Today has been a rather exciting day (you probably WILL get sick of me saying this as I have a propensity to find LOTS of things exciting, everyday!!) - we have our first circular garden bed ready in our Permaculture Mandala Garden.
Previously, we'd gardened Linda Woodrow's system almost to the letter and had enjoyed a stunning range and volume of homegrown, organic vegetables, herbs and fruit from just a small area less than 15 metres from our house and covering an area of 15m x 22m. The system is a fantastic example of working smarter, not harder and integrating as many elements as possible for the potential of a synergistic gain. It did work wonderfully.
Returning to our property after two years of being overseas, we found the garden now grassed over and saw it as a blank canvas to reconsider. We had a few concerns with the system in relation to our own needs - quite frankly I'd managed to put my hip and lower back 'out', terribly, clambering in and out to collect eggs, for one! And, being a smaller family of three and yet wanting to have the hens fully utilised for the whole year, having smaller-sized garden beds and less hens was something we began to ponder...
...so, we've taken a bit of time to think this all through and have come up with a new design, which is simply a scaled-down version of Linda Woodrow's Chook Dome with a few changes/improvements, as we'd like to think of them as being.
|the new, 3/4 chook dome and freshly-created bed in the foreground|
The result is amazing - the tall, slim, rectangular door works very ergonomically; two light, yet hard and solid tea-tree branches for a perch either side of the entrance (so one can enter without banging into them) and three diagonal cross-braces have created a very sturdy and compact new dome. We are feeling pleased. As well, I found that today I was able to extremely-easily move the whole thing across to the next site - alone - by stepping inside and using the perches (with garden gloves on!!!) to lift it up just enough without allowing escapees out - to move it. Wonderful.
|freshly-'chooked' soil vs grass|
|'crop circles' with the rainbow fence in the background|
Given we have down-sized, I intend using the extra space for more perennial herbs and vegetables and to add more companion flower plants into the garden. As well, we have a terrifying version of our wonder-plant/herb: comfrey - it just grows so fast so big and we think we are probably able to harvest it over and over each season - it sprawls in a matter of a few short weeks - we love it and yet...! [The comfrey is what we are gradually planting as a grass-barrier to the garden as it grows way faster than grass and shades it out, whilst remaining in place (so long as you don't accidentally plant it in an unintended spot!) as a clumping plant. It is useful as a mulch, to make compost teas, compost, to feed to the hens in small-ish amounts and we also eat it ourselves in green smoothies and along with other dark, leafy greens.]
So, over the next six months, we shall see this garden evolve and form into [hopefully] a beautiful and highly functional, productive space...fingers crossed! I shall bring you updates...soon!