PLANNING THE REFINE STAGE
Design – Produce your design. Revisit your boundaries and resources, are your plans realistic? It may be helpful to present your design in a visual format even if it is a non-land based design. How could you share your design with other people?
Practical tasks – How are you going to make your design happen? Make your implementation and maintenance plans. Do the work, make your design a reality and document the process.
Tweaks – Tweak the project as you progress.
ACTIVITY FOR THE REFINE STAGE
The designing has been divided into three sections;
- Foraging in the local area
- Adding herbs and medicinal plants to my home garden.
- So what will I do with all these plants once I’ve grown or foraged for them?
- Foraging in the local area.
- In the woods – Wild garlic, garlic mustard, rocket, nettles and elder.
- In the park and meadow – Elder, roses, garlic mustard, yarrow and nettles
- Along the paths – Elder, roses, nettles and garlic mustard
- Along the canal paths – Elder, roses, nettles and garlic mustard
2. Adding herbs and medicinal plants to my home garden.
To save time and effectively use resources, I have re-used the map of my garden that I created previously in Design 2 Food from my garden. I Have used this as my base map and added overlays for this design.
In summary, these are the changes that I’ve made to date before this particular design;
1. The two large beds at the bottom of the map have been partially removed and replaced with patios. They are lovely sunny spots where we enjoy resting, relaxing and cooking over the campfire. Boarder beds remain as do the large overhanging fruit trees.
2. The children now each have their own raised bed in which to plan whatever they like. All three beds have some perennial plants that are thriving and the kids plant annual flowers and veg crops around these.
3. One of the raised beds had been removed and replaced with a chicken house and attached run. We only have three chickens now, so they need less room.
4. The large chicken shed and runs have been removed. This has opened up a large area that I have not yet planned what to do with. it may become a lawned area or maybe an outdoor kitchen or maybe a play area for the kids. This is another design in itself.
5. The soft fruit/ forest garden beds are doing well. We harvest lots of fruit from them now and I plan on continuing to work on making them even more productive over the coming years.
3. So what will I do with all these plants once I’ve grown or foraged for them?
Part of my design is to make my own homemade herbal remedies using the plants that I’ve chosen. Last year while I was in the thinking/ researching stages for this design, I made a few remedies. Some were made at home and some on a day course I went on about making herbal oils and balms. I’ve been using them on myself and my family over the winter months and enjoying the process of experimenting and learning.
Other remedies I am planning on trying out;
I am planning on making Elderberry syrup next autumn using this recipe here
I will also make Rosehip syrup again using a recipe like this one here
I will make lemon honey ginger drinks like this simple recipe here
I will try the flu bomb essential oils remedies as roller balls and capsules like this one here
I will make lots of wild garlic pesto and will add other foraged green in to a recipe similar to this one
I will be experimenting with a new plant in my garden, Yarrow and using it for remedies like the one here
Practical tasks – Implementation and maintenance plans
I found that when I wrote my goal list, it turned into an implementation plan! So you can view that against the end of this post here.
I turned my goals list into an implementation plan by re-formatting it into monthly chunks. This makes it more clear to see what needs to be done and the timescales involved. I have printed out a copy of this table and am ticking off each task as it is achieved.
|MONTH||TASKS TO DO|
|FEBRUARY||I will draw up a plan of how to add my chosen plants into my home garden.|
|I will prune my elder|
|I will walk the local area to look at what is growing and talk with people with local knowledge.|
|I will look at existing maps of my area and draw my own version showing where to find the plants I want to forage for.|
|I will look at prices for all items to purchase and decide on the most cost-effective way to make my purchases.|
|I will complete the write up for this design|
|MARCH||I will look in plant and seed catalogues and order my chosen plants and get ready to start them off in the spring once the weather has improved.|
|I will research herbal remedies and make decisions about what I’d like to try making this year.|
|I will find out more about using yarrow and see if it is growing locally or add it to my garden.|
|I will find some good recipes for yarrow remedies|
|I will make my food purchases and include the food items in our diet|
|I will use the oils in preventative ways and as treatments when needed|
|APRIL||I will add plants as planned in my design from April onwards|
|I will leave a patch of nettles at the end of my garden.|
|I will encourage the wild garlic, garlic mustard and rocket growing wild in my garden.|
|I will harvest wild greens at the correct time and add them to our diet as fresh greens, pestos and as cooked greens.|
|MAY||I will forage for spring greens, nettles, wild garlic, garlic mustard.|
|JUNE||I will harvest yarrow|
|SEPTEMBER||I will harvest elderberries and process to make syrup|
|OCTOBER||I will harvest rosehips after the first frost and process them to make syrup.|
I’m not really at the stage of being ready for a maintenance plan as yet as I still have to do the implementation. So this will be addressed later on in the process.
Tweaks – I have already made some initial changes to my original plans. As I’ve got further along with the process, I’ve tweaked my ideas more to be more realistic about what time and space I have available to me.
On reflection, I decided maybe not to grow the following;
- Eucalyptus (this is a non native tree, so not ideally suited to my back garden. I think that using eucalypts essential oils will be a better option)
- Echinacea and yarrow ( herbal remedies will be a better option but I may add them to my garden anyway for their beauty alone)
- Leafy greens (My chickens will eat these before I do, adding them to my weekly veg box order will be a better option)
- I’m still not sure about growing tomatoes either as when I’ve grown these for the last few years, I have found them to be a lot of work and I’ve lot almost the entire harvest to blight at the last-minute. Once blight is in your ground, it’s very hard to grow the same plant type again without succumbing to it again.
As this project is an ongoing project that has not yet been implemented, I expect there will be lots of further tweaks to my design in the future.