Archive for 27/06/2014


One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?

ID-10049859Two new videos exploring conservation agriculture were recently shared. The first looks back to the US dust bowl in the 1930s that motivated the development of no-till farming and conservation agriculture. The second looking at how conservation agriculture can help in practice and how we can prevent the next dust bowl in the Russian Steppes through sustainable land management strategies.

Changing an Age-Old Practice Helps New Generation of Farmers, is the title of a new video created by the World Bank. Tilling of soil is done to prepare the seed bed, release nutrients and control weeds but tilling can also lead to soil erosion, causing the loss of top soil that degrades farmland and causes sedimentation in waterways. In the lower Mississippi River removal of sediment costs over $100 million each year. In the Great Plains of the US around the 1930s the dust bowl winds eroded…

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DIY Liquid Comfrey Maker

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Click on the title for the full article – via Permaculture Magazine

Old School Gardener

Municipal Dreams

Social housing – council housing in plain terms in earlier years – has transformed countless lives over the decades.  For some a safety net, for others a springboard, for nearly all a decent home, council housing has met the basic human need for shelter for millions for whom the free market has failed.

The recognition of our duty as a community to ensure good quality and affordable housing for all emerged in the late nineteenth century.  Industrialisation and urbanisation created slums that offended the Victorian social conscience.  An increasingly organised working class demanded reform.  And there was recognition too that housing conditions which stunted individual lives weakened the nation as a whole.  A case for council housing grew that was moral, political and economic.

Eldon Grove, Liverpool, opened in 1912. Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College Eldon Grove, Liverpool, opened in 1912. Imaging Department © President and Fellows of Harvard College

Before 1914 it was Conservative governments which were responsible for the most…

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The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog

Looking for a weekend project?

Saw this posted the other day by the RSPB and thought how wonderful and simple it looks to do.  I’m going to have a go myself.

In this hot weather birds, mammals and insects will all be looking for sources of water, why not give them a little helping hand.

Have you had success making a home for nature like this?  Any tips or hints on best location for one please share below.  

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ArtPoetry&Literature

Another form of art... ©copyright2014owpp Another form of art…
©copyright2014owpp

Architecture… another form of art.
Wherever I go my head usually is turned
up toward the sky, down toward the microscopic
results of nature or sideways toward the magnificent
Denouement of mankind’s work of patience… the facades.

Isn't she a beauty? ©copyright2014owpp Isn’t she a beauty?
©copyright2014owpp

Magnificent denouement ©copyright2014owpp Magnificent denouement
©copyright2014owpp

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greenbenchramblings

We have created an “Interest Trail” around our allotment community garden, and we see it performing two roles, firstly it guides all our visitors around the site taking in as big a variety of features as possible and secondly it performs as an activity trail for children. It has proved very popular. Whenever we come across a similar trail in large gardens or parks we always have a look to see how the idea has been executed. We visited the National Trust garden, Dunham Abbey, primarily to enjoy the Winter Garden but we discovered that since our last visit a few years ago a couple of the gardeners have created a children’s trail so we could not resist trying it out.

It was wonderful! Come with us and enjoy! We found the sign and below it one of the decorated bikes and then enjoyed a woodland wander before discovering the…

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making it up as i go

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a flower that grows wild on the side of the Vermont road, also grows in Alabama. this flower reminds me of summer.

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That Bloomin' Garden

Are you growing fruit trees in your garden? Yesterday I was weeding my vegetable garden when I saw all these tiny pears laying on the ground. My first thought was that the raccoons had been in the tree and had been playing with the fruit. They think they own my pear tree. I was wrong. I remembered my master gardener training and the June drop information I had learned .

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The pears are very tiny as they are Bosc pears and do not mature until the fall. So why did the fruit drop off the tree? This is actually a normal stage of development since both apple and pear trees tend to produce more fruit than the tree can bear. About a month after the blossoms dispappear the fruit will drop to the ground. Its natures way of thinning the crop. If all that fruit remained on the tree there…

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A few weeks ago I posted a brief article about how I’d converted an old wooden bicycle rack (saved from the bonfire, as it was being disposed of by the local Primary School) into a sort of vertical plant stand cum ‘Plant Theatre’.

The old Bike Rack before it's makeover
The old Bike Rack before it’s makeover

I decided that the first display would be of  a range of Pelargoniums. Having bought a number of small terracotta pots, and used a mix of old and new plants, I set it up and nurtured my new ‘creation’. Well here’s how it’s looking at the end of June – most plants are now in flower and providing an eyecatching, vertical splash of colour in the courtyard here at Old School Garden. What do you think?

The finished 'Theatre'
The finished ‘Theatre’

I must now start thinking about what to do for a spring display, next year. I’ll try to over winter the pelargoniums and use them again in the summer.  For spring, perhaps I’ll tryt o get hold of a range of that plant that typifies ‘Plant Theatres’, the Primula auricula.

A Primula auricula- something for the 'Theatre' in Spring 2015?
A Primula auricula- something for the ‘Theatre’ in Spring 2015?

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