Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.

Garden visits it a blog series where I visit gardens then blog about them! 

We're back at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Macynlleth again, there's too much there for one blog post! 

I loved the Forest Garden at CAT.  Forest gardening is something I'm super interested in and something that I intend to incorporate, on a small scale, into my garden.  Basically, forest gardening is a way of working with nature to grow food crops.  If you visit a woodland you'll see trees, shrubs and ground cover plants all growing together, they don't get watered or fertilized by human hand, but they still grow big and healthy.  What I've read about permaculture says that nature hates bare soil.  Nature will send in lots of things to cover bare soil, annual and perennial weeds, shrubs and trees.  Any ground left uncovered and uncultivated for long will turn itself into a mini forest and grow quite happily and abundantly.  So forest gardening uses these principals and tweaks them for human use, by choosing the right plant species, to grow low maintenance and abundant food forests that benefit people, wildlife and the environment.

Anywho, the Forest Garden at CAT is fairly small, but I think that's a good thing as it shows what's do-able in an average sized garden.

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

There are lovely old apple trees, underplanted with gooseberry and currant bushes and perennial food, flowers and herbs.

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

I loved the perennial salad area.  Growing perennial crops, rather than annuals, is another important idea in permaculture and forest gardening.  The idea is that perennials can grow better root structures and be more productive because they're longer lasting plants.  Perennials are also lower maintenance, they don't need to be sown or bought every year like annuals.  Growing perennials disturbs the soil less too, you're not yanking them out of the ground at the end of the season, so they're better for no dig gardens.  

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

There's an edible flower selection too, including things like pink purslane, creeping bellflower, snow garlic, ladies smock and campanula persicifolia. 

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Wild strawberries are used lots as ground cover. 

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

And around the back of the forest garden are more fruit bushes and a beautiful carpet of something with blue flowers that was attracting a crazy amount of bees.  It wasn't labelled but if I had to guess I'd say it was maybe either vipers bugloss or hyssop.

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

This is what CAT's website says about it's forest garden, 

"A truly ecological way of growing food. In a forest garden, the plants grow under and over, in and among each other. It is designed so that the plants help each other grow - with trees providing shade to shade-lovers, ground covers suppressing the weeds, and nitrogen fixing plants increasing the fertility. It has the same multilayered structure as a woodland, but all the plants are edible or useful. Check out our string plant and our creeping raspberry."

Here's the string plant, in case you're curious! 

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

You can read more about the Forest Garden at CAT on their website

Garden visit, the forest garden at CAT.  From UK eco friendly and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #forestgarden #organicgarden #nodiggarden #centreforalternativetechnology #garden #gardenblogger

PS.  In case you missed it, here's my post about the allotments and polytunnels at CAT.







Friday, 16 June 2017

Charity shopping.

Going on holiday means new and different charity shops to explore!  

Charity shopping. From UK charity shop blogger, secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Featuring retro bedding, pyre and Sylvac pottery. #charityshopping

I couldn't walk past this pair of retro pillowcases!
Retro pillowcases, £1.49, Aberystwyth charity shop (can't remember which one!).

Charity shopping. From UK charity shop blogger, secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Featuring retro bedding, pyre and Sylvac pottery. #charityshopping

Joe spotted this cute little mirror for me when he was rooting through a basket of stuff.  It was 10p!  10p!!!
Retro Holly Hobby-esque mirror, 10p, CRAFT second hand shop, Aberystwyth.

And that's all I bought on my holidays, I'm trying to cut down on my spending and the amount of stuff we have in this house (which is way too much!).  But that didn't stop me from having a little look in the charity shops at home too,

Charity shopping. From UK charity shop blogger, secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Featuring retro bedding, pyre and Sylvac pottery. #charityshopping

For some reason this was in the children's section of the shop, which is wrong, because it's for me! 
Wooden necklace, 25p, local Cottage Hospice charity shop. 

Charity shopping. From UK charity shop blogger, secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Featuring retro bedding, pyre and Sylvac pottery. #charityshopping

If I see a big, cheap, pretty dish I usually buy it to use in my greenhouse or conservatory to grow my seeds in.  There's no need for ugly, plasticy plant growing in my life!
Pyrex dish, £1, local Salvation Army charity shop.

Charity shopping. From UK charity shop blogger, secondhandsusie.blogspot.com Featuring retro bedding, pyre and Sylvac pottery. #charityshopping

So, I'll admit to not really knowing what this is intended to be.  A big serving dish, a planter?  I think we all know it's going to become a planter.  I can't find any info on it online, or anything or a smiliar size (it's at least a foot long!), but it's Sylvac and it was relatively cheap and so fifties looking I had to lug it home with me. 
Sylvac big dish, marked 3817, £8, local Shelter charity shop.


