Down here not a million miles away from the Ashdown Forest we have packs of wild deer roaming the countryside looking for things to munch. As part of the development of the Forest garden we have been protecting the fruit trees and Camellias with plastic mesh cages. However at the Intelligent Garden we like to work with nature where possible so I was delighted to come across this piece via Twitter. I’ve reproduced some of it because it’s so useful.
A quick overview of why plants can benefit from a cold snap. It’s kind of like a board game where the aim is to accumulate degree days. So one degree day is one day spent below a given temperature which varies from plant to plant. 1 day at 6 degrees below is worth 3 days at 2 degrees below. When the critical number is reached then the plants will move onto the next phase in the cycle. This tends to be a feature of long day plants.
I can honestly report that on this year’s lot there’s been a pitch invasion of docks and at the back where the swimming pool came out 18 months ago it’s stiff with clover. Both of these happy events have been organised by nature with no input from me at all.
So while I’ve been on holiday I’ve been avidly reading David Bell’s book the permaculture garden and am busily planning a forest garden round the house for a permanent supply of fruit.
This whole approach to designing a functioning ecosystem from day one is something that we really should be looking at more given that I’m beginning to suspect that what we think of as conventional farming is uncomfortably dependent on cheap oil.
But the amazing think is how the drought plus rain formula has brought up the mushrooms. I’ve never seen so many different varieties all bursting out of the ground. Here’s a picture of some parasol mushrooms taken in the field next door. They’re quite big – a good 9 inches across and about the same in height These are supposed to be edible – I had some with bacon for breakfast this morning so I’ll let you know if I survive!