Soil Culture on World Soil Day 2016

Something to celebrate World Soil Day 2016 and it’s only £15 – buy it here

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…. and the cob shed is in the back pages

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Up to my elbows building a shed

It’s a been a long time since my last post. But I’ve been up to me elbows in clay making this.

The completed shed waiting for a top coat of lime wash. Strawbale and Cob building project with RANE, Soil Culture Forum and the Green Living Project. Falmouth Univeristy, Penryn Campus, Cornwall
The completed shed waiting for a top coat of lime wash. Strawbale and Cob building project with RANE, Soil Culture Forum and the Green Living Project. Falmouth University, Penryn Campus, Cornwall

 

………the story of a shed will follow shortly.

Mini Polytunnel and Strawberries

These strawberries are becoming quite a challenge. Not only do I need enough fruit for at least 50 people, it needs to ripen and ready for picking 2 July. My usual approach of stick it in the ground and see if it grows isn’t going to cut the mustard this time. I’ve built a mini poly tunnel for half of the Marshmallow plants to bring them on early, the other half are outside in pots and my existing plants are now in a bed.

Hopefully with this mixture I have some chance of some plants fruiting at the right time.

 

Blue water pipe, bamboo and 2"x2" frame for the mini polytunnel.
Blue water pipe, bamboo and 2″x2″ frame for the mini polytunnel.

 

Complete frame of hazel triangle supports and bamboo lengths
Complete frame of hazel triangle supports and bamboo lengths all held together with white duck tape

 

Taped together the 2m wide sections of plastic to make a 4m x 6m sheet. Covered the frame and tucked the ends around the door frames with battons and dug in the edges into the trench.
Cut the 2m x 12 m roll of plastic sheet in half and joined with 3″ plastic bonding tape to make a 4m x 6m sheet. Covered the frame and tucked the ends around the door frames with battens and dug the edges into the trench to make it tight.

 

Complete with strawberries.
Complete with strawberries.

 

The remaining Marshmallow hardening off in pots with the other plants.
The remaining Marshmallow hardening off in pots amongst the other plants in the new strawberry bed.

Soil Culture Forum & Strawberries

As part of the Soil Culture Forum we’ve planned a cream tea with strawberries and cream, all very nice on the lawn in the summer sun. I suggested I could grow said strawberries that the delegates could pick themselves without really thinking about the consequences. A lovely idea in the deepest darkest depths of winter but now I have to get cracking, these plants NEED to fruit in 3 months.

Strawberry - Marshmellow from Trevena Cross Nurseries
Strawberry – Marshmellow from Trevena Cross Nurseries

I’ve spoken to many strawberry producers in Cornwall and I’ve gone for ‘Marshmallow’ a variety known for its flavour (if it’s a small crop at least it will be tasty). I collected my 50 strawberry plants yesterday and when the rain stops I’m repotting with a homemade compost and soil mix, building a small poly tunnel, and preparing a liquid fertiliser with 2yr old chicken poo from my hens. Challenging but fun.

For more Soil Culture Forum info or if you would like to get involved

CCANW

Soil Culture: Blog

Residencies

RANE

Soil Pigments © Peter Ward 2009
Soil Pigments © Peter Ward 2009

A Symphony of the Soil

www.symphonyofthesoil.com
http://www.symphonyofthesoil.com

http://vimeo.com/user9584122

“We don’t grow plants we grow soil to grow plants”

Iron forming bacteria / Bog Iron

Managing microbes for complexity instead of adding nutrients to simplify