Archives for posts with tag: Goats

 

As we approach the winter, the maintenance jobs increase. Ensuring that the worsening weather doesn’t undo all previous hard work is itself, hard work.

Alongside the main plot is a steep bank which has eroded slightly over the years. Using the rocks and rubble that have been brought down, Alzbeta and I have constructed two terraces along it. The hope is that they will reduce the amount of soil brought down by the rain, preventing it from damaging the plots and anything planted.

We also plan to recycle more of the rocks to create a seating area in the garden. Using the stones will ensure drainage when it rains, as well as keeping costs down and being ecological.

I mentioned before that the plots had been prepared with muck and were waiting to be covered. We’ve since dug the muck into the soil. We looked into what could be planted now, ensuring an early crop next spring. Bulbs such as garlic and onions are able to survive the winter, while legumes like peas and broad beans will help nourish the soil, as well as providing a good crop. Planting legumes is always beneficial to a garden as they return nitrates to the soil, reducing the need for adding them back in using chemical fertilisers. Some plants leech the nitrates from the soil, affecting how well things grow. The plants of things like broad beans are also great for feeding to goats.

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We took all of this into account when choosing what to plant. We decided on the following vegetables;

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • White Radish
  • Purple Radish
  • Black Radish
  • Pink Radish
  • Broad Beans
  • Peas
  • Rocket
  • Salsify

We also decided to plant flowers on the bank, hopefully, this will help towards reducing erosion. It will also brighten the garden up. Amongst others, we chose Purple Tansy and Red Clover as well as a seed mix specifically designed to attract bees. Attracting bees to the garden will not only help the bees themselves but will also improve the pollination chances of the plants.

 

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As I mentioned in the first post, goats were brought in to clear the land. We currently have four, Francesca, Blanche, Mamman and Baby.
Francesca is the leader of the pack. She has the most dominant personality and is constantly escaping. If there’s a way out, she’ll find it. She recently disturbed a theatre piece that was being performed in the lower gardens. This wouldn’t be as much of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that she can never find her way back in.

Blanche is next. Not as keen on escaping as Francesca, she is content to eat her way through the garden as is. She loves to be petted, and will push the others out of the way to get to food.


Mamman is a much more timid character than the other two. She doesn’t like to be handled, even if you’re offering food. She often gets pushed out from the food, and so likes to be fed on the rocks where the other two can’t or won’t climb to. However, she isn’t interested in escaping, which is a small blessing.


Baby is the smallest and the youngest. She is Mamman’s kid. Though well past being weaned she sticks with her mother most of the time. She is quite timid and doesn’t like to be handled too much. However, she is easily distracted by food, and will allow you to pet her if she’s eating.

At the moment we have cleared the rubble from the patches. Raked to the sides this creates a simple and natural border for the plots. These were then rotovated to prepare them for planting, and manure has been spread over the top. Fences have been erected around the plots to keep the goats from disturbing them. Hopefully doing this now before anything is planted will get them used to no longer having that space to roam in.


The next step is to cover the plots for winter. The plan is to use cardboard and plastic sheeting. This will keep the rain from disturbing the manure and insulate the soil, allowing the worms to do their jobs. Come the spring, the soil will be enriched and ready to plant.

 

Alys-Rose

Draw-international intern

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View from the garden in the spring

The idea behind Art House Caylus was to create a community garden. A place where people could grow and share their own produce. An aide to those on lower incomes, a chance to share knowledge and expertise. With the work being shared amongst those involved, with everyone getting something for their time.

In theory, it is simple. An exchange of time for goods. However, the original state of the garden made the practice a little more difficult. Rocks were moved, plants and trees cleared, and with time things progressed. From the start, the intent was to do things as ecologically as possible. Any rubble will be reincorporated into the garden, as much use as possible will be made of the existing features and plants. For this purpose, goats were used to clear the scrub and weeds that had grown up over the years of disuse.

For the garden itself, the plan is to grow as much sustainable fruit and veg as possible. Things that only need to be planted once, and re-flower and regrown year in year out, therefore getting maximum yield for minimum work. Already in the garden, there are several forms of fruit trees, which once tended, will flourish even more. Alongside this, there would naturally be a herb garden, for no practical garden would be complete without them. In addition to plants with culinary purposes, those with medicinal ones would also be incorporated.

This is a project which needs the help and support of the community. Whether in the form of time and physical assistance or expertise on anything from plants to construction. Any support would be more than welcome.