There’s a word for it … evolution!

(For my email subscribers: Remember to read this on the website – better design, more information, updates included, altogether a better experience!)

I have had more time to just be in the Forest Garden this month, observing everything that’s going on – and there’s a lot! It’s so pleasing to see the developments, even though to the casual observer it may seem that not much has changed (it still looks like a field!). Living in and among and around the garden I notice how much has happened in the three years since the Project began. And especially this month, I have suddenly realised that what I’m witnessing is the ‘constant evolution’ in the sub-heading to the website’s title. I’m not even sure if I fully realised when I wrote that what it could really mean!

For example, I’m seeing more bugs, beetles and insects in general, and evidence of mycelial networks, this year than before – mushrooms, the caterpillars mentioned below, but also grubs rolled up in tree leaves and ladybirds and beetles to feed on them. It’s good to realise this is happening and that the natural cycles of plant and insect ecosystems and food chains that I know will come, are beginning to get established.

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Planting, pruning, strimming … and wild flowers!

(For my email subscribers: Remember to read this on the website – better design, more information, updates included, altogether a better experience!)

Weather-wise, January has been a month of contrasts. It was cold until the new moon on the 13th, with most nights falling below zero and a low of -6°C on the 8th; then the rest of the month was very mild with overnight temperatures of 11° or 12°, and a high of 19° on the 28th. It was reasonably dry at the start of the month (13mm rain) but the mildness later on meant a lot of rain (114mm) and very unsettled weather in general. January went out with a bang, with a thunderstorm, gales and heavy rain late evening on the 31st!

The swales filled up very nicely as you can see above! This photo also shows the principle of the swales very well. Rainwater running down the slope is caught by the ditch and because this follows a contour line, the water is evenly distributed and slowly infiltrates the soil. Biomass is also placed in the swale; I have in fact added more since this photo was taken. The trees planted on the bank then benefit from moist ground with increased bacterial and mycorrhizal activity.

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