Using 2017 PEF money, Levenmouth Academy bought and planted 60 pear, 70 plum and 70 apple trees which were planted in that horrible winter. A good number survived the winter and the deer and we are going to be looking after them for a long time to come! We have arranged them into 5 orchards.
With lumbar wood and tractor tyres donated by Lochhead Farm of Coaltown of Wemyss we're making raised beds for each orchard and elsewhere around Bat's Wood.
It's sometimes a hard task to get the wood into the right place. Here's the boys pulling a few bits of lumbar along the way. Once these huge pieces of wood are in place they make great raised beds and seats. The lumbar, the farmer told us, is from Rosyth Dockyard which he bought for firewood but never got round to cutting up.
With some wood, it's necessary to line the raised beds with plastic to avoid chemical leeching. However, with this very weathered wood, sitting outside now for over 30 years, any chemicals likely to come out have already come out. Just to be on the safe side, we'll be lining the sides of these raised beds this year.
Our forest gardening experiment is well underway and so far we can boast about a load of cabbages, some kale, 30kgs of tasty potatoes and one yellow raspberry! We have pruned off the fruit this year so the trees can concentrate on growing bigger and stronger but next year we'll have apples, pears and plums.
The Hugel Hoop
We started with a circle of goat willow...
............And we built...
... and in May we had an outdoor classroom.
... and in the summer holidays the plants took over.
Permaculture, Forest Gardening and Sustainability.
We are learning more and more about how to grow things according to the principles of permaculture. This organic and non-industrial way of growingfood is generally held in high regard by those interested in creating a more eco-friendly world. However, we want to know if we can use it.
One of the most popular ideas in permaculture is the 'hugel'. In German, hugel means 'mountain' and it simply involves burying wood to store water and nutrients for the roots of the crops you are wanting to grow. We liked this idea because there is no water source on the site.
For every actual hugel in the world, there seems to be 4000 diagrams from people in the the "sustainability sector" who think that someone else should build one. Here's mine. But the Bats want to know if it actually works so we're building some.