Have you had any luck in the charity shops lately?
 
P.S. Check out my other charity shop posts for more!  



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Make one small change, litter pick on the beach.

Making one small change at a time can make becoming eco friendly loads easier.  Lots of small changes add up to a big difference.

Make one small change, litter pick on the beach. From UK eco friendly blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #litterpick #plasticfree #makeonesmallchange #ecofriendly

If you go on your holibobs to the seaside this summer don't forget to take a minute to pick up any plastic rubbish you see.  Small bits of plastic can be eaten by sea-wildlife like birds and fish and turtles - it hurts their tummies and can end up killing them.  The main culprits we found on our recent beach holiday were plastic straws, the plastic stems of cotton buds, and plastic bottle lids.  We picked up handfuls each day and there was still loads and loads left.   

The thing is, all of these are avoidable.  You can get reusable stainless steel straws for super cheap on Ebay, paper cotton buds (I use these ones from Marks and Spencers) and reusable bottles.
So, yes to picking up litter on the beach, but also yes (please!) to changing your habits a little and producing less plastic rubbish in the first place.  Somehow it's ending up in our seas and on our beaches and that's not cool.  

Don't forget to check out my other small changes to help you live a greener life!



Friday, 9 June 2017

Life lately, Spring 2017.


Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Celebrating - Joe and I had our 1st wedding anniversary in May.  We had a lovely party with lots of family and friends (kind of a belated wedding reception!) and Joe bought me a this book, I'm not sure what that says about what he thinks of me or our relationship, but I love it anyway!

Holidaying - We had a lovely week long holiday Aberdovey last month, lovely walks on the beach, some sunny days, and an inspirational visit to CAT in Machynlleth.

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Listening to - I have a Lush Spa CD (this Beatles one) and I love soaking in a warm bath and chilling out while it's on.  

Auntie-ing - My littlest niece suddenly had this whole new vocabulary - it's all 'that's a bit manky' 'she will be disgusted by it' or 'please pass the sellopape' roud here - she's only two!  Big niece just gets cleverer and cleverer too.  We spend a lot of time checking out the tadpoles in my Mum's garden, looking at wiggly worms.  I'm so lucky I get to spend this time with them, I'm making the most of it before big one goes off to school in September!

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Watching - I don't like Amazon, but hypocritically signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime because I Really needed something delivered next day and didn't want to pay the £8 delivery fee.  So we've been watching Amazon Prime TV this month, I've watched nearly all of Awkward and Joe's been watching American Gods.  I loved the 3rd season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and the new episodes of iZombie too.  And Doctor Who is so good this season, I love Bill so much! 

Gardening - My raised beds are super productive at the moment and they're making me so happy!  I've decided to try to squeeze as many trees into the garden as possible, and started by buying 3 this month!  I've been reading lots about Permaculture and hope to include lots of Permaculture principles in the garden.

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Reading - So many gardening books, and lots of easy reads (all I can cope with during a snap general election!), I've been enjoying the Worst Witch series - please can I go and live in a witches school?!

Working - Work is workish.  It's fine.  I'm trying a new thing where I don't talk or think about work at home, and it's working out pretty well.  I came back from my holiday so lovely and calm, and I'm trying to keep hold of that feeling! 

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Looking forward to - a summer of being in the garden.

Eating - I've become a regular at my local Novello Lounge (for the vegan breakfast!) - I've been twice this week! 

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Guiding - I'm so looking forward to a big district event this month to celebrate 100 years of Guiding in Shropshire (and there'll be a special badge!)

Writing - I've started writing 'morning pages' when I have time in the mornings.  The idea is to just get up and write, stream of consciousness style, ideally 3 pages but I usually only manage 2, and it gets all your creative and stressy feelings out and helps you to work through stuff.  I was sceptical but I've been finding it really helpful.  

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Wanting - Labour to win the general election, so bad.  I'm writing this in advance, on Thursday, so I don't know what the outcome will be, but I'm hoping so hard for a Labour government, and if not I'm hoping so hard that we can come together and make it through another 5 years of the Tories.  

Life lately, spring 2017.  By UK blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com

Blogging - The most popular posts in this little corner of the internet have been, 

Use a wooden toilet brush (I don't know why, but it's popular!)






Hope you've had a happy springy spring!
 

 
 
 

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Things to think about before you vote.

Things to think about before you vote. seondhandsusie.blogspot.com #votelabour #toriesout #booTheresaMay #YeyJeremyCorbyn

Urgh.  The general election is on Thursday (the 8th of June, please don't forget to vote!).  I'm currently not friends with politics (see Brexit, Trump and Theresa May), but it's our duty to know the facts and to vote.  I'll be voting Labour.  I'm a Green Party girl at heart, but I don't think they'll win (yet, one day maybe) and I can't bear to think what another 5 years with the Tories will bring us, so Jeremy it is.  He has an allotment and buys the Big Issue after all.

