitrogen hungry.  The raspberries and the gooseberry are planted along the back of the bed as they prefer shady conditions in our climate.

Above the pond I planted Charity the mahonia "Charity".  She is particularly shade tolerant, doesn't mind poor soil conditions and produces edible berries:

Meanwhie down in the food forest we added Sally the service tree (sorbus domestica), which is a tall growing native tree producing small pear shaped fruit, some excellent wood and a strong root system.  She'll be the queen of the forest, once she grows up:

We also added two nitrogen-fixing plants: Mimi the mimosa, which attracts early pollinating insects with its profusion of yellow flowers in the spring (which according to some sources are also edible, although I find them bitter):

...and Gina the Tuscan broom, which also produces edible flower buds, has some medicinal properties, is useful for basketry and fixes soil, preventing landslides:

Not pictured is Jenny the self-fertile kiwi.  I'm hoping that she will shame Stud the male kiwi into getting the female hayward kiwis to produce!

Finally we added to the tree guilds around Jennifer the Rotello apple tree and Declan the winter pear.  Both had an artichoke added to their neighbourhood, which, apart from producing edible flower buds, makes a good ground cover and mulch. 

That's it for the moment folks.  I'll try not to leave such a large gap before the next post.  New ventures beckon for us and I'll keep you posted. :)


Anonymous said...

Excellent news about your land Heiko. It looks great.


Heiko said...

Thanks Virginia. Hope all is well over in Iowa! :)

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Looks great Heiko! It's fairly cold and grey here at the moment but hopefully spring will arrive soon (isn't it supposed to be here by tomorrow?). Loving the photos of sunny Italian hillside garden and hearing of all your new fruit.

wildcraft diva said...

You were missed! Nice to see what you've been up to :)
Is Gina the same as Spanish Broom?

Ruth Trowbridge said...

I too am very happy to see good progress and that you are still at it, so am i - peace

Heiko said...

Thank you all for your comments. wildcraft Diva, no Gina is a cytisus scoparia unlike Spanish broom which is spartium junceum. They are closely related, but Spanish broom is not edible at all and the medicinal properties are much stronger, so they are not recommended for self-medication.

Mr. H. said...

Good to hear from you. That Sorbus domestica is on my wish list, I look forward to hearing more about it as it grows.

And a pinch of love said...

Good to see a post from you after a long time.. :) I really enjoy reading your blog.

narf77 said...

An excellent post with lots of hard work punctuated with all that excitement. Thank you for posting about it :)