Our Permaculture Year

July 2017

This month we were at Donna and Martin’s. Read more in this PDF.

June 2017

At Donna and Martin’s in Cwmdu.

This month we were at Donna and Martin’s land in Cwmdu.  They have several acres in a most beautiful spot just underneath Tipi Valley.  They have only been there for 3 years, but they have managed to get an amazing way in to creating a growing area from part of their field.  They have put a polytunnel up and have obviously worked really hardtop make it so productive.

The day was rainy.  Yes, definitely mostly rainy, and so the four of us in our raincoats got stuck in, extending the growing area by digging and forking.

It didn’t rain all day and there was lots of chat and laughter and sharing of stories and tips.  When it did rain, we dipped into the polytunnel to try the different plants and fruits, or in the shed where we could see the band of rain moving along in this amazing microclimate – and later on the patches of blue sky that presaged the sun coming out properly.  Which it did, later.

As usual, lunch was a great and different experience, having it in a barn and sitting outside in the sun eating Donna’s veggie hotdogs and Martin’s freshly picked mint tea.  It was Martin’s birthday so we had a pretty amazing cake to celebrate.  Donna and Martin were very pleased with the bit that got done, especially in such poor gardening weather. Thank you both for being such wonderful hosts!

Because we got rather less done than we would have liked, we discussed and decided that we would have another go at Donna and Martin’s next month, 9th July.

Guests, friends and new members welcome.   Please contact Sue on 07780 544470 for details.

May 2017

This month we were at Mandy’s place in Llansadwrn which is a small holding with horses and chickens. The last time our group was there, we “rediscovered” Mandy’s homemade polytunnel which was surrounded by brambles. Read more in this PDF…

April 2017

At Ella’s,  Bronhafod

Quite a large group gathered at Ella’s at the April Permaculture workday.  The sky was a deep, cloudless blue and the sun shined on us all day.  We started off the session by boiling up a Gillie kettle for tea and having a look at the area Ella wanted to design for her learning space.  It was so nice to be back at Bronhafod after a couple of years and continue to work on the land that Kathleen worked on for so many years..

The area to be worked on included some old and new hugel beds, a willow fedge, quite a bit of tufty marsh grass and very weedy vegetable beds.

By the end of the really quite short session, we had weeded two hugel beds and made them ready for planting, and prepared a third which would stand for a year under tarp before use.

A lot of march grass was scythed and removed, the willow fedge was pruned and the weedy veg beds were dug over and deweeded.  The areas around other vegetable beds were mowed.  It all made a great difference, and Ella’s area started to look like the learning space she had visualised.  We were all pleased with what we had done and then came lunch time.

Lunch was on Ella’s amazing large sweet chestnut veranda facing the sun.  There was home-made cider! and plates and plates of colourful salads made up of foraged plants. Home made bread and bakes, coleslaws and cakes, Fair trade chocolate and so much more.

As usual we didn’t stop chatting and sharing our ideas.  It was a lovely day all round, especially getting to know the three new members.  We finished the session by reluctantly leaving, but sharing and taking away some spare plants.  (I had a raspberry which is already flowering.) Some photos were taken which I will post when they come through.

March 2017

What happened at the March 2017 Permaculture Workday at Louise and Kamen’s in Llandovery

This month we were at Louise and Kamen’s place. They have an acre of land between Llandovery and Llanwrda on a back road. They have only been there a year or so and Louise is keen to get her land working for her. She started growing some fruit and vegetables in her first year, but has plans to build on that experience now that she has had her permaculture year of observation.

In order to move forward with her plans, Louise decided that a shed would be the best way to begin her growing project. This would give her much needed organisation, a place to store her tools as well as essential workspace. Louise had already more than half completed her 10’ x 4’ shed construction using found and recycled materials such as pallets and tin/plywood sheets when the workgroup arrived last weekend.

We gathered at 10.30 and worked until 1.30 putting sides and roof sheets on. Some raised beds and flower pots were also liberated from weeds and brambles ready to be planted up. Ideas of a planting scheme was talked about.

The weather was pleasant and there seemed to be a lot of laughing and climbing up and down ladders and nicking tools from each other. We moved the project on quite a bit, but unfortunately, as with many construction jobs, it took longer than we had expected and hoped. Nevertheless, Louise was very pleased with what we achieved and said that it had given her the impetus to finish the job.

