My seventh design was a re-design and extension to the space on the community allotment where I hold Muddy Boots alotment playgroup. The initial design for this space was for my PDC and can be viewed on this website as it is design number 1.
The re-design was made possible when I had a successful funding bid from ‘Get growing’ to invest in growing my business, enlarging the space and inviting more people to join my groups.
Design summary and reflections
|DESIGN||Muddy Boots garden re-design|
|In late 2015 Muddy Boots was awarded a small grant to develop our meeting space. I decided to use this to enlarge the allotment plot to have more scope for activity on site and to enable me to invite more people to join each session. This design is a land based one, detailing how I carried out these changes to the space that I’d originally designed for my PDC (design number 2 in portfolio)|
|WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT PERMACULUTRE FROM DOING THIS DESIGN?||· I used the design process CEAP as I hadn’t used it before and I wanted something that seemed relatively quick and straightforward.
· I learnt that permaculture tools and processes were becoming deeply embedded in my thinking and I was using some of them almost unconsciously.
|WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF FROM DOING THIS DESIGN?||I learnt that I should ask for help! I struggled to find the time and energy for the heavy physical work like installing new fences and hanging new gates. However, when I mentioned this to group members, numerous people said that they would have been happy to help out. I need to remember this!|
|HOW HAS THIS DESIGN HELPED ME?||Having a larger plot to meet at enabled me to increase the number of people attending the group by about a third. This provided me with more income each week and made the group more sustainable as a career for me in the long term.|
|WHAT WENT WELL WITH THIS DESIGN?||· I feel I used permaculture tools in a concise and effective way to help me make the right design decisions in a quick manner.
· I had lots of great feedback from group members about the design and enjoyed spending time in the space throughout the year.
|WHAT DID I FIND DIFFICULT WITH THIS DESIGN?||· I found it hard to find the time to draw out a final design. I had lots of rough plans but didn’t draw out my final design until well after the work had been done. This was down to time constraints.
· I found the tight timescale rather stressful
· I found that the group didn’t maintain their individual square foot gardens as I’d hoped. They quickly became overgrown and neglected. The children were more interested in short directed gardening tasks and free play opportunities. Some parents were keen on having their own plots, but with just a few minutes per week and young children to watch over, their time and attention was very limited. I will design something different and lower maintenance for the raised bed next season.
|WHAT ARE MY NEXT STEPS FOR THIS DESIGN?
|· To maintain the space over the years and add the herbs and fruit tress as detailed on the plan.
· To begin working on the plot with the groups again March – November each year.
|WHAT ARE MY LONG TERM GOALS AND VISIONS FOR THIS DESIGN?||· Eventually I’d like to remove the raised bed and replace it with another along a boundary.
· I’d like to take over a poly tunnel on the site to make a sheltered playing/ meeting/ planting area that would allow me to run the group through more months of the year.
· I’d really like my own piece of land with some kind of interesting eco building classrooms; space for parking and large wooded areas as well as traditional allotment plots to run Muddy Boots allotment playgroup and Forest school as my full time business.