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Hi, I'm Diane and I live in Suffolk with my daughter, her husband and their 3 children. I have recently moved from Yorkshire which explains why I am very late to this course. In Yorkshire I had a small garden and an allotment for 30 years in one of the higher and wetter areas of the south pennines. Acidic loamy soils. We now have 7 acres of old pasture that was once a dairy farm and we are on the clay belt. I have begun to create a large straw bale raised hugelkultur bed to try and address the much drier and hotter climate down in the SE. We have very limey water and I assume a far more alkaline soil.


Hello Diane,

Welcome to GROW and to the online course! I hope you are enjoying it. Don't worry about having joined late, you will continue to have access to the course content after it ends.

Your new project sounds very exciting, it would be great to see photos of your hugelkultur bed. We will be running more free courses early next year, all the details will be announced before the end of this year. The next course will cover how to carry out a land and soil survey in your plot, so you might find it useful. What are your plans for the land?

It's great to have you on board, let us know how your plot develops. Best wishes, Raquel

Thank you Raquel. I have already finished the online course from soil to sky but was not able to do the soil tests and experiments due to frozen ground and then due to work commitments combined with leaving Yorkshire etc. and no longer having access to my allotment. So I shall revisit the missed areas and send in my observations and readings. I have been taking photos of the hugelkultur bed as I create it but it is not yet finished. My daughter, her husband and young family moved here Christmas time and I moved into my static caravan mid August so we are mainly observing, mowing, involved in renovating the buildings but cannot resist some gardening in and among. We have 4 beehives (not ours) , maybe 10 very old apple trees of different varieties, one pear tree, lovely mixed hedgerows and a reservoir/pond which we have had to have dredged. So many frogs and toads and all 3 species of newt. We have 2 adult hens and 4 young ones still in the barn. We are hoping to have a few orkney sheep that prefer thistles to grass: these will be very useful. We have lovely mature trees including oak, ash, hawthorn, sloe, bullace, willow, elder and more. Lots of wild flowers- yarrow, cowslip, clover, vetch, bugle. But it is not ancient meadow. My daughter is liaising with Suffolk Wildlife Trust and is an ecologist herself having worked for both the trust and for Natural England advising farmers on how to reduce water pollution. I am also environmentally trained and a long term organic gardener. It's early days yet to make final decisions.

It sounds lovely Diane! It is fantastic you have so much knowledge and experience in the family. It's also great to hear you have time to observe and that you will still find the Soil to Sky course useful. Do join us next month as well if you can for World Soil Day on 5th December, we will be hosting a webinar with the GROW team, you can read more about the celebrations here: https://knowledge.growobservatory.org/world-soil-day/ Enjoy your observations and planning!