Thursday, 29 December 2011

Perma Veiwing

As part of my Diploma project to increase productivity I've changed my viewing habits to more educational programs. 

Below is a list of the shows I currently watch.

As of Dec 2011
River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
The Food Hospital 
Kevin's Grand Design

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Explaining what we're doing at the allotment (East London Style)

My allotment buddy has been great. He picks me up at sunrise on each Sunday morning and off we set for a hard mornings graft at the allotment. He keeps asking me why we don't just do like all teh other plots. But after answering all his questions I think he's getting the it (lasagne gardening aka sheet mulching)

Here he is explaining it East London Style

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Morocco Olive Garden Project

I spent an hour with a friend from work who has an opportunity develop some land in Morocco. This meeting was a solid goals articulation meet, along with tasks set for him to do the same with his wife. Along with him summarising some agricultural reports from French to English for me.

Guess to do a real survey of the land I'll have to go visit. Sooo many projects so little time.

Perma Credit Union

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Requesting unpaid leave

Just sent an email to my line manager. Will update on the response.

'Hi xxxxxxxx,

I write to request unpaid leave from Mon 16/01/2012 up to and including Mon 30/01/2012 (11 work days). I would like this time for personal and professional development. Including  designing, implementing and project managing various sustainable assignments in Indonesia.

I would very grateful if you could provide me with a time frame in which you feel you are able to confirm the above request.'

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

New Hand Tools

After my allotment shed was pilfered of all my lovely tools I repurachced some great hand tools from

I loved the minimum packaging, only cardboard, some tape and cable ties. Note the address and postage slapped on.

Gave the wooden handles two coats of boiled linseed oil and we're ready to get to work.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Ideas for Multi Function Shed at Allotment.

 Here's some info on rammed earth floors - click here
I'd love to combine the rocket stove mass heater into the rammed earth floor, whereby the floor itself becomes the thermal mass.
Now the green roof while truly AWESOME in terms of insulation, creating habitat, and longevity may need to be sacrificed in the interest of speed of construction and water harvesting  yields. So how about something like this? then build my cob walls and polycarbonate sheet the south facing side.
If I was a rich man - I'd just get this, and just insulate it very well.
Your thoughts...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Teaching others how to grow potatoes in a bag

I recently completed the ‘Train the Trainer’ course. The subject matter I chose to cover was Self Sufficiency: Growing your own food. Particular for the urbanite.

So here's my intro, with main teaching/ demo part coming soon.

Here's the Prezi as a bonus.

Click here for the demonstartion

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Full PDC near Bristol 03 MAR 2012 to 15 APR 2012

My tutor Richard Perkins will be delivering a full (72h) Permaculture Design Course (PDC) near Bristol & Bath from 03 MAR 2012 to 15 APR 2012. See poster below for more details.

Note: Richard uses the word AWESOME allot.

I'm planning to be there on both weekends. As Richard is my tutor on my current diploma. I also took the two week full PDC with Richard back in June 2011 in Norfolk.

A highly reccomended trainer. Here is his webpage (, and a place you can contact him.

Click on the poster to maximize

Friday, 30 September 2011

Blue prints for making our own industrial tools

Marcin Jakubowski is doing amazing stuff in having open sourced blue prints for industrail grade tools/ machinary for small scale businessess/ communities.

Here's more -

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Kick starting the learning pathway (diploma)

The very first project in my diploma comprises of 6 elements.

1. Life Review, a 4,000 word essay on my journey so far. A chance for me to reflect. (not looking forward to this as the written word is not a strong area for me)

2. Articulation - document/ mindmap describing my personal vision, long term goals and sacred questions and areas of Interest (Have started this using Vue)

3. Skillflex - A mind map of the skills I currently have (using Vue for this also)

4. Action learning pathway - mindmap of the skills I plan to gain during the diploma process (you guessed it, Vue again)

5. CV/ Resume - 2 pages (I can fit mine into 1, is that a good thing?)

6. Basic website - to present the vision for my business plan and the diploma. (So far here it is)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Returning from Diploma Induction in York

Just on the train back from York. Was at Samo's folks place. Field tested the new tent and this time I took the Mrs who did the two day Non Violent Communication course with Michelle San. From what I gather she really enjoyed the whole experience. I'm now part of an action learning guild and we're all on this diploma journey together. Every five weeks we'll be meeting on Skype so each of us can answer the same four questions.

