this week in the garden

 Welcome To This Week In The Garden

Kay Hebbourn PermacultureI started this blog as a way of recording what I was doing each week in the garden in the hopes that other people might be inspired to have a go at growing fruit and vegetables too.  I’ve been developing this sowing guide for that reason. But along the way, I discovered permaculture and my blog has evolved from just being about organic gardening.

Permaculture is all about living lightly on the earth and sustainability.  It’s about creative solutions to climate change, frugal living and turning waste into resources, for instance making things with pallets.  I’ve learned to make soap, compost, firelighters and preserves.  I’ve learned all about companion planting, edible flowers, herbs, mulching and foraging.  I’m now keeping chickens and I share lots of chicken tips.

I’m digging deeper and learning all the time, about saving seeds, propagating new plants, growing over winter and learning to get a big yield from many different kinds of fruit and veg.  You will also find lots of recipes that are based on using produce that I grow.

Permaculture has taught me to think much more holistically in terms of the systems within systems instead of individual crops or plants. It has given me the tools to develop a much more intensive yield from the same small space because I am learning how to task each element in the garden with multiple functions. I now potter rather than work. I spend more time observing (without guilt!) and I’m learning from nature instead of following traditional gardening practices. I work less, grow more and spend much more time just enjoying being outside.

from the garden to the kitchen and back again



Companion Planting

Companion PlantingCompanion planting is an integral part of permaculture because it is all about imitating and working with nature.  In nature, mono-culture does not exist.  Plants naturally grow in guilds or groupings. Plants found in naturally occurring groups are mutually beneficial to each other.  

There is quite a bit of information about annual companion planting, but much less so about perennial.  My belief is that both annual and perennial gardening have their places in permaculture and I will be exploring companion planting in perennial vegetable growing and forest gardening.



IMG_1673Soil is the mother of all life, without it nothing can grow.  Healthy soil is a wonderful living organ, covering the earth and brimming with micro and macro organisms.  

Understanding how to build soil is a really important part of growing and helping to repair the damages to the earth caused by mono-culture, traditional gardening and intensive chemicals used to fertilise and kill pests.  Hot composting is a great way of making quality compost quickly.



IMG_2966Herbs are magical additions to the garden and the kitchen and were my first love in the plant kingdom.

They are easy to grow and have so many uses.  Herbs are not a particular kind of plant from a botanical point of view, a plant is known as a herb because of the way it is used.  Herbs are used as:

  • flavourings,
  • medicines, 
  • companion plants, 
  • in cosmetics and toiletries, 
  • as household agents, 
  • and as companion plants. 



ForagingHistorically the hedges were valued for their abundance of healthy seasonal food including apples, berries, nuts, roots, mushrooms and leaves.  In our culture nowadays, many people don’t trust food that doesn’t come in shrink wrap and are frightened to eat wild food.  There is some sense to this, because not everything found in hedgerows and forests is safe to eat, especially some berries and many mushrooms.  

However, there are courses and books that can help us identify what is safe to eat and with a bit of creativity, they can supplement and enhance the diet. 


Sustainable Energy

One of my goals this year in 2015 is to learn how to make solar panels or some other kind of renewable energy.  Watch this space.


Saving Seeds

Seed SavingSaving seeds is one of the most important things that we can do in permaculture for a number of reasons.  Firstly, we can select the strongest and best plants to save seeds giving us a good chance of maintaining or even improving the strain of the seed.  Secondly, many of the seeds that are sold commercially are not organic and they might also be genetically modified or produce plants that don’t have fertile seeds.

Lastly, it is possible that it could become illegal to save and sell seeds unless you belong to a registered body, so it is important to set up community seed banks to make sure we have a good selection of heritage and non-GMO seeds. 

Seeds can be saved for growing or for eating.


Perennial Vegetables & Forest Gardening

Forest GardenI have a deep interest in both perennial veg and forest gardening (not mutually exclusive).  This year my plan is to work out how to turn my limited space into a more productive garden by using a wider variety of fruit and veg, stacking them and planting them in guilds.

I will consideration to how I can grow from as early in the season until as late as possible and harvest as much as I can.   I intend to intersperse the perennial plants with annual ones to obtain variety. 


Saving Money & Other Stuff & Create No Waste

Saving ThingsOne of the aims of Permaculture is to catch and store energy.  This can be in the form of money, solar power, food, water, hydro or anything else that is valuable.

I’ve started on a basic level saving seeds, making chutneys, freezing things and turning some waste into resources.  It has been my experience that the amount of waste that I produce is totally inversely correlated to the extent to which I am successful at applying the principles of permaculture.



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