We had a fantastic lunch, as usual, eaten outside with the table groaning with breads and dips and cawl and cheese and salads talking, sharing ideas, problems, encouragement, tips, recipes, supporting and inspiring each other. No photos were taken this time as we were just too busy, but we hope to send out pictures of Louise’s completed project as soon as it is ready. One thing that was agreed during lunch was that we would like to return to Louise’s for the May workday to make sure the shed has been completed!

Next month’s Permaculture day is at Ella’s. If anyone has ever been to Kathleen’s land on previous permaculture days, you will now be at Ella’s!

Guests, friends and new members welcome.

Please contact Sue on 07780 544470 for details

February 2017

This month the group met at Lynne and Steve’s land to kickstart their preparation for this year’s fruit and vegetable growing.

We worked for a couple of hours in and around the polytunnel in perfect mild and dry weather chatting and sharing information about the growing system Lynne and Steve have set up.

Polytunnel interior Polytunnel and veg seedlings in field

Jobs done:

  • Weeding the polytunnel beds
  • Digging up last year’s strawberries
  • Transplanting strawberries to an outside bed
  • Undoing all the old tomato strings
  • Digging over the beds
  • Washing all the half-buried tomato pots for re-use
  • Tidying up the polytunnel contents and tools
  • Digging over and preparing outside beds
  • Removing a large pile of brash to clear an area for composting
  • Digging up a large, unexpected stash of root vegetables

As usual, we had a great chatty lunch with a feast of fabulous home cooked food. Lynne shared out her surplus seed packets as well as the unexpected root vegetables stash. Thank you both for hosting a very enjoyable Permaculture session. Our March Permaculture work day is at Louise and Kamen’s home near Llandovery where they hope to finish their recycled tool shed so they can move towards growing their own fruit and veg.

October 2016

Permaculture gathering at Howard’s (written by Howard)

On 9th October 2016 several of us gathered at Howard’s: Steve, Lynne, Lucie and Martyn. We were also delighted to welcome Howard’s new neighbours, Ally, Mike, Jake and Nathan to the group who hope to host a meeting at some point in the future.

The major task was to build the basic structure of a raised/hugel bed by digging in upright stakes and then building up the walls with willow poles, cut from trees Anson had helpfully felled on previous visits.

Clearing brash for Hugel bed by house and field

The poles were cut to size and brash laid in the base to provide future fertility for crops that deer seem to dislike – e.g. celery, fennel, raspberries and potatoes.

composting branches put in a hugel bed

The flower/herb beds were extended and the turves were added to the raised bed. More poles will be cut and used to build up the side of the bed in January, the bed will then be filled with horse manure, compost and leaf-mould.

Leafmould in a compost bed

Piles of leaves were collected from the driveway to add to the leaf-mould pile.

Larch logs

Larch logs were hauled up from the bottom of the Himalayan slope for firewood (if only there were a similar supply *uphill*!)

Clearing brash

Some kindling was prepared and a bed weeded.

clearing brash for a hugel bed

We finished up with a tasty potluck of various contributions, including Vegan “Shepherd’s” Pie and Sweet Potato Brownies from Martyn, beetroot salad plus couscous and spicy courgette dishes, rounded off with elderflower cordial.

Many thanks to all involved, many hands making light work of more daunting tasks! Extra thanks to Colin for receiving people initially.

• The November meeting will be at John and Steve’s on November 6th. There are no takers for the December meeting yet.

• Sue is happy to stand down after her stint as co-ordinator if anyone wants to take up the role. many, many thanks to her for her work. Lynne may be able to take over the role, depending on her circumstances and time available next month.

• The idea was mooted that the administration of the group take place through Facebook. It was not widely known that a secret Facebook group (membership by invitation only) had already been set up called “Permaculture Tywi”. In previous meeting misgivings have been expressed about Facebook, so it was thought that the co-ordination would run as previously, with those wishing to join the Facebook group free to do so.

A link to the obituary for the wonderful and inspiring Bill Mollison who co-founded the twentieth century Permaculture movement. Thank you Bill !!

August 2016

What-happened-at-the-August-2016-Permaculture-Workday-2 What-happened-at-the-August-2016-Permaculture-Workday-3 What-happened-at-the-August-2016-Permaculture-Workday-4 What-happened-at-the-August-2016-Permaculture-Workday-5 What-happened-at-the-August-2016-Permaculture-Workday-7 What-happened-at-the-August-2016-Permaculture-Workday-8 loading compost into raised bedsWhat happened at the August 2016 Permaculture Workday at Lucie’s in Gwynfe.