What's going well in my life
What I'm finding challenging
What my immediate next steps are
What my long term goals are

While one person goes through these, another will take notes and email back a summary. No one is to interrupt while they answer the four questions.

So here are mine for right now in my life.

What's going well?
Knowing I'm part of this group, and doing the diploma in a more construtive way is really motivating.
Having my wife now fully on board the permaculture bandwagon pleases me eminencly

What I'm finding challenging?
Money and time, I have very little spare of either and to action learn about allot the skills I want will cost me both

My next steps
Browse a few online portfolios
upload pictures from this trip
Transfer all key dates into my Outlook
Mind map for my first project

My long term goals
Relocate to a warmer climate
Open a center of learning
Be really really happy

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Chop & Drop Mulch in the Show Box Sized Garden

Lazy Sunday, so I took to the shoe box garden sickle in hand. Chop and drop mulch baby.....

As Richard would say 'Just mulch it'

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Vertical Growing with Arches

Here's how I've used rose arches to incease vertical growing space. Spaghetti squash and beans doing great.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

PDC June 2011 - Norfolk

So here I am, with a full PDC under my belt. I guess it's only the beginning. What next? Well I should Perma blitz my allotment, email Richard regarding the Diploma Click on the album link above to see pictures I took of the great people who attended and the white board (saved me making notes) :)

I'll be leaving the notes (white board & note book) pictures up for abut a month before I delete them. Feel free to save copies.

D'Artagnan out (new nickname given to me by Sanka on the PDC), long story.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

My Boi helping at the allotment, again.

The day was awsome. Light work then we chilled at the plot.
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Monday, 25 April 2011


Strawberries give a much better crop their second year. I'm waiting eagerly :)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Soil Care

The small round lumps on the roots are where the nitrogen is stored. As the roots rot down the nitrogen is released into the soil.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Introductory Weekend to Permaculture @ Naturwise London

For quite some time I’ve pondered and semi decided I’ll be enrolling onto a full Permaculture Design Course sooner or later, the timing and cost of the infamous 72 hour course wasn’t right for me just right now-ish. So in the hope to keep me motivated, meeting like minded people and scouting out a potential network/ group/ organisation of where I may finally do a full PDC as it’s often referred to. I enrolled onto an introductory Permaculture weekend with Naterwise in North London

And when I attended I got all I was hoping for and more. The course is mainly held in the most unexpected of locations. As I got there and looked at the front door of a house, and not only a pretty regular house, but one which was in a whole street of terraced houses, I wondered if this was just a starting point before we transferred to another location. When taken through to the garden you feel partially between the realms of reality and fairy tale, as my assumptions where being stripped away. The garden leads into an amazing and for huge space (London garden standards). With an abundance of apple, pear and other trees, along with all sorts of plants. All surrounded brick walls, which are the end walls of the neighbour’s gardens. A true urban secret garden. Just getting to wonder and hang out in the sun on the grass at this venue for me was worth the cost in money and time.

But I came away with allot more, I got to discuss with others my understanding of what Permaculture is and some key principles and then got to use them in practical exercises.

What next: I’ll be putting some money aside for the PDC and seeing when the next few will be running and trying to get onto one. Along with using the SADIM (Survey, Assess, Design, Implement, Maintain) methodology at my allotment plot.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

New Newham Bike Rides in 2011

Join one of the New Newham Rides. These are intended to promote cycling and the London Borough of Newham.

New Newham bike rides in 2011

Saturday 16 April
Saturday 07 May
Saturday 21 May
Saturday 18 June (Bike Week ride)
Saturday 09 July
Saturday 30 July
Saturday 20 August
Saturday 10 September
All rides start at 10.30 from outside Stratford Station and finish back at Stratford Station at about 15.00. No need to book. Just turn up on the day.
These leisurely, social rides with a cafĂ© stop, are almost entirely off-road along paths suitable for all types of bikes in good working order. The places of scenic and architectural interest on this Newham route include - the Greenway, 2012 View Tube, 2012 Stadium, Three Mills (Grade I listed),  Royal Docks, the ExCel 2012 venue, Thames Barrier Park, Brick Lane Music Hall , London City Airport, Beckton Alps and St Mary Magdalene Church (Grade I listed).

