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Closing the loop for my home veggies 🥕

Well what a dull and uneventful G7 meeting that was. Thank goodness for the amazing creative protest movement with their puppets, giant heads and other spectacular imagery to liven things up. Meanwhile, with unprecedented, shockingly violent heatwaves and yet more wildfires, its as if the planet has now also made its own comment on our ‘leaders’ total lack of vision and comprehension. As XR has been saying, “we are sorry to cause you minor disruption, but we are trying to bring your attention to the major disruption coming our way if we don’t change course urgently.

All the rain in Salisbury has meant that the garden is now looking truly wild. My sluggish pond, choked with last years autumn leaves, appears to be sorting itself out. Plenty of oxygenating plants doing well somewhere in there, and duck weed, presumably introduced by pigeons, is actually doing a good job of using up the excess oxygen. Although itching to interfere, it’s probably doing better for being left alone.

My no-dig beds are full of weeds, the odd endive, bean and shallot bravely struggling though last years rampant potatoes, poppies and dandelions.

I adore the mullein moth caterpillars (can you spot it?) covering the giant mullein and totally ignoring the munchable veg hidden in plain sight. Thank goodness for species ‘specificity’. The benefits of shaded and covered soil are huge, though there is a need to balance that against the competition for nutrients. I do love this graphic (below) which shows the difference in soil temperatures.

I have 4 very mature, beautiful ash trees, sadly succumbing to ash die back. As they are a potential danger, not just to my property but to my neighbours, I feel I have no alternative to felling them. I have 2 options: (a) pollard to about 30feet and give them a few more years to provide habitat, sequester carbon and benefit my microclimate, or (b) fell totally and lay up the timber to be used in house renovation or elsewhere. Either way the small stuff will provide firewood, mulch and leafmould. I am going to need some advice on this from an expert. PLEASE let me know if you can help, or know anyone (going rates paid of course).

In advance of agreeing plans for the house retrofitting, I have decided to crack on with any changes that (hopefully) don’t affect the bigger decisions to come. First up is converting the garage room into a usable guestroom. Rather than wasting resources plumbing-in a bathroom, I am instead eagerly awaiting my handmade, handpainted compost loo from Strumpet and Trollope and admiring my pre-loved washstand courtesy of Facebook Marketplace. Can’t wait for our unsuspecting guests to admire the amazing veg produced from their very own digestive systems (thus solving the pre-mentioned nutrient competition problem). This is really what we mean by closing the loop!

The compost loo needs an outhouse – anyone up for a ‘dunny-building’ party? Food, drink and music offered in exchange for cobbling together a weather proof cover. Anyone interested do please get in touch and we can borrow the necessary tools from Share Salisbury. We could even use the ‘vision door’ from People in the Park 2020, with users adding their own visions for the future. I wonder if the experience will affect their imagination horizons?

Whilst talking about housing visitors, I have long had an interest in social housing projects and Community Land Trusts. I am really inspired by the Malachi Place Solohaus Project Partnership (between The Salvation Army, the Hill Group and Citizens UK). At £47,000 per unit, they are so energy efficient they cost only £5 per week to run. Councils and landowners have been asked to find ‘small pockets of land’ where such units can be built – and I reckon I could fit 2 or 3 in my front driveway! I just have to ask the developers if they can be made entirely self-sufficient and come with compost loos as standard….

Well I can’t wait for the responses to this post! Are Salisbury folk up for the humanure challenge and what will be the response to me giving away surplus veggies? Do you have any ideas where there might be space for small solohaus projects, or do you know anyone that can lay up and use timber the traditional way?

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