This month we were at Lucie and Nick’s place, which was a new venue for the group. Jobs for the day to support her sustainable living were:

1. Creating good pathways between her raised beds as the land is a bit boggy. Their raised beds are still under construction to increase the family’s regular veg harvest, but there are already several in the process of producing a great harvest…

2. Another job was to protect the long young hedge that Lucie had planted to stop deer attacks, by pulling out all the weeds that were inhibiting its growth.

To create the pathways we first weeded between the raised beds, then cut and fixed strips of carpet and geotex to the sides of the raised beds, then barrowed loose stone and raked it out to create a neat dry surface. This would also now reduce slugs, Lucie said….

We started the session with a cup of herbal tea and gluten free flapjacks then thirteen happy people weeded, raked and barrowed from 10.30 to approx 1pm.

It was a warm and slightly cloudy day – perfect weather for the work in hand.

There were dogs playing, and a handful of little people helping and jumping on the trampoline….

Fantastic colourful healthy food to share. Young people watching and learning……

Talking, sharing ideas, problems, encouragement, tips, recipes, supporting and inspiring each other, we shared and ate beautiful food on Nick’s beautiful pottery in a beautiful place. Lucie was very pleased with what we all achieved. Thank you to all who came and especially to the new members!

Next meeting – September – we are at Sara and James’s place at Red Pig Farm. New members welcome. Please contact Sue on 07780 544470 for details.

March 2016

This month saw us at Mat’s place. A new host for the Permaculture group.

Mat, who has attended several sessions in the past 8 months had several jobs on the land that would help him to become more self-sufficient in his firewood and food production.

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Eight (and a half) members came on the slightly cold and damp day and worked for 3 hours.

Jobs achieved were: Weeding four raised beds and setting up two cloches ready to receive the broad beans which will be started off in root trainers inside the house then transplanted to the cloches – and then into the raised bed when they are a bit stronger and the earth isn’t so cold. Thank you John, John and Howard!

Pruning the apple trees, thanks Colin!

Splitting welsh leek clumps and replanting them as separate plants. This meant that members could pot some up and take home a few. Thank you Sara and Howard!

Bramble Bashing. A large area of Brambles was cleared by James and his sharp billhook, allowing access to other parts of the land.

John and Sue planted 60 garlic cloves in the newly weeded raised bed. I must remember to weed them well and when the foliage has turned brown between july and august, I will have a great crop to plait up.

Sue and Mat made some courgette towers from old crates.

We wanted to make them high off the ground because of the rabbits…….

Plashing – James laying the beginnings of a hedge on the track using a sharp billhook Sue and Mat did some coppicing of Hazel and Blackthorn.

They were coppiced at 24 inches high because of the rabbits like to eat the new growth – so we covered the coppiced stool with bits of prickly brash to deter the rabbits even further.

A good bit of firewood material was collected which will dry out over the summer, then be chopped and stacked ready for next winter’s fires.

Johannes sorted out the flowers on the track.

We all had a lovely day and finished with hot spicy root and bean stew and home made spelt/rye bread with more tasty contributions from all the members.

Members made sure to keep their carbon footprint low.

Next meeting is at Anne and Alan’s, more information nearer the time. Don’t forget to car share! Thank you everyone! New members always welcome. Please contact Sue if you would like to join the monthly permaculture sessions on 07780 544470.

Download the above as a PDF by clicking on the following link:

February 2016

We were at Lewys and Hafsa’s new allotment in February at Dinefywr Home Farm.

The couple have a plan for their plot and needed help to start their off their vision.

The jobs were mainly to dig and turn over the ground ready for planting, so everyone brought wellies, forks, spades and wet gear in case of rain.

12 members attended the workday and luckily, it didn’t rain. Loads got done and we finished with a great lunch as usual.

We are looking forward to updates from Lewys and Hafsa and watching their land becoming abundant. Well done and thank you everyone! See you at next month’s permaculture session at Mat’s.

New members very welcome. Please contact Sue on 077805 44470 to enquire about joining in. Download the above as a PDF by clicking on the following link:

January 2016

Just a quick catch up on what we did at January’s Work session.

For those of you that couldn’t make this one, we were at Colin and Cath’s in Golden Grove doing some coppicing of the Willows that Colin is growing for firewood.

permaculture at Sues in January 2016  IMG_2137

Because of the recent wet and windy weather we haven’t had our usual sessions, and because we weren’t even sure about this one, the date wasn’t set until the last minute.