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Vertical Growing

Last summer's (2010) climbers
When you have little space to grow, using the vertical surfaces really helps maximize growing space. Last year I added netting to the east fence. It worked really well with the French beans, cucumbers and Royal Prince squash.

 This year I staple gunned chicken wire the rest. Above: West fence, and here the south wall.

 And glued a trellis on to this bit of wall.
 Planted some Spearmint

 Blueberry bushes budding.

 Feild beans adding nitrogen.

Sprouting peas and beans to plant adjacent to all the prepared fencing. 

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ortlieb Pannier Bags Are Awesome

If you're serious about cycling as your main form of transport, you'll need some decent pannier bags to lug stuff around. Above I'm struggling to hold up 30kg plus split into a pair of Ortliebs which I'd just taken of the rear rack of my bike. They're tried and test design and production is the benchmark of pannier bags. Waterproofing to the extent where they can be fully submerged. They'll set you back close to £100 for a pair. Pricey, but worth every penny. I have easily packed the food shop into these, training gear, clothes, if it fits into the bag and not too fragile you can transport it on your bike using these, and in comfort. Having a heavy back pack on while cycling is far from.

Here's a crazy test of their strength.

Leaf Mould & Transporting Manure

I wasn't up for a hard days digging so I decided to collect a huge bag of leaf litter from the path alongside the cemetery leading to the allotment.

Bags used to deliver sand and other building materials work well for this.
Placed saw dust down first to act as a weed suppressant. Filled bag on top, covered it to keep the rain out (mistake as damp leaves are desired), and wind from blowing the leaves away.
Over the year it should break down into lovely leaf mould. This will make a great carbon rich soil topper on my heavy clay soil.
While I was there I decided to fill one of my newly constructed raised beds with the horse manure just outside the main gate of the allotments. Again one of those bags comes in handy.
As I pulled away the axle snapped clean through. I've emailed the allotment folks about the damages (dolly belongs to the association/ society). I await their decision. Next meetings is in 11 days. I'll be showing up with my wallet.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shoe Box Garden March 2011 update

Not much growing in March. Have topped the the beds with some rotted horse manure and the field bean plants are growing very slowly. I'm using them to fix nitrogen and to add organic matter to the soil.
The fig tree was moved into the mini green house with bottles of water (to act as thermal stores) for the winter. I threw in a handful of field beans, which are doing better then those in the beds. I'll chop and drop these into the pot once the weather warms.
The comfrey is making a come back and will be back stronger their first year. I'll be using the leaves to make a liquid feed.
Here's another. I have a third also. They act as nutrient pumps bringing nutrients deep down up into their leaves. Come late summer I'll split each one and transfer three new plants to my allotment

In this corner I have two bags filled with autumn leaves from the front garden which should give me leaf mould come next autumn. I purchased the mushroom log which has mushroom spoors placed into drilled holes. Lets see how it turns out.
Planted x 3 Minarette fruit trees, 2 variates of cherry and pictured here a  duel variety pear.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Feeding The Hard Working Worms

The wormary in my garden dies a great job. All those worms turn my kitchen scraps , hover contents and some of my newspaper into to great products.

1. Worm Tea, this is the liquid which seeps to the bottom and is collected via a tap. I add this diluted to my watering can and use like a liquid feed.

2. Worm Castings, which I also dilute with water and spread over my soil.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Passive Solar Heating

I think this is truly the answer to eco building. It's so low tech, low maintenance, and extremely cost effective. All it takes is desgining the home/ building in a way to maximise the sun rays during winter months and shading out the sun during midday during in summer months. Oh and selecting building materials with high thermal mass (ability to absorb and hold heat). Ok there's a tad bit more to it, but like I said it's all in the planing phase, and I'd hire a specialist to calculate the figures and angles. Any way, I'll stop rambling and let the video do a much better job of explaining.