Bio Pest Control, Green Manure Trials, Oeschberg Pruning and Wildlife in the Gardens
Week 2 - The Polyculture Project
Aponia – The Market Garden
I was looking into the science behind the pest repellent properties of Amaryllidaceae (Garlic/ Allium family) this winter and was introduced to a great text called Garlic and Other Alliums – The Lore and the Science by Eric Block (thanks Lorenzo Costa for the link). The author looked at various studies on this topic and found that field trials confirm the ability of Allium-derived organosulfur compounds to repel predators and kill insect pests.
I thought to see if we could use some of the plants from this family to tackle two of the most harmful pests in our gardens both of which target Brassica crops. The pest are Eurydema oleracea and Pieris brassicae.
The idea is to flank patches of brasscia crops with plants that contain these organosulfur compounds and to cut the plants and spread the material around the brassica when we first notice the pest arrive in the gardens and then cut again at regular intervals throughout the growing season. We’ll look at the quantity of pest in each patch and the amount of damage that occurs from the pests.
The two pest repellent species I have selected for the trial are Allium cepa proliferum – Tree Onion and Nectaroscordum siculum – Bulgarian Honey Garlic. Bulgarian Honey Garlic is the strongest plant from Amaryllidaceae that I have come across and has brought me to tears on a few occasions, just from handling the plants, so seemed like a good candidate.
Ronan, Misha and Philip set up 3 patches one with Allium cepa proliferum – Tree Onion another at the opposite end of the bed with Nectaroscordum siculum – Bulgarian Honey Garlic. and one will be in the middle with just the brassica crops. We will use Siberian Kale as the Brassica crop for this trial. The trial will begin properly next season as we need the young ‘repellent plants’ to establish so that when they are cut they will have the ability to grow back easily and quickly.
The second trial is a Green Manure/Cover Crop Trial – This is a comparative study and is a very simple trial where we sow 3 m2 patches of three different Nitrogen fixing ground covers
Trifolium repens – White Clover – 30 g
Medicago sativa – Alfalfa/Lucerne – 45 g
We’ll look at how fast each species takes to provide cover, the quantity of biomass produced and how attractive each species are to wildlife in the gardens.
Green manure/Cover crops can be grown to protect and/or enrich the soil. It’s an important part of a vegetable crop rotation plan in order to biologically maintain soil health and manage insect, weed, and disease pressure. Green manures/Cover crops offer many benefits, but not all at once, nor from one species. You may want to protect the soil from intense erosion, alleviate compaction, suppress weeds, build organic matter, add Nitrogen or mop-up available nutrients after the growing season.
We have these cover crops/green manures available from our online store here
Leo and Misha, who are back on their travels now, carried out some pruning techniques on a Pear – Pyrus communis – “Early Boliarka” in the market garden and various Apple trees at the guest house. The pruning method they practice is called Oeschberg and was developed in the late 1920’s by Hans Spreng in Oeschberg, Switzerland.
|Photo by Misha|
Wildlife in the Gardens
Apatheia – The Home Garden
Polyculture/Regenerative Landscape Design Webinars
- Overview of the Design – Design Goals and Objectives
- Starting Point – How we approached the design of this landscape
- Rationale – Why we laid out access, water, drainage, and planting locations where we did
- Species Selection – How and why we selected the various species
- Technical Discussion – Software and tools we used
- Closing Questions and Answers
- Access to design spreadsheets and databases including a number of unique species lists.
The participation fee will be €30 (or the equivalent value in the currency of your choice). I hope to be able to share my experience and attract people that are interested in polyculture design in order to build a network of designers and practitioners while raising some funds to help support and develop our project’s activities.
If you would like to create a forest garden and gain some practical hands on experience join us this Spring. We’ll be covering site surveying, landscape design software, installing access, beds, irrigation channels, planting tree, shrub, herb and ground layers and making a small wildlife pond. All in 3 days! And plenty of follow up material to take away with you to digest slowly.
What deters Japanese beetles? or don’t you have them where you are?
Thankyou, Beautiful site.