This meant that there were five members that could make it.  Several apologies were sent though and some good ideas for the next meeting.

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Colin’s coppice rotation is around 3 years and whatever was left after we had finished lopping, sawing, snedding and sizing, went back onto the ground to suppress the weeds.  I heard Colin say – give as much as you can back to the land!

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We were very lucky with the weather, and – even though it got a bit muddy – we all had a lovely few hours ending with a homemade lunch.

permaculture at Sues in January 2016 coppicing

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permaculture at Sues in January 2016 hens

October 2015

Permaculture group at Llandeilo work session

This month 17 permaculture group members turned up to Sue’s wood to do a variety of projects. It was a very busy and enjoyable day and lots got achieved.

Permaculture group at Llandeilo work session

We began at 10.30am with a look at the projects and a tool talk from Matt.

Permaculture group at Llandeilo work session

Projects achieved were:

  1. Compost bay made from pallets
  2. Raised bed made from larch posts and planks milled from the larch in the wood
  3. Tool shed (almost) completed under the solar panels
  4. Bramble clearing for next fruit tree planting project
  5. Fruit bush pruning
  6. Larch rounds chopped and stacked
  7. Oak Coppice boughs sawn and stacked

Permaculture group at Llandeilo work session

After 3 hours of concerted enjoyable working, lunch was made from everyone’s contributions. We shared knowledge, ideas and spare apples, as well as birthday celebrations for Hafsa and Sue.

Permaculture group at Llandeilo work session

Well done and thank you everyone.

Annie stood down as Permaculture Group co-ordinator and Sue Wakefield has taken on the role. From now on contact Sue on 077805 44470 to enquire about joining the group.

Permaculture group at Llandeilo work sessionSee you at next month’s permaculture session at John’s. New members very welcome.

September 2015

The Transition Tywi permaculture group on the 6th september 2015 at the garden of Lynne & Steve

 There were six of us at the meeting at Lynne & Steve’s on 6th September. The  two jobs were  to assemble the polytunnel pieces, and erect it if we’d managed to get the ground plates in, and to clear the entrance to our established copse of brambles and clear the path and bluebell area of brambles, so long sleeves and shears and secateurs were helpful!

It was a lovely day and a lot of undergrowth was cleared.

August 2015

On 2 August we met at Colin’s land. 8 group members turned up to help clear overgrown hedges blocking the track.

PErmaculture group at LLandeilo August 2015

PErmaculture group clearing land at Llandeilo August 2015

Heavy work clearing gorse and brambles etc. followed by a good lunch !

***We are always looking for new members to join us.
F.F.I. please contact Annie on 07890 120123 or email : aj@anniedavisllen.co.uk

May 2015

6 members turned up to help with various jobs at Anne & Alan’s on May 10th, and repaired a wooden bridge & cleared tree guards in the field. Anne is offering to teach people how to make their own top bar bee hive. Please contact Annie on 07890 120123 for more info.

Explaining how to make a top bar bee hive

Explaining how to make a top bar hive

Clearing away rotten old wood from a small bridge

Clearing away rotten old wood from a small bridge

The new bridge in place

The new bridge in place

Removing tree guards from young fruit trees.

Removing tree guards from young fruit trees.

The next meeting is at Annie’s on June 14th.

January 2015

The first permaculture meeting this year was at Colin’s on January 11. Although only 3 turned up, quite a lot of useful work was achieved.

Fence posts went in and the hedge got trimmed:

Hedge trimming

A pile of logs  was sawn up for the fire:

Sawing logs for firewood

Gravel was laid on the garden path:

 gravel path in garden

We finished up with a lovely lunch provided by Kath.

I am looking for members to host Sunday meetings over the next few months. Call Annie on  07890 120123 if you’re interested.

November 2014

Gathering at Sue’s: 13 members present

The jobs were to clear the pond so that next year, the ponds biodiversity will have the best conditions; the wild raspberry canes were removed and the forest garden area cleared, ready for apple and nut tree pruning over the next month.

The log stove chimney got thoroughly cleaned, a whole wood store bay full of logs were chopped and stacked for seasoning ready for use in a few months time.  And the big project of creating a small shed got three quarters done – and will be completed over the next week.  Huge thanks to everyone who came.  – Sue

The website of Transition Tywi Trawsnewid, Carmarthenshire, Wales