Firstly (most importantly) you can vote between 7am and 10pm on Thursday.  You should have received a polling card that tells you where your polling station is.  If you've lost your card you can still vote as long as you're on the electoral register and at the right polling station and can give your name and address (find your polling station here).  If you're unsure of anything contact your local council's electoral services, they are wise and can answer all your questions. 

Find out which political party matches up with your views at I side with.

Read about why climate change matters this election, and what you can do about it.

Friend's of the Earth have published a survival guide for the election, their comparison on how the parties score on eco issues is particularly helpful.  

Check out Labour's manifesto, and the Conservatives too (if you really want to, ack, ack).  The Lib Dem's is here and the lovely Green Party's here.  

Use your vote tactically to prevent a tory victory and maybe make Brexit a little better.  

Here's some unashamedly pro Labour, pro Corbyn propaganda,

(By the way, I think you should vote for the party, rather than the leader.  I like Corbyn, but even if you don't the Labour Party has lots of good and skilled politicians in it.  Let's face it, no one voted for Theresa May and she's in charge, so anything can happen in 5 years)





I don't normally watch The One Show, but I randomly caught Corbyn's appearance, where he discussed manhole covers, his allotment and he brought a jar on home-made jam to give to the hosts.   

And can I just remind you that Theresa May supports fox hunting, fracking, is the anti-feminist, will privatise the NHS, under-fund our schools and she held hands with Donald Trump.

Fingers (and toes) crossed for Thursday and all the positive vibes and Jedi mind hugs for everyone feeling pre election jitters/ennui/anxiety/extreme nausea!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017.

The other morning the postman said to me 'your garden's gone woosh hasn't it?!'.  And 'woosh' is exactly the right way to describe the garden this month, it's been the perfect combination of roasting hot and big rainy that promotes lots of leafy wooshyness. 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Unfortunately the weeds have gone woosh as well as the plants I want, but you can't have everything!  The slugs ate all my seedlings when we went on holiday, and there's a blackbird nesting in my wigela so I can't get over there to prune and weed under it.  I'm quite happy to have a nester though, it shows the garden's attractive to wildlife which means I'm doing something right!

I've planted 3 new tiny trees this month!  In the side garden I've planted a rowan and a hazel.  There's a little oak tree too that I intend to grow in a pot (I'll increase the size of the pot as it grows, but there'll have to be some pruning too!).  I also bought a little dog rose to grow up the fence and (hopefully) hide the view of the neighbours heads bobbing up and down their driveway.  I bought all the saplings online from the Woodland Trust.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

I wonder how many trees I can fit into my little garden.  I think I have 7 in the back garden and there's 4 in the front garden, and I have plans for loads more fruit trees.

My little apple trees have some apples on them!  Quite a lot have dropped off (June drop?), but I'm hoping for at least one home grown apple this year.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Here's the side garden, the raspberries are looking goood.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

I have chives all over the garden and the bees are going mad for them.

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

The raised beds in the front garden are doing really well.  There's some slug damage on some plants, but I've got yellow and purple mange tout (the purple are self sown from last years plants), broad beans, minipops sweetcorn, borlotti beans, strawberries, nasturtiums, pattypans and some leeks in there.  It needs a bit of a weed!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

The ground elder in the front garden definitely needs weeding!  Joe's dug loads out and we've covered the bare ground with cardboard, but there's still more to do (before those flowers set seed!).

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

My back garden raised bed is really giving me the happys.  The first photo is from 4 weeks ago, the next one is from now, so you can see how much it's grown in a month!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Woosh! 

I'm really pleased with the lettuces - I have never been able to grow salad and I currently have loads of the stuff.  I'm creating my own polyculture salad seed mixes to sow (and keeping track of them in my little gardening journal).  I just mix a few varieties of seeds that I think will complement each other and sprinkle them where I want them to grow.  I've been sprinkling quite liberally then eating the thinnings! 

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

I'll leave you with this beautiful rose, which smells lovely and has loads of flowers (because I didn't prune it last year and now it's about 8 foot tall!) and this lovely nigella flower cos it's pretty too!

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

Diary of a suburban edible garden, May 2017. By UK suburban permaculture garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #gardenblog #ukgardenblogger #permaculture #permacultureuk #organicgarden #ediblegarden

PS.  I still haven't finished painting the fence! I did one more panel but it keeps raining!

How's your garden this month? 





Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Four variations on Jamie Oliver's vegan brownie recipe.

Jamie Oliver's vegan chocolate brownie recipe is my new favourite, favourite vegan brownie recipe!  It's soo good.  And simple to make.  And has no faffy ingredients. 


