In summer 2016 with the help of a team of volunteer gardeners, we turned an under-used space on the Farm into a permaculture garden. A permaculture garden follows the forest system of growing plants, replicating natural ecosystems in an organic way and with habitat creation in mind.
To fit with the Farm’s aim of educating people about where their food comes from, all the plants growing in our permaculture garden are edible. The plants currently growing include two mulberry trees, Golding Cobb hops, strawberries, clover, sweet woodruff and red Valerian.
The strawberries will be sold in the Farm shop throughout the summer and we’re keen to hear from any local breweries who could help us use the hops for brewing!
Our permaculture space also contains a herb spiral which is a self sustaining vertical structure for growing herbs. Mediterranean, heat loving, dry condition herbs such as rosemary, oregano, sage and tarragon are sited at the top of the spiral as this is the warmest zone, followed by thyme, coriander, parsley, chives and violets finishing with cooler, damper loving plants chamomile, parsley, marigold and mint, who soak up all the moisture which sits at the bottom. The spiral creates a self-sufficient system as rain water travels through the structure.
In the Farm’s spiral, some of the gaps between the bricks have been plugged with sheep’s wool for birds to forage for building and insulating their nests. The gaps in the structure also provide habitats to invertebrates and are a source of food for birds. The herb spiral is also an example of how growing vertically increases the yield compared to growing on flat land.