GraceWorks Bee Club

GraceWorks is starting a Bee Club for anyone who would like information about the Honey Bee & what is required to be a Beekeeper.

The club is for beginners and will involve both theory and time in the apiary learning about bees and how to care for them. You need to bring a notebook/pen or pencil only all the equipment, handouts and refreshments will be provided.

To attend please register on the site and turn up at 6pm, Thursday 21st April 2016 to complete enrolment.

The Course will run for 8 weeks and is £25

For more information email ben@gworks.org.uk

Forest Garden Day

With the forecast of continual rain and flood warnings popping up on the MET Office site we wondered whether anybody would join us for planting the Forest Garden at GraceWorks on Saturday. Fortunately there were a number of people who braved the weather and joined us at our Evington site.

After a hot drink Samantha Woods explained to us the principles of a Forest Garden: Creating a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. Making use of companion planting, these can be intermixed to grow in a succession of layers, to build a woodland habitat.

 

We learnt about the different root-stocks, how to mark out the canopy area so that there is enough room between trees and how to leave open glades where shrubs and bushes that need more light can thrive. Plus the placement of Morello Cherries and Blackcurrants on the North facing wall because they don't need sun to produce delicious fruit.

We also had a look at different kinds of nitrogen fixing plants: Some plants can turn atmospheric nitrogen into nitrogen fertilizers useful to themselves but also becoming available to their neighbors over time through root die back, leaf fall, and chop and drop pruning. These are known as the nitrogen fixing plants. This is a mutually beneficial relationship with the plant providing carbohydrates obtained from photosynthesis to the microorganism and in exchange for these carbon sources, the microbes provide fixed nitrogen to the host plant.

We planted a nitrogen fixing hedge along the boundary of: Sea Buckthorn and Elaeagnus Umbellata (Russian Olive) - these plants both produce edible fruit and are nitrogen fixing.

We also planted a range of fruit trees including: Family Apple Tree that produces Hereford, Sunset and Cox apples, Mulberry Tree and Plum Trees.

It was a great day and thank you to everyone who came down and helped out with the planting. 

Foundations - Barrel Oven

Good day up at the garden in Evington completing the foundations of the Barrel Oven. Heat bricks in place under where the fire will be and we tested how the barrel will fit on the base.

 

All looking good.

 

Forest Garden Course This Saturday

Exciting opportunity this coming Saturday (12th December) between 10am - 4pm to be part of the forest garden course and planting at GraceWorks. Come and join us, bring a friend and something to share for lunch.

We have cleared the site of the tree that was rotting and some trees and hedging have been delivered ready for this Saturday.

The course will show you how to grow fruit, nuts, salads and perennial vegetables as a low maintenance, highly productive garden ecosystem. This course will start with a session talking through the design by Samantha Woods followed by getting out into the garden and laying out and planting trees, bushes to develop the first stage of the forest garden at Graceworks.

What is a Forest Garden?

A Forest Gardening is a way of combining plants and trees together in natural woodland-like patterns.  These mutually beneficial relationships create a highly productive system. An established forest garden will give high yields of diverse produce such as fruit, nuts, vegetables, herbs, medicines, fuel, fungi and animal food.  Though it takes a lot of energy to design and setup once complete it will take less maintenance than a conventional vegetable garden due to it’s emphasis on perennial plantings and is rich in habitats for beneficial wildlife.

Using mainly perennial plants has many benefits – for a start, they don’t need to be replanted at the beginning of each year! This means that the soil doesn’t have to be dug annually, allowing the cultivation of a rich, healthy, fertile soil, which in turn means healthy plants.

Soil in a forest garden is always kept covered, either by a living ground cover of plants or by mulching any bare ground with organic matter. This keeps the soil fed with nutrients and protects it from erosion, as well as helping to conserve water in the soil, minimising the need for watering.

Below you can hear Tim Smit who created The Eden Project explain Forest Gradens.

An exciting event where you can see the development of a forest garden in action. Bring your boots and food to share.

For more information, address and map click here

Introduction to Permaculture

Graceworks is excited to announce that the next Introduction to Permaculture Course is on the:

27 & 28 February 2016

Please spread the word & let's us know if you want any posters or flyers to display in your local community.

You can find out more information & book your place here.

Remember to spread the word!