Recently we threw a big party and I made loads of brownies to feed our guests.  Here are the different variations I came up with,

Vegan chocolate brownies with chocolate chips and sugar stars.

Four variations on Jamie Oliver's vegan brownie recipe. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #veganbrownies #veganrecipe

I found myself looking at my brownies and wondering how to make them less, well, brown.  So I sprinkled some colourful sugar stars on top before baking, as well as missing out the nuts from the original recipe and adding a metric-arseload of vegan chocolate chips.

Vegan chocolate brownies with Oreos.

Four variations on Jamie Oliver's vegan brownie recipe. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #veganbrownies #veganrecipe

For this batch I broke up half a packet of Oreo's and mixed it into the batter.  I added bigger chunks on the top before baking.  And lots of chocolate chips, because chocolate chips. 

Vegan chocolate brownies with macadamia nuts. 

Four variations on Jamie Oliver's vegan brownie recipe. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #veganbrownies #veganrecipe

This was an easy variation, I just swapped the pecan nuts recommended in the recipe for macadamias - yum.

Vegan chocolate brownies with vegan fudge.

Four variations on Jamie Oliver's vegan brownie recipe. From UK vegan blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #vegan #veganblogger #veganbrownies #veganrecipe

I made this variation of Jamie's chocolate brownies with vegan fudge instead of nuts.  I use Fabulous Freefrom Factory's Dairy Free Fudge, cut up into smallish cubes, mixed into the brownie batter and scattered on the top before baking.  I also added chocolate chips.  Because I'm a fan of chocolate chips.

This has quickly become my go to recipe, and I see many many more Jamie Oliver vegan brownies in my future! 

(Although I still have love for my old fave vegan chocolate brownie recipe too!)





Friday, 26 May 2017

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT.

Garden visits is a (new) blog series where I visit gardens, then blog about them!

On our holidays we visited the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Machynlleth Wales.  

There are several allotments and polytunnels at CAT, and they gave me serious garden envy.  

Before you enter the Big Polytunnel there are some experimental raised beds to check out.  The round bed demonstrates different mulches and ground covers, from slate and plastic sheeting to oregano, wild strawberries and periwinkle. I love the cute little pond in the middle!

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

The Big Polytunnel is amazing, I really want a polytunnel but I don't have a big enough garden.  I would totally put one in the front garden, but sadly Joe isn't down with that.  The polytunnel at CAT has beautiful flowers, grapes, figs lots of crops and a pond.  It's lovely to hang out for a while and poke about, it's so big there's lots of room to wander round and it has natural ventilation from the slate beds below, so it's not too sticky and hot.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

There are two allotments on site, the smaller of the two being the Whole Home Garden (part of an example of an eco friendly home).

The allotment is surrounded by these espaliered fruit trees and currant bushes. 

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

There are lots of raised beds, as well as some areas with herbs and trees and flowers.  I think I could fit a little hoop tunnel like the one in this photo, over my front garden raised bed - it's not a polytunnel but it'll do a similar kind of job.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

I really love these cobweb plant supports.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

The conservatory of the Whole Home really inspired me to make the most of our conservatory.  I won't be growing a grape vine in there (not this year at least!) but I can definitely make room to grow more peppers and to try growing tomatoes in there this year.  I'd like some kind of citrus tree too.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

The second allotment is a huge showcase of lots of organic growing methods.  Can I please draw your attention to the size of those leeks! 

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

The allotment is fenced off by a living willow archway, fence and tunnel!

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

There are little details everywhere at CAT that show love and care for wildlife.  Piles of sticks are left all over the place for critters to live in, but this is a pretty impressive bug house with a herb planter on top.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

Even the walls have insect habitat built in.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

If you have a spare bath hanging around you could always turn it into a raised bed!  See the planting in the back bed, it's all good for pollinators and I was excited to see crimson clover because that's something I'm growing this year.

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

The nice man in the Small Polytunnel (so called by the CAT staff, but it seemed a very large polytunnel to me!)  let me have a wander through as well, although it was roasting hot in there so I didn't linger for much of a chat.  Look at all those little plants waiting to go out, there were so many courgettes and squashes and peppers, and so many tomatoes all the way down the middle.  I told you, serious polytunnel envy.   

Garden visit, the allotments and polytunnels at CAT. Visiting the organic, permaculture gardens at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth, Wales.  By UK eco and garden blogger secondhandsusie.blogspot.com #garden #CAT #centreforalternativetechnology #permaculturegarden #organicgarden

I went away from my visit to CAT totally inspired and empowered (and dreaming of winning the lottery and being able to have a much bigger garden!).  There's also a forest garden at CAT, but I'll show you that another time.


Have you been to CAT?  What did you think?