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A look back at 2012

A belated happy new year to all our friends and followers.

Since it is very cold and snowy this is a nice moment to have look back at the last year. This year has been the second year for the TTPermatuin on the Eng – and it was busy! We began developing the herb garden and ornamental kitchen garden with donated materials and plants. Our new mini-plot project (where people can use a 12m2 plot to learn to grow) proved popular and productive in the summer. We are very happy to say that Wageningen’s permatuin helped around a dozen people to grow their first vegetables ever!

In addition to getting our hands dirty we also organised a few events. In June we were delighted that Fransje de Waard, permaculture author (‘Tuinen Van Overvloed’) and ex-Wageningenite, could come and talk at the TTV’s Permacultuurgroep’s permaculture evening, hosted by Stichting Boerengroep as part of the ‘Grassroots Science’ series of lectures. This was very popular with around 90 locals and students in the audience.

Over the summer lots of people joined in our work sessions or got a tour of the garden. We also organised special guided-tours for several groups including, Probus, Wageningen Environmental Platform (WEP), Wageningen University Climate Change Summer School 2012, and TAWE.

Probus 85 visit

Probus 85 visit

In July ASEED  asked TTPermatuin to do some workshops at the Agriculture Action Camp in Den Bosch where we networked with Transition Town Den Bosch who are beginning to work on their own permatuin. We welcomed the Den Bosch team to Wageningen for a private workshop and tour around the TTPermatuin for inspiration and education on growing systems and less common productive plants. Good luck, ladies! (http://denbosch.transitiontowns.nl/werkgroepen/permacultuur-eetbare-stad).

Later in the Summer, Fiona was sponsored to attend the European Permaculture Convergence in Germany, where she was able to present the TTPermatuin to a small workshop including the Chief Executive of the UK’s Permaculture Association (www.permaculture.org.uk), Andy Goldring, who offered their official ‘approval’ for the project. At the start of the academic year in September, the project lectured at Wageningen University, where permaculture is now part of the ‘Organic Agriculture and Society’ course, then gave 55 students a guided tour. We have also given interviews about the project to STOAS and Van Hall Larestein.

Overall, the unexpected delight was the explosion of poppies that created an incredible mid-summer flower garden at the project. Theo, who supports us but can no-longer garden himself, is crazy about poppies of all shapes and colours and always grew some every year. This meant that we had a wonderful seed-bank in the soil. Along with the usual wild flowers, these filled-in leftover space throughout the garden and gave the bees a present (2012 was the Year of the Bee). It also gave local photographer, Hélène Westerhof a present, since she loved to come and photograph the flowers, and even won a competition with one she took there!

poppies 3 bees

Poppies were this year’s delight, this is one of the magnificent pictures taken by local photographer H. Westerhof.

DSCF0786

Taking soil samples for testing at the university

This year WUR tested some soil samples for us so we will soon have our first data. We hope to do this every year, along with weighing produce and surveying wildlife, in order to see how our cutting-edge methods work. In the forest garden this summer we had a huge crop of plums – two years ago no-one knew what kind of fruit trees we had since none of them had fruited for so many years. So, we love our little plum tree, it shows what good soil management can achieve!

The forest garden appeared as an example in an article for Seizonen, written by Lucas Brouns, from http://www.oefenboerderij.nl. It is also mentioned on http://www.velt.be (search for TTPermatuin). This was great fun, and hopefully it will encourage people with a slightly shady garden, or little time for gardening, to experiment with an alternative food-growing system which provides multiple benefits to the local ecology.                            

At the end of summer we joined the first Wageningen underground food market, the Molenmarkt, and registered the TTPermatuin on http://www.permacultuurnederland.org, a national map of permaculture projects. Now we will spend the winter putting more infrastructure in the garden and writing-up more information for the website.

This autumn we received large planters from our friends at the now finished project at the Nobelveldje. They will be part of  the outdoor kitchen which is under construction right now.  Work is at a low right now, since it is freezing and snowing, but come better weather it will be busy,  so if you want to join us, check the website for workdays or events: http://www.ttpermatuin.wordpress.com.

If would like to support the project we are always very grateful for offers of materials – straw or grass clippings for mulching the soil, wood, gravel, gardening tools, seeds, and plants (especially less common ones like asparagus, and suikerwortel). If you are our Sinter Klaas then contact Tom via ttpermatuin@gmail.com. If you would like to make a donation contact TTVallei@gmail.com or donate directly, putting ‘TTPermatuin’ in the message section of your bank transfer: Bankrekening: Triodos 39.05.18.662  tnv Transition Town Vallei.

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