However, the wild wind whistled through our fences and gave the freestanding trees a hard time, so we ended up using stacks of three spoilt-straw bales as windbreaks in front of each tree and then mulched the trees with the straw as the bales decomposed during the next growing season. We also started underplanting the trees with comfrey (Bocking 14), a useful dynamic accumulator. This we cut in summer and added it to the mulch to create more fertility.
The ecosystem was so damaged that slugs were a plague and would even crawl up the fruit trees to munch the leaves. Two strategies were implemented: we dug as many ponds as possible
Above: Brownies doing their Nature Badge in the garden.
Below: Rear view, showing passive solar extension, solar tubes and raised beds.
and got ducks. These lived in a pen by the veggie patch which by then was a mulched system. Next came chickens. We reared many ourselves. The runs were placed along the hedgerows and we grew edible berries up the wire fencing. One baby became a toddler and a new daughter arrived during this fruitful time.
Our children grew up foraging for wild strawberries, raw veg and top fruit and collecting fresh eggs with us. We started publishing Permaculture Magazine (1992) and the first temperate permaculture books in the world (1993) all from a back bedroom. It was a happy time, a time when we’d nip out to the garden to pick a salad for lunch and have meetings on the patio.
Right: Kentish cob nut, the largest of cobs.Moving OnBy 1998 we had eco-renovated the house and grown out of the bedroom office. Relocating work and being absent from home was an invitation to Mr Fox to eat all the poultry and we didn’t replace them. Publishing had become a demanding master which needed most of our attention. The remaining time was the children’s. We still went on slowly evolving the garden though. Over the years we built raised beds for the veg garden, renovated the greenhouse, added rainwater harvesting systems and planted more berries in the increasingly abundant fedgerow. We also added to the tree collection: Siberian pea tree, a truffle inoculated hazel, an own root stock peach grown from a pip obtained from ZEGG ecovillage in Germany, our lovely Bardsey Island apple, a Desert King fig, more Brown Turkey figs too in the fedgerow… The veg patch has gone from strength to strength and besides growing a lot of cut and come again salads, we grow
Top: Raised beds and greenhouse in late spring.
Above right: Plums and gages are particularly liked by the family, this is one of seven varieties.
Permaculture Magazine No. 63