Muddy Boots allotment playgroup begins!

I completed my to-do list in the nick of time and ran my first session at the allotment this week. It was fantastic! Both morning and afternoon sessions were fully booked and almost everyone turned out despite it drizzling with rain for the entire day. I am so please (and relieved) to have got to this point. It always is a HUGE effort to get the group off the ground again each spring. Now comes the fun bit of running sessions every friday.

I was rushed off my feet all day, so didn’t manage to get any good pics of the site all finished and prepped, but will aim to do this next week. Following are some pics that I did take of the participants enjoying the activities and the re-vamped site.

Muddy Boots garden re-design CEAP. Plan a schedule of implementation,maintenance, evaluation and tweaks.


February Re-measure and photograph the plot Early feb
Spend a few hours up at the allotment doing observations, sketching and planning the new layout Early feb
Sketch out a base map and play around with possible layouts of the main features Early feb
Get quotes for all building materials and decide where to source these from. Early feb
Buy building materials for fence/gate/play kitchen Half term
Take down the south wall of the existing fence and put up new one Half term
Put in the new gate and tower posts Half term
Put the new bolts on the gates By sessions start
Research mud kitchen ideas and re-do this feature End feb
Clear the movable objects from the newly enlarged space so I can see the layout more clearly End feb
March Draw out my finalised plans Early March
Tidy the shed and do a stock check. Make a list of any equip or materials I need to buy for this seasons activities. Early march
Begin saving tin cans for the allotment planters Early march
Move the sandpit End march
Buy more sand and fill it up By session start
Mark out the triangular bed Early march
Make the willow den Mid march
Cut the grass/ rake over to clear debris Mid march
Buy the marine ply board for the blackboard/ painting board/ spotted board/ welcome signs End march
Install the blackboard/ painting board etc and paint them in situ End march
Define the boundary of the strawberry bed and apple tree guild bed End march
Buy more plastic plates and another thermos flask End march
April Drill holes into the tin can planters Early april
Install the tin can planters and plant up with pansies By session start
Select, print and laminate some photos or pics of fruit/veg/flowers to decorate the picket fence. Put these up with staple gun. By session start
Mow lawns again By session start
Test out gazebos and decide which one to use Early april
Gather ground sheets, blankets etc Early april
Take home and wash and return all snack and drink utensils By session start
Buy washing up liquid, tea, coffee etc plus sponges, wash up equip By session start
Final checks before first session on April 15th By session start



We spent three bright and cold days at the allotment over half term. We re-made the fence line and installed a new gate leading out into the wider community allotment.

Day 1 – moving the fence and beginning to re-install it. IMG_1235IMG_1233

Day 2 – completing the fence and putting in the gate


Day 3. Moving the blue planters, moving a cherry tree, making the triangular corner bed and beginning work on the mud kitchen.


The P of CEAP is for Plan a schedule of implementation, maintenance, evaluation and tweaking.

But where is the actual design bit? This seems to come up a lot for me when using Permaculture design process systems. There is lots of detail about how to prepare for producing your design, but it never actually says “now draw your design” why is this?

So I have chosen to draw my design at this point in the design process. As at this point the space was more open and I could visualise the layout more clearly. I sketched out a rough plan for the new design while at the allotment and then worked more on the design at home.

So this is the design that I feel most happy with at the moment, but I am open to making more changes as the project rolls on and the space tells me what it needs. So I’ve kept the design loose, still using pieces of paper on the base map and not drawing it out in full yet.


UPDATE – Here is the final design drawn out and coloured in!


and a  close up to show some of the details.


My garden design – Design process part 5

Two weeks ago I had a design support tutorial with my tutor Hannah Thorogood. This spurred me on with writing up the design and was a great way of accepting and sharing feedback. We worked through an assessment sheet, looking at areas requiring work and discussing helpful suggestions for the next time I work on a design. I left feeling pleased with what I had achieved and with a clear plan of the stages I needed to complete. I have shared my design on this blog and via Facebook, so would be happy to receive feedback from anyone who feels they would like to offer me some!

Now that I have completed the ‘Design’ stage of the action learning cycle, I move onto the ‘Do’ stage.  So I have been busy developing an implementation plan. I have actually already began stages of the design. I have been considering this design since I completed my PDC in 2012, so I have been making changes in my garden with the design in mind.


WORK COMPLETED TO DATE                                                                                    Spring 2013 – Raised beds created to provide additional growing spaces.                      Fruit trees planted and additional soft fruit bushes added.

Autumn 2013 – Garden observations began to be recorded as monthly blog updates. Raised bed edges fixed and increased in height. Raised beds mulched for over the winter with chicken bedding, cardboard, chop and drop and compost heaps.

January 2014 – Sectional chicken run created and old chicken run area reclaimed to be   key hole bed.

February 2014 – More fruit trees planted

March 2014 – Fence panels mended and water capture and storage system created from the chicken shed roof.

WORK PLANNEDIMG_0954I have drawn up a basic implementation plan using tasks on post-it-notes. This allows me to shift the jobs around on the planner to create an adaptable plan that is flexible. I will probably also do a more detailed plan focusing more on the plants and when things need sowing, potting on, planting out etc.

I just wanted to finish by sharing my daughter’s garden design. She presented it to me and asked me to put it on my blog! She has been inspired to create her own Permaculture design for the garden. I think it looks great, I am a proud mum. IMG_0955