The following set of information was written and stored in 2010 and I have subsequently added some more and will continue to do so. However my wonderful friend Jo has massively helped with this blog and I am now pulling everything out of archive, to put it all in one place so people can learn from my mistakes. This was never going to be a 5 minute wonder but a multiple decade long project of ups and downs and general experimentation. So here goes…
Wine and cider making information:
Alcohol I hear you say? Well I do like a little drink in moderation and when you eat paleo, you have to steer clear of grains so beer is pretty much off the menu. Red (ideally due to low sugar content) wine, cider and tequila in moderation aren’t! They do (rather annoyingly) have chemicals, sweetening agents and preservatives in them. I therefore thought it might be quite fun, to have a go at making my own cider and wine as the produce starts to increase.
Due to the weather, it seemed prudent to purchase/build a polytunnel. After looking around, the prices for a decent sized polytunnel was going to run into the 1000’s of pounds. As this was being done on a budget it seemed prudent to look around the web and see what you can make. As such here are a few links to some relevant sites, including the rough design I used to make mine.
http://www.lbsgardenwarehouse.co.uk Look up plastic sheeting for the polytunnel
Fruit and veg suppliers:
As already stated I generally used Thomas etty and brogdales however here are. Few others I looked through along the way, one or two of which I purchased from.
This is next years 2014 project. As I have discovered the pigeons have a propensity to eat, well, just about everything I’m growing, from fruit to cabbages. I have used small cages over the individual beds but this is a bit of a faff. So next year I will be building a walk in walk out “fruit cage” style cover made with butterfly netting. Not a cheap exercise, but with a bit of bargaining and looking on eBay it should be feasible. It will however, easy to use and maintain and should save me a fortune in lost produce!
Sadly I cant have chickens as we have no permanent water supply, however, some allotments do allow them, so here is some information if you are lucky enough to be able to keep them.
As I have discovered you can’t have too many compost heaps. I started with 4 x 1 metre cubed ones made from old pallets, but promptly filled them up, so I have built a larger 4m by 4m by 1 metre high one, which will then rotate into the original ones as I go through it and break it down and turn it over.
I was going to buy one, but as explained elsewhere, my dad kindly gave me his 30 year old cedar tongue and groove one from his house. It was a three day job, dismantling it, loading it into a lorry I hired and driving it round from Surrey to Essex, to then reassemble, re roof and clean it up. It’s as near as damn it, new to look at, and is massive at 10 foot by 8 foot. If I were to buy it, it would have cost a fortune! I looked on eBay, but believe it or not, second hand sheds are extremely expensive on eBay. My advice is try and find someone wanting to give theirs away and pay for a lorry to take it!
Pathway weed suppressants:
Sadly I am a bit of a twit with this one! I thought that to suppress the grass would be a good idea, then thought it would look prettier with grass. How wrong was I?!? It was a nightmare having grass! Bearing in mind time was a primary factor in this, I didn’t factor in mowing alongside weeding. I promptly changed my mind and 2013 has been the year of weed suppressant fabric. It is SOOOO much easier! I have also found a supplier of cheap chipped bark to go over the fabric so that will also help.
This was a biggish expense, however it was well worth it. Rabbits on the site are a nightmare and they chew through everything, including larger chicken wire. As such I had to dig everything into the ground down about 8 to 10 inches. The 5 bar gate was unnecessary but I have always wanted a farm or small holding, so this was my little fantasy (present to myself) along those lines.