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No-dig raised bed

Made in an afternoon: a new raised bed using the no-dig method.

Partner Nigel made the timber frame and laid it on the lawn. I sorted out some cardboard that the tools had arrived in and laid it inside the rectangle, covering the grass. Then with the  Libra Shovel and Perseus Rake, I sorted out the compost and filled up the new bed. Now we will wait until the compost settles.

The lawn underneath will die and we haven’t disturbed the soil. No worms were harmed in the making of this raised bed (although I disturbed a wasp’s nest in the compost heap).

For more about no-dig, visit https://www.charlesdowding.co.uk

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Lack of slug damage – the evidence

Slugs used to devastate pretty well all of the young plants in our garden. Since we have used the bronze tools we don’t worry about them any more.

Here is some spinach I transplanted early last week, in a space between the overwintered onions. No protection – no damage.

Exhibit ‘b’. Bedding plants in the front garden. Plugs of lobelia and ageratum from a supermarket, planted out ten days ago. One of the lobelia was a bit withered – and was shredded by the slugs. The others are as you see them here.

Exhibit ‘c’. Partner Nigel scattered some seeds in the floor of the greenhouse, and they turned out to be lettuce. Untouched by slugs, as you can see.

However, some plants still get stripped. The slugs took a dislike to a perennial lobelia I planted in the front garden. So I won’t plant it again.

More about the slug and snail effect here.

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Where do the tool handles come from?

 

 

maia dibbers

Here are some of the Maia Dibbers. The one nearest the front is made of apple wood. A neighbour of PKS in Austria contacted them to ask if they wanted the wood from an apple tree they were about to cut down.

Other handles are oak, ash and beech, all locally sourced. We can’t guarantee which wood your dibber handle will be made of. It depends which trees were ready to be felled recently.

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A naturalistic business model?

A paragraph from our autumn newsletter:

“Implementations will be fourteen years old next year. No signs yet of a turbulent adolescence. In fact, from our experience so far, we wonder if we can propose a new business model. Viktor Schauberger’s daughter-in-law, Frau Ingeborg Schauberger, has a favourite saying: a good thing looks after itself. Our focus has been to make sure the business stays good so that it can look after itself (and us in the process). Then we can all feel clear in what we do. After all, the different elements of the natural world are mutually supportive, so why not copy the system that sustains us all?”

More thoughts on this theme:

1. Money. The purpose of a business is to make money, right? Well, sort of. In the naturalistic model, money is necessary but not sufficient. The fact that it turns a profit is an indicator that the business is alive, but no more. If that was all there was to it, I’d find it hard to get out of bed in the morning. It’s the japanese knotweed business model – rampant smothering growth without thought for the effects on anyone else. We prefer the oak tree model- a rich, steadily growing  ecosystem bringing enhancement to all.

2. Sales. I had a jaundiced view of sales before launching Implementations. I saw salespeople as crooks, out to get the best deal they can. Maybe some are, but there are others, the ones who stay. I now think a good sale is an honourable exchange, in which both parties feel they have done well.The oak tree shelters the squirrels, who plant the acorns and then forget some of them … and everyone can thrive.

The tools are hand-made of expensive materials, so they are not cheap. We price them to be as affordable as possible. This means that you will not see them in many shops, because we cannot offer enough discount for the shops to justify the shelf space. On the other hand, our resellers are people who have a value for the tools and what they represent, and who can talk from experience of using them.

3. Marketing. I regularly receive emails from people offering ways to ‘drive more business to your site’. I do not want to drive visitors to our site like a herd of sheep. Nature works by invitation, not imposition. (That was a major insight for Viktor Schauberger. More about him on the ‘concept’ page of our site.) I want to invite interested adults to engage with us.

So on our website it is not assumed that you will want to receive our email newsletter. If you want it, the invitation is there.

There is much more that could be said on this – about employment, for example. And probably others have said it before me, so I might be reinventing the wheel. But this is how I like to think about a business.

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So THAT’S why it tastes better!

Press release from the Soil Association:

 

New research from Newcastle University, to be published on Tuesday 15 July, in the British Journal of Nutrition, has shown that organic crops and crop-based foods – including fruit, vegetables and cereals – are up to 60% higher in a number of key antioxidants than their non-organic counterparts. 

 

 

The study – a meta-analysis, which looked at 343 studies – found that, as well as being higher in antioxidants, organic crops also contain significantly lower levels of toxic heavy metals.

Helen Browning, Soil Association chief executive commented: “The crucially important thing about this research is that it shatters the myth that how we farm does not affect the quality of the food we eat. The research found significant differences, due to the farming system, between organic and non-organic food.

“We know that people choose organic food because they believe it is better for them, as well as for wildlife, animal welfare and the environment, and this research backs up what people think about organic food.

“In other countries there has long been much higher levels of support and acceptance of the benefits of organic food and farming: we hope these findings will bring the UK in line with the rest of Europe, when it comes to both attitudes to organic food and support for organic farming.”

This is the most comprehensive analysis of the nutritional content in organic vs. non-organic food ever undertaken.

The full paper – “Higher antioxidant concentrations and less cadmium and pesticide residues in organically-grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses.” Baranski, M. et al. – will be published in the British Journal of Nutrition on Tuesday 15th July 2014.