After a year of growing grains, it became clear that I needed to create a more formal research strategy for my Small Scale Grain growing Experiments. I have carried out quite a bit of research, and have devised a plan that should enable me to do this more effectively.
It’s been a little while since my last post, and for most of that time I have been contemplating the detail of my vegetable/grain polyculture, how the crops will be rotated, and how I will incorporate compost, green manures, and intercrops into the system. I waited, in the hope that I could post the finished article, but have to admit, that I still have a bit of thinking to do.
The problem has been trying to get the PERFECT system, whereas I may have to compromise on perfection, and settle for just pretty good. It hasn’t helped that I’ve learnt more during the process, which has added some complexity.
What I hope to do is explain what I’m aiming for, why I’m doing it, and outline where I am now. What follows is for my larger vegetable growing area.
A short while ago, I posted about the books that I’ve read this year, Reading List, and I’ve written two posts about the direction that I’m taking to become more self reliant, here at the Sustainable Smallholding. Creating a Permanent Agriculture, and 2012 Plans, Experiments, and Direction, both look at where I’m heading.What I wanted to do was expand on the same theme, and add a bit more detail.
The catalyst for this post was the understanding of how much has changed this year. I’m moving away from no dig gardening, to digging, and double digging, once in a complete rotation. I am concentrating much more on ‘staple’ foods, and less on interesting, or unusual vegetables, and despite being passionate about trees, and Forest Gardening, I recently found myself wondering if perhaps I should have left a bit more room for growing grains.
I started planted a few of the potted trees back in September. These were mainly False Acacia, and Box Elder, grown from seed for the Coppice and Orchard. There are still a few of these to do, as I’ve been concentrating on the vegetable growing areas recently. That changed today, as I was told that the first batch of my fruit trees were due to arrive. These trees are cider apple trees, on M25 rootstocks. Sometimes the blog might make it seem that everything is always well planned, but these were an impulse purchase, sparked by my first proper attempt at cider making.