Showing posts with label Growing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Growing. Show all posts

2/04/2015

The Things I Need ~ Ray Lovegrove

With me, it’s often hard to say where loving simplicity starts and being an ‘old skinflint’ ends. Voluntary simplicity certainly has an impact, however small, on the environment, but much of the everyday simplicity we adopt also saves money. Gardening, for instance, has undergone many changes in the last two decades and I for one resist the idea of the ‘instant garden’ where one visits the garden centre with a credit card, fills a trolley with potted up plants, then returns home and plants them for immediate effect. For me gardening is a slow process of continued planning and development, after thirty years you might just be getting close to the garden of your dreams. Your ‘relationship’ with your garden is made much stronger if the plants have been raised from seed, or from cuttings or been given to you by family and friends.

At this time of year you can get plants for free just by keeping your eyes open and never going for a walk without a trowel and a plastic bag. You might even find useful plants in your own garden. The place to look is near fruit and nut trees. Fruit and nuts fall from trees in the late summer and autumn and young trees, or saplings, are usually spotted about in the winter of the following year. These small trees can be uprooted while dormant and potted up to grow on. Don’t worry about depleting supplies, young saplings that grow too close to the parent tree are doomed if you don’t rescue them. Hazelnut, walnut, chestnut, oak, beech, birch, hawthorn, willow, maple, holly, apple, pear, plum, cherry, black currant and gooseberry can all be found this time of year.

(C) K and R Lovegrove

Your biggest problem may be identifying your young trees, but it's not as difficult as you might think if you use a good identification guide. It's worth pointing out that birds and squirrels are good at planting seeds a little distance away from the parent tree (you may have noticed birds carrying cherries away to a nearby tree to devour them), so just keep your eyes open.

I find it easy to lift young saplings late on a sunny afternoon following a heavy overnight frost, apart from wrapping the roots up quickly to avoid them getting a touch of frost or drying out, the replanting can take place within a week or so. It's probably best to plant them in pots for the first year and plant them in a permanent home the next autumn.

A few words of warning! Don’t get yourself into trouble by trespassing to collect your saplings, if you are on private ground ask first. If you grow apples, pears and plums from saplings be warned that you might have a very long wait for fruit from your trees and it is unlikely to be the same variety, or the same size as the parent. Most modern apples are grown on ‘dwarfing rootstock’ whereas saplings from dropped fruit will grow into very large full size trees.

(C) K and R Lovegrove


Some things you might like to do with your saplings eventually;

·         Use young hazel and hawthorn top repair gaps in hedges, or if you have enough aim to replace fences in your garden with free natural hedging!

·         Make unused corners of your garden into wildlife friendly areas. A hazelnut, cherry or crab-apple tree will bring more insects, birds and small mammals into your garden than you could ever imagine.

·         Keep the plants in pots and donate them to local charity events for sale. Label them well!

·         You might like to try some guerilla gardening by planting your saplings where you expect them to thrive on unused public land.

Increase the amount of food you produce by planting some productive trees in your lawn.

~Q~

The Johnny Appleseed Blessing

“Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun, and the rain, and the apple seed.
The Lord is good to me.”

~Q~


(C) K and R Lovegrove


The cotoneaster above grown from a sapling rescued from a car park.




To find out more about simple growing click here.

If you have no land to grow crops, but still want to produce your own food click here.

For some ideas on cooking what you grow click here.

And to provide some ideas for simple eating click here.

(C) Ray Lovegrove (aka 'Hay Quaker') 2015







12/31/2014

A Time for Planning ~ Ray Lovegrove

At this time of year, with the garden under heavy frost, working outside can do more harm than good. The soil can be compressed, plants damaged and any soil that is turned is going to bury the frost and keep your soil colder for longer. I have two ways to cope with the weather.

Planning for the Spring



A cold and sunny day is the perfect time to sit down with a cup of tea and start to plan for the better weather, this not only gets a useful job done, but also lifts the spirits and carries my thoughts away from the short days and coldness. I have a very pictorial mind so plan my planting with the aid of pictures cut from old seed catalogues. Start with the perennial crops; rhubarb, soft fruit, etc. and then plan where your annual crops are going to go. You need to think about where things have been planted in the last three years and try to use some method of crop rotation. Brassicas (cabbage family) in particular need to grow where the soil has not had other related plants growing for two years. Also, some crops like fresh manure being dug in while others prefer soil that was manured a year, or even two years ago. You will need to think about sun and shade, many vegetable crops like full hot sunshine while others prefer life in the shade. If you do use cut out pictures move them around before making your final decision and pasting them on your plan.

When your plan is complete, all you need to do is decide on varieties of seed to sow. I like to save my own seed as far as possible, but still need to buy some supplies. If you are using seeds purchased last year be warned that carrot and parsnip seeds do not keep well and germination is poor with old supplies, best to buy fresh. I live in a cold spot due more to height above sea level than anything else, so much of my sowing has to be done undercover for planting out when the danger of late frost has passed.

Working the Land



If you do want to work on the garden despite the cold, why not cover areas of your plot with tarpaulin or heavy duty polythene? On a cold day, when the sun is shining you can pull back the covering and work on the soil. Make sure that the covering goes on when the soil is not frozen otherwise you will just be keeping the ground cold. Another job for midwinter, is that once you have decided where your brassica are to be planted you can ‘lime’ the soil. That means adding a calcium compound, usually powdered chalk to the soil to reduce acidity and prevent fungal disease. Liming also helps break down heavy clay soils, but be warned, test your soil to find the pH level before you lime; if you have alkaline soil you may not need it.

To find out more about simple growing click here.
If you have no land to grow crops, but still want to produce your own food click here.
For some ideas on cooking what you grow click here.
And to provide some ideas for simple eating click here.


Springing Life - Isaac Penington

"There is a pure seed of life which God hath sown in thee … Oh, wait daily to feel it. Oh, wait to feel the Seed, and the cry of thy soul in the breathing life of the Seed, to its Father … and wait for the risings of the power in thy heart … Be still and quiet, and silent before the Lord, not putting up any request to the Father, nor cherishing any desire in thee, but in the Seed’s lowly nature and purely springing life."


(C) Ray Lovegrove (aka 'Hay Quaker') 2015