Friday, January 30, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

...


Saturday, January 17, 2015

I'd never been to Maple Glen...




...but now I have. In the nursery, I bought a Decasnea fargesii. Oh. My. Goodness.

Birthday walk

Photo: Terry Guyton

Tool shed



We've been refurbishing the "railway hut"; hammering and sawing, measuring and swearing - it's been great fun and we're half-way finished. To do; the spouting, installing the rain-barrel, painting the roof and, as I always say, as my dad always said, painting a gorilla on the door.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Food forests growing in popularity - today's Southland Times

Food forests growing in popularity
DAVE NICOLL

It's almost like having the produce section of a supermarket in your backyard... only it's not quite as organised.

Food forests, also known as forest gardening, are an easy to maintain and sustainable way of cultivating a garden by creating a mini ecosystem in your backyard.

One of the world's leading examples is growing in Southland.

Permaculturalists Robert and Robyn Guyton had been working on their Riverton forest garden, which has been internationally recognised, for over 20 years.

It was in the last three years that the couple have been running workshops teaching people how to develop their own food forests.

"We've probably spent about 30 hours working on our garden since spring," Robyn told the group.

Anytime we need anything we just go for a browse, Robyn Guton said.

"All year round I can have a green salad."

The couple even had their own bees and hens.

However, they still had to buy dairy products and other essentials, she said.

Yesterday the Guytons hosted a group of ten people at their property who had come from throughout the South Island to see their forest.

Juliet Pope said she had come from Arrowtown with her family to see the Guyton's "legendary" food forest.

"It's the best example, evidently, in the world of a cool climate food forest."

Pope had done a permaculture design course and was also a qualified architect, she said.

Pope and her husband had two and a half acres on which they had fruit and nut trees, plus ducks and chickens, she said.

"We're going to continue working with the orchard and bring in more diversity."

They were trying to make their property to be self-reliant and grow a lot of their own produce, pope said.

"It's about resilience."

One of the challenges was letting go of neatness and control, and the idea of a conventional garden and just allowing nature to take over, she said.

John Borger who had come with his wife Valarie said he was there to learn something new.

The couple owned a 12 acre hazelnut orchard in Thornbury.

The retired dairy farmer said he liked the idea of food forests because you didn't have to do a lot of work, and that weeds were actually not a problem.

They had a traditional vegie garden which required a lot of weeding but they were looking at incorporating some elements of a food forest into a section of their orchard, he said.

"We'll try and see what works and what doesn't."

Julia Middleton-Chapman took part in one of the Guyon's workshops two years ago and since then they have their own food forest and are looking to expand.

"We've taken ideas from our tour of the Guyton's food forest from two years ago and basically tried to emulate what they are doing there."

Their food forest ,which is located at Riverton where they live, is unique in that it features a a bike track running through it.

"One day we might be able to pick apples as we're biking past."

Initially she said they put in regular gardening work as they started from a dirt patch, she said.

"Although in saying that it's not a regular garden so you're not having mow lawns or maintain it in that regard, you're more often that not planting more plants."

"We had to build up the soil and just try and create a better sort of soil for everything to grow in."

In the future they were hoping to be able to grow produce to sell at the Environment Centre in Riverton, she said.

Steps to starting your own food garden:

Do a stocktake on what you have got and don't clear-fell your property because you might lose your shelter

Find out where the sunny, windy, wet and dry spots are on your property to know which plants to put where - Blackcurrants like the shade, where as grapes will want some sun.

Then think of what plants you like and check if your neighbours have them because you can grab cuttings or seeds.

Finally just thicken things up - as you add plants you can remove things you don't want and mulch them up.

- The Southland Times
Join hundreds of thousands who found relief with this new formula!


It's almost like having the produce section of a supermarket in your backyard... only it's not quite as organised.

Food forests, also known as forest gardening, are an easy to maintain and sustainable way of cultivating a garden by creating a mini ecosystem in your backyard.

One of the world's leading examples is growing in Southland.

Permaculturalists Robert and Robyn Guyton had been working on their Riverton forest garden, which has been internationally recognised, for over 20 years.

It was in the last three years that the couple have been running workshops teaching people how to develop their own food forests.

"We've probably spent about 30 hours working on our garden since spring," Robyn told the group.

Anytime we need anything we just go for a browse, Robyn Guton said.

"All year round I can have a green salad."

The couple even had their own bees and hens.

However, they still had to buy dairy products and other essentials, she said.

Yesterday the Guytons hosted a group of ten people at their property who had come from throughout the South Island to see their forest.

Juliet Pope said she had come from Arrowtown with her family to see the Guyton's "legendary" food forest.

"It's the best example, evidently, in the world of a cool climate food forest."

Pope had done a permaculture design course and was also a qualified architect, she said.

Pope and her husband had two and a half acres on which they had fruit and nut trees, plus ducks and chickens, she said.

"We're going to continue working with the orchard and bring in more diversity."

They were trying to make their property to be self-reliant and grow a lot of their own produce, pope said.

"It's about resilience."

One of the challenges was letting go of neatness and control, and the idea of a conventional garden and just allowing nature to take over, she said.

John Borger who had come with his wife Valarie said he was there to learn something new.

The couple owned a 12 acre hazelnut orchard in Thornbury.

The retired dairy farmer said he liked the idea of food forests because you didn't have to do a lot of work, and that weeds were actually not a problem.

They had a traditional vegie garden which required a lot of weeding but they were looking at incorporating some elements of a food forest into a section of their orchard, he said.

"We'll try and see what works and what doesn't."

Julia Middleton-Chapman took part in one of the Guyon's workshops two years ago and since then they have their own food forest and are looking to expand.


"We've taken ideas from our tour of the Guyton's food forest from two years ago and basically tried to emulate what they are doing there."

Their food forest ,which is located at Riverton where they live, is unique in that it features a a bike track running through it.

"One day we might be able to pick apples as we're biking past."

Initially she said they put in regular gardening work as they started from a dirt patch, she said.

"Although in saying that it's not a regular garden so you're not having mow lawns or maintain it in that regard, you're more often that not planting more plants."

"We had to build up the soil and just try and create a better sort of soil for everything to grow in."

In the future they were hoping to be able to grow produce to sell at the Environment Centre in Riverton, she said.

Steps to starting your own food garden:

Do a stocktake on what you have got and don't clear-fell your property because you might lose your shelter

Find out where the sunny, windy, wet and dry spots are on your property to know which plants to put where - Blackcurrants like the shade, where as grapes will want some sun.

Then think of what plants you like and check if your neighbours have them because you can grab cuttings or seeds.

Finally just thicken things up - as you add plants you can remove things you don't want and mulch them up.

- The Southland Times

The bushel, the primrose



Yestarday's rag


Below standard

Seems my 'living in a forest-garden' piece was not of interest to the Standard authors, either that or it went missing in the ether. No matter, here's what I wrote. Probably too flippant.Or maybe I'm too impatient. I can be impatient.



Dave Kennedy’s very good post on the politics of food in Southland provoked a stream of largely supportive comments and a chance for me to give an insider’s view of a particular brand of food production; forest gardening and an opportunity to show that Southland isn’t some insignificant southern promontory populated by thick-pelted sea mammals stretched out on cold, sub-Antarctic rocks under a pale sun, yearning en masse to relocate to Auckland, Centre of the Known Universe. Oh no, the seals and we Southlanders do not! I’m not wanting to start a regional flame-war here; I’m certain there will be regions as just as delightful as Southland but this is the soil and climate I know best and it suits forest gardening down to the ground. Our garden, situated on a gentle northerly slope formed of deep loamy soil and watered with clean rain straight from the southern ocean, is an old food-forest, by food-forest standards. There are some ancient ones scattered about the globe, mostly tropical in location and nature but most are in their infancy, begun with the recent slew of youtube clips, radio interviews and magazine articles lauding the food-forest and those who create them. Ours then, is well established, at 25+ years old, and producing like a cool climate Horn of Plenty. Our garden oozes berries, drips plums and beats visitors around the head with apples. It’s stacked, in the manner of the best permaculture orchards, like a trifle; a canopy of bird-friendly, perch-perfect taller trees, sub-canopy of pear, apple, plum, nectarine and peach trees, all bearing up under the weight of their fruit at this early-summer period, bushes of fungi and grub-free berries and currants, a Southern speciality and a herbal layer that features everything that can be added to a salad or used to cure an ill. At ground level, bulbs, creepers, carpeters and …you get the picture; abundance with a touch of abandon. It’s easy-manage gardening. We don’t mow lawns, we eschew them. No petrol-motor sounds here, what work is carried out is handy-work. Birds flock here for the peace and quiet. Or perhaps it’s the berries. It is the berries. And the fruits. We favour perennial vegetables; cardoons, sea-beet, asparagus and so on, along with colonisers like yams and potatoes that can replicate themselves and provide an easy-care harvest year after year. People visit. Aucklanders too. They seem to find it both refreshing and stimulating. We wander the self-formed paths (I let pre-schoolers on visits pick their own paths through the undergrowth then we adults use those meandering, natural trails thereafter) and swap ideas - one of our most vigorous crops. It’s biodiversity writ large and causes me some angst when I’m sitting around the polished boardroom table at Environment Southland, when the issue of dairy farming comes up, and that’s every sitting day, when I want to shake my fellow councillors and shout “What about biodiversity! How about we require a standard of naturalness on those too-simplistic-to-be-healthy farms!!!” But I hold my tongue. I’ll a peaced-out kinda guy. If, in my dotage, I look about me and find that forest-gardens have spread like a beneficial contagion, I’ll fade away a happy man, knowing that finally, we’ve got it right and have settled with the planet. My sincere belief is that forest gardens, food-forests, permaculture farms, call them what you will, are the panacea for the hack-job we humans have done on our home-planet so far and that once we all have one to recreate in, or at least a shared-space that fits the description, we’ll come right as a species.