Category Archives: Research

Taster Day 06/08/16 and Tamalpa Life Art Process

We arrived on the plot with a busy schedule in mind.

Duncan and Fiona were hard at work keeping the weeds under control who seem to be encroaching from each side of our remote plot. Oh yes, community allotment is not only glamour you see:). We had a discussion with Duncan on the pros and cons of a grass path vs a mulched path. Not sure we got that settled. What’s your preference and why?

Soon enough two visitors arrived and put themselves to the task of gathering black berries – free food forever!. W have not put one ounce of work towards the brambles and they still produced lots of lovely berries for us.

Even more visitors arrived and after a short chat and tea threw themselves into planting our two  apples trees. They will need plenty of watering in the coming weeks but we could not wait anymore as the pots were more likely to dry out then if we put them in the soil.

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Then came the turn for some composting – we filled the bins with garden green waste, covered with some used coffee grounds and watered them. Last Taster Day’s bins seem to be doing well with the materials slowly moving slower. I’d like to start up making somecomfrey tea to fertilize the beds but also as I found that the remaining sludge is a great compost activator so we could use it in the bins.

We took part in the http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/ and spent 15 min walking the allotments spotting butterflies. Some of us went old school and had print outs and some downloaded the app for the phone. No one felt an expert in recognizing butterflies but the materials were quite self explanatory and soon we were marking off first findings. In all honesty I don’t have much appreciation for the white butterflies especially after they found a hole in our brassica bed netting and their offspring devoured the plants but thinking of them as performing an important pollinator function helped me appreciate that nature is about relationships and that sometimes we get and sometimes we give. All in all we counted 26 butterflies and around 5-6 varieties (ie. large and small white, gatekeeper) as some of them were not willing to perch down for us to allow more accurate inspection.

Following a scrumptious lunch we set off on to the green for the Tamalpa workshop with Donna who kindly offered it to us prior to her trip to the states.

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We walked, we moved and swayed and sat and drew about our experiences. It felt great to connect in this way with our bodyscape in nature and hear from everyone about their experiences. It reminded me of the different ways of observing activity I tried during the Permaculture Design Course and how it helped me and others see our surroundings with new eyes and get fresh insights.

That’s it for now and see you on the 27/08 for the next Taster Day.

 

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Big Worm Dig Results and greenhouse in place

SiT plot can bring so many yields. Apart from the obvious food growing possibilities, people coming together to learn new skills and make new friends we would like to contribute to the wider research efforts around food growing techniques, biodiversity and anything else which pops into the creative minds of the crew.

One such opportunity arose with the Big Worm Dig​​ organised by Riverford. Designed to give more attention to the important and cuddly:) earthworms and help researchers gather data we got to work as set out in pictures below.

We had one result! A lovely Blue-grey worm Octolasion cyaneum – Violet with orange saddle and yellow tail tip – or at least that is what we think we found. Amazing the diversity of colours and features a worm can take. Hopefully in the future we will know our worm from others:)

Results were submitted and we continued the work on the greenhouse who has a base now, frame is screwed onto it and glass panels are being fitted. One more session and we might have a home for our tomatoes.

See to the right for next dates and sessions and hopefully see you there.

As usual more pictures can be found HERE

Riverford’s Big Worm Dig – big city dig

Riverford’s Big Worm Digbig city dig
In 2013 everybody worried about honey bees. Could 2014 be the year of the worm? The University of Central Lancashire’s earthworm experts and Soil Association licensee Riverford Organic Farms are hoping to collate survey results about the British earthworm population from all over the country. Join in with their Big Worm Dig from May 26-June 1. You can register here to take part.

http://www.riverfordbigwormdig.com/join-in

We will be counting the earthworms on our plot this Sunday!