Permaculture Tips

    Keep up-do-date on regular tips and useful info, by following my page, up-dated seasonally!

    Compost Bins can be made very cheaply by nailing old or unwanted pieces of wood together!  You can buy wooden ones of course, and indeed plastic bins too, but why add to the plastic on the planet that will take centuries to rot down?  Keep the organic mater covered if possible, moist, and a good mix of green and brown - woody prunings, cardboard, and green matter too, but try to avoid tipping lots of grass clippings on it, as it may go slimey!  A good balance is the key to good compost, turn it over once in a while too  and you will be rewarded with wonderful, loamy compost to improve your soil.  If you still need to buy any though, make sure it is peat free......!

Water is vital, we know that, and we are experiencing a fantastic summer, or a bit of a drought whichever way you look at it!  If you use environmentally-friendly washing up liquid (actually, shame on you, if you don't!!) don't waste this precious 'grey' water tipping it down the sink.  Unless it is very greasey of course, your ornamental plants will not mind a bit.  However, this should not be used on edibles. Install as many water butts as you can and cross fingers they get you through.  Of course, the more rich organic matter you have dug into your soil, and used as a mulch after rain, the more it will retain moisture and reduce the need for watering!  Pots are a different matter though, and so are hanging baskets which can dry out at an alarming and almost malicious rate, barely lasting the length of a decent Wimbledon tennis final, before drooping and wilting.  You can buy special moisture ganules to mix into the compost at planting stage to give yourself a sporting chance (pardon the pun) but, while a basket of perlargoniums look great,  they provide no nectar at all for our wonderful bees and butterflies, and are not really pulling their weight in the permaculture world.  They can survive on little water though!  In my opinion, drought-tolerant plants that also provide good nectar sources are your best bet. Or,  how about a basket of tumbling strawberries or tomatoes, or herbs?

Wildflowers are a must!  They require a poor soil, so good for lazy gardeners in that way!  You may still have to keep an eye out for some species being a bit too dominant though.  Sow in spring or autumn, then watch the bees, hoverflies, butterflies, beetles come in.  Remember, the faster-moving species of insect are likely to be predators and can keep the annoying ones such as aphids at bay.  Please do not use chemicals, slug pellets are killing our hedgehogs and thrushes.  Provide a welcoming habitat with trees and shrubs and they will happily keep the balance for you.