This Week’s Guest Blogger is Flo Scott, who writes about permaculture

I always wanted to learn to garden, even as a child I begged my father to let me have a patch of garden to try growing things, but it wasn’t until I got my first allotment in my early 20’s that I started to learn to grow food and that’s when I first heard about permaculture. Permaculture is a design system which helps us to create sustainable lifestyles.

Many years later, we finally had a garden of our own, I’d done my permaculture training, and I’d learned all about how to grow food in a very easy-care low-maintenance way, which by then was very necessary as I had been diagnosed with a range of chronic illnesses which still limit my energy and ability to garden today.

The permaculture growing techniques I use in my garden, are based on principles that help us to mimic nature to reduce the need for working hard in the garden. I use the no-dig method in my veg beds inspired by Charles Downing’s no-dig market garden, which uses mulches to suppress weeds, hold in moisture, and to build and feed the soil. I also have designed my garden to be like a forest, with lots of layers of edible plants. For example, I have an apple tree and Hazel in the canopy layer, below which I grow fruit bushes such as red, black and white currants, and raspberries. I have strawberries, wild strawberries, and herbaceous perennials such as sweet Cicely to provide ground cover and in the root layer I have leeks, and bulbs. Climbing up the fence I have thornless blackberries, and Japanese Wineberries. This is also a good way of packing a lot of edibles into a limited space.

I designed the landscaping of the back garden using sustainable and locally sourced materials such as the oak timbers for the raised bed terracing, sweet chestnut fencing from a local wood, and locally made bricks for paving. Having raised beds helps me so that I don’t have to bend down too far to garden and using the no-dig method means I only need to use hand tools.

Now that my garden is established, it’s easy to maintain. I have planted lots of edible things that like to self-seed, such as rocket, mustards, borage, nasturtiums, which in future will save me from raising everything from seed. The main jobs through the year are planting out new food crops, occasional weeding, mulching with homemade compost, watering pots, and harvesting, which I can do myself or with a little help from my husband.

You can find regular updates of my garden by following me on instagram @perma_flo and my Facebook page Flo Scott Permaculture Designs

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