Project five: Localise (Book)
This project hasn’t really materialised as a diploma project yet as it is stalled for reasons outside of my control, so we’ll leave it for now…
Project six: The Garden
Designing gardens is tricksy when you’re a renter, and even more tricksy if you live with your landlord. The garden at Toronto Terrace is really the first iteration of the garden that I aspire to (isn’t it always…) What has been great about it is that it has given me the chance on a very small scale to practice things like base-mapping, observation and designing – even if not all of the aspects of the designs have been put into practice. Previously Will and I had had an allotment which was far too big for us to cope with and far too far away, so small – for a bit – has been really good! I’ve also really enjoyed the random seed experiment which has taught me something of plant competition and also how well planted areas lose a great deal less water than areas with bare soil.
The aspects of the garden that have been challenging have been people, rather than plant related. Most of them are to do with me. I live with Ben my friend and landlord and I have always known that this is not a ‘forever’ arrangement. I knew I was going to leave sooner rather than later and therefore I didn’t feel motivated to put too much time, money or effort into creating a garden here. Really, this garden has always been someone else’s project. I completed a design and the infrastructure (beds, seating, planters etc) has gone in according to that design, but I really haven’t got on with acquiring many plants for it. As a permaculturalist I lean towards perennials, but as I am not permanent here, me making a decision on perennials that would stay always seemed a bit wrong. What I possibly should have done is to take the opportunity of not having much planting space to take cuttings and start them off in pots so that when I do have space then I will have ‘free’ plants ready to put in. That’s what I should have done, but even cuttings in pots take up space and while I have not known where I was going – and if it would have any outside space at all – then I have felt reluctant to do even that. I now know where I am going, and it is tiny, but it does have some outside space – a roof. I’m also not sure how long I will be there, but I’m a bit sick of feeling rootless (literally…) so I think I am going to investigate this cutting solution.
So my short term, for-the-next-house, vision? To build up a small (really very tiny, Will) army of plants grown from cuttings that can be planted into the next-next-house which will definitely have a garden… A kind of super-reserve of plants.
Next step: Get my mum to teach me how to take cuttings, work out where they are going to go.
Project seven: The preserve-a-thon
What’s going well about this project is that I am absolutely crystal clear about what my aim is with it now. What’s going less well is that I am yet to write this down properly… Hmm, that’s a clear next step if ever I saw one.
This project has changed a lot since its inception. My original design was bitty, with no clear objective. Now my objective/vision is very clear – to create a use-every-day larder (as opposed to an emergency food store) which always has three months worth of food in it and for home-preserved food to make up as much of this store as possible in the circumstances. This project also suffered from the ‘am I going to stay here?’ issue as well as the ‘who am I storing food for?’ issue and the ‘wow there’s really no space at all to store food here’ issue. All fairly critical issues which has meant that while I know what I want to do, I haven’t really done much of it yet.
However, as I am moving there is the opportunity to progress this project a little bit – even if it’s just doing an Infinity (local food coop) wholesale order and having oatcakes available on tap…
Next step: Write the freaking thing down, goddamit!