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The Polyculture Market Garden Study–Results From Year 4–2018

THE POLYCULTURE MARKET GARDEN STUDY – RESULTS FROM YEAR 4 – 2018

HERE ARE THE RESULTS FROM THE FOURTH YEAR OF OUR MARKET GARDEN POLYCULTURE STUDY. THIS STUDY LOOKS AT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GROWING ANNUAL VEGETABLES AND HERBS IN POLYCULTURES VS GROWING THEM IN  TRADITIONAL BLOCKS.

In this post you will find an overview of the trial garden and the polycultures we are growing, a description of what we record and the 4th year results from the trial. You can find results from previous seasons here.

First of all we’d like to say a huge thank you to the team of volunteers that joined us for the study this year and that make it possible for us to carry out our experiments and research. It was a pleasure to work together with you. Thank you Victoria Bezhitashvili, Angela Rice, Malcolm Cannon, Elise Bijl, Alex Camilleri, Daniel Stradner, Emilce Nonquepan, Ezekiel Orba and Chris Kirby Lambert.

It was a great a mix of people from all over the world including university students, a crypto fund manager, ex-nintendo web editor and market gardeners. Thank you all for your valuable input, it was our pleasure to host you and we look forward to seeing you again some day.

The Polyculture Study 2018 Team

GARDEN OVERVIEW

Location: Bulgaria, Shipka
​Climate: Temperate
Köppen Climate Classification – Dfc borderline Cfb
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5b – 7a
Latitude: 42°
Elevation: 565 m
Average Annual Rainfall: 588.5 mm
Prevailing Wind: NW & NE
Garden Name: Aponia – Polyculture Market Garden

 

The six longer beds in the left hand corner of the photo on the right (the Aceaes) are the trial beds, the focus of this study.You can find the location of the Polyculture Market Garden on google maps here (labelled as Aponia on our Project map)

Garden area: 256.8 m2
Cultivated beds area: 165.6 m2
Paths: 50 cm wide – 91.2 m2
Bed Dimensions – 23 m x 1.2 m  Area – 27.6 m2 per bed
Number of beds: 6

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Save Our Soils

IMG_9379 feat

SAVE OUR SOILS

Less than thirty per cent of the world’s topsoil remains in fair or acceptable condition. The fragility of this vital layer can be illustrated through a simple comparison: if one imagines the earth as an orange, the extremely thin topsoil layer is no thicker than the shine on the skin of that orange. An astonishing variety of creatures rely on this ‘shine’ for all of their basic necessities.

Our growing knowledge about soil has formed the basis of new soil services, soil analyses, and many well-intended soil conservation attempts, yet we are still losing soil at an ever-increasing rate. If this trend continues for much longer, our current form of society will eventually collapse – and mainly as a result of practices as simple as over tilling.

At the same time, soil is being damaged irreparably by salinisation, for example resulting from the clear-cutting of forests that are often far away. There are only a few places in natural systems in which soils are well conserved: uncut forests; under shallow lakes and ponds; native grasslands populated by perennials; and mulched and non-tillage agricultural production systems.

Image Courtesy of Nadia Lawton
Image Courtesy of Nadia Lawton

A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH

Although this situation may seem extremely gloomy, there is hope in the form of numerous sustainable approaches to soil reconditioning, maintenance and rehabilitation. Surprisingly, amateur gardeners and farmers – not scientists with big fancy labs and federal research grants – are doing most of the real research. Moreover, these people are achieving results: creating high quality soil through water control, modest aeration, and the assemblage of specific plants and animals. And this is done with careful consideration of the sequence of these treatments.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Compost Worm Experiment

Compost Worm Experiment 01

COMPOST WORM EXPERIMENT

Every three weeks we have access to 80 to 100 kg of insect castings. These castings are from Meal worms, Cockroaches and Crickets. The waste is manure and leftover feed which is pollard and similar products. We use the waste in different ways and as the material is very high in nitrogen there is a need to consider the best way to approach the management processes. Usually I have been putting the waste into a chicken cell and then adding sawdust to it and the chickens process it. However I won’t put it in the cell if it is less than 3 weeks before planting so that the high nitrogen has had a chance to be processed out. So at times when its our turn to pickup the “bug poop”, as we call it we need to find some other use for it. Today I set up an experiment to see if compost worms will process it. I know that black soldier fly will process the material and I have designs and ideas to use them, just not the time at the moment.

I set up a half poly drum that has a drainage hole in the bottom and put a bag of the bug poop in , added some water to moisten the material and then added some compost worms with some of their castings and mulch that they were living in. I will monitor their process and see if it is to their liking. If they go well then I will set up a bigger system. We will feed the worms to the chickens to supplement their diet and hopefully increase the egg production.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

PRI-Natural Fertilisers and Nursery

Natural Fertilisers and Nursery feat

PRI – NATURAL FERTILISERS AND NURSERY

This is an interesting look at some of the systems that we have running at the Permaculture Research Institute.

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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