Tag Archives: Natural Building

Patch Update…

Happy new year everyone!  We have not heard anything yet from the council regarding our planning application but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.  More trees arrived from Martin Crawford at the end of November and we planted the remaining food forest specimens straight away.  We also got a bunch of shrub and understory soft fruit and various other interesting bushes which we planted too.  Using cardboard we heavily sheet mulched around each tree creating small guilds and covered over with plenty of 15 year old horse poo and then green waste top dressing for mulch.  This should hopefully kill back the grass whilst providing some extra organic material to our sandy soil whilst the fruit trees are establishing.  Work on the roof continued and we’re close to finishing off now. We’ve completed the turfing and put the weather boarding around the outside. A gutter for water catchment is all that’s needed to finish off.  It’s a strange feeling putting in so much work at the patch and to be leaving it all behind but on our return to England we will have some well established fruit trees hopefully.  Best news of all is that Nina and I booked our tickets to leave England and we’ll be heading off on our first leg to Australia by bus to Morocco in 2 weeks!  From there we’ll begin to plan the rest of our journey and we’ll be doing the first of our Wwoof to Oz exchanges.

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The Planning Application

When we arrived back to The Patch after a couple of music festivals in mid July we were surprised to find a planning enforcement notice attached to the new roof we had erected.  It turns out that as we have less than 5 hectares we need to submit a planning application even for a small agricultural building like the one we have built.  It has taken a little while to understand the requirements,  gather the information and find the confidence to do the technical drawing myself but this weekend we made the submission online to Breckland Council.  Fingers crossed.  As well as the drawing which I really enjoyed doing I have learnt how useful google sketchup can be for 3D design.  Check out the pics.

Somerset to Wales

After leaving the Burrowhill Cidery we visited the Willows & Wetlands Visitor Centre for an insight into the ancient craft of growing and harvesting willow for crafts and charcoal.  Another National Trust property later and we were in Wales to visit more friends, Gerd, Camilla and Lea.  They happened to live quite close to the Centre for Alternative Technology and so we also spent a day there…

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Foraging and Preserving

Most of our carrots seem to be ready and we’re picking them as we need them at the moment…stacking in time!!!  Nina has been busy foraging hazels, crab apples and blackberries from around The Patch and has made some delicious jam that I’m sure we will eat into the winter!  The green roof has taken well and we are keen to get it finished now.  We’re now on the hunt for plenty of cardboard and organic mulch for the fruit tree’s in the food forest.  We will be creating a guild around each tree with a large area of cardboard covered in some well rottened poo and straw mulch or 18 day compost if we can get some made up soon.  We will then plant some fruit, herbaceous perennials and other supporting plants.  This will create small islands within the food forest that in time will be expanded to form a large and balanced eco-system.

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The Internship – Water Harvesting Project…

Following the PDC Michelle hosted an NVC introduction before we started the internship project.  Due to the urgency of water needs on site we decided to direct our efforts there.  A structure was designed and built using mostly natural or recycled materials and with the help of all the folk who stayed on to help in a matter of days we had the beginnings of our water harvesting system.

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We decided on a green roof, partly to fit more into the landscape but also to make use of resources we had on site.  This will slow the water collection down but should make little difference once at saturation point.  The multi functionality of the structure offers protection to the secure storage facility whilst allowing some space for shelter when outdoor workers need it.  It also provides a wildlife habitat and cuts down on rain noise.  Finishing touches have been held up due to a planning enforcement notice.

Moving the container

Clare and I dug the footing for the container.  We filled the whole with hardcore and then 40mm gravel before wheelbarrowing a couple of tonnes of gravel to go underneath some railway sleepers.  Once this was in place we tried to move the container.  It didn’t work…

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