The Master Crafter – LolDeanTimber

WHO STARTED IT

Dean and Liam Stanborough, a father and son, family led business.

LoldeanTimber started as an idea from the love of wood and being able to create useful, innovative and bespoke products for all our customers.

every one of our handmade products we use; From our poultry perches, to our garden trugs to our trough planters.

We have supplied personalised garden trugs all over the Uk and have sent a few to the USA.

It fills us with enormous pride seeing our trugs being shown off with so many gorgeous homegrown harvests.

I (liam) was never very interested in veg, until Dad (dean) started growing tomatoes and peas in the garden and I tasted a pea straight from the pod and I was won over from then.

I would always watch river cottage and dreamt of the life that Hugh Fernley Whittingstall was living.

We grew more and started to consider becoming self-sufficient.

First stop was chickens and we have been making chicken coops for customers for years.

So, we decided to build out ‘Cluckingham Palace’ and soon enough our girls were laying their eggs.

We’ve always had a keen interest in cooking so it goes hand in hand with our allotment growing, cooking dishes, preserving jams and sauces, even making our own elderflower wine and apple cider from all our homegrown produce.

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We have expanded our growing area over the last couple of years by relocating up to Norfolk.

Which allowed us to expand loldeantimber and push on with our business and create more exciting products.

Also, allowing us to expand the amount of chickens we have. And adding ducks to our smallholding
we have even hatched a few of our own chickens fertilised eggs.

We purchased a polytunnel to match our ambitions of growing more veg and creating more exciting dishes and sauces so we can feed not only us but give them as gifts to our friends and family to get their feedback on the food we make.
We love taking our nephews and niece for a walk down the garden and picking some of our plot produce that they helped us plant.
so they can see