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  • Writer's pictureHuttons Valley Permaculture

Autumn is tree planting time

Today I planted my first tree of my tree planting season. I find that Autumn is a great time to get these plants in the ground as the temperatures are cooling and rains will become more frequent. This year I’ve decided to start planted a little earlier than previous years due to the unusually cool summer. I’ve laid compost around my plant, followed by cardboard. I then harvested some mulch from a nearby tagasaste tree to help retain moisture and establish a nice food source for my soil organisms. My plants will be well established before summer comes around again with it‘s potentially hot, dry conditions. I hope that this little elderberry plant will thrive in my swale food forest. Diversity is the key to establishing a food forest that in a few years time will meet its own needs in terms of retaining moisture and nutrient cycling. I hope this elderberry will keep the bees happy but I’m also looking forward to harvests of flowers and berries for making syrups and wines!

I continued on with my fencing project. In permaculture you are taught to see things in a different light and so problems become solutions. Today the problem of lots of tall grasses impacting on my working space along the fence line became the solution for a bare soil issue I have around my dam. By using the cut grass and weeds as a mulch for this area helps to reestablish the top soil and getting the soil life thriving again. My ducks were also very pleased with this addition.

In a similar way I’ve started helping my kitchen garden along. The tall beautiful evening primrose flowers have finished flowering, and the seed heads have all been eaten by the local birds. Time to get this great carbon source on to the ground, again in order to promote soil health. My trusty sickle comes in handy. By using this to cut the weeds at soil level means I can leave the roots in the ground and not disturb the soil. Yes the weeds will grow again but for the moment I’m choosing to see them as a mulch source and know that as my system matures, with its undisturbed thriving soil microorganism network, the weeds will start to disappear as the garden turns from largely herbaceous species to more woody shrubs and trees.

I’m finding one of the advantages of having a large veggie patch is that it is a great source of greens for my bird population. I’m able to harvest lots of leaves from plants such as the Brussel sprouts. You can remove the lower leaves without affecting its production and throw to the chickens who devour them quickly.

I’m really pleased with my young Muscovy ducklings who have successfully transitioned into the outside world. There was a little getting to know you issues with Dougie the drake, and Misty the other duck but all seems well now and everyone is mostly happy. All the ducks had their first swim on the dam today and they seemed very excited with it all!

Not a great video but I think you get the idea - great fun flapping your wings and finally getting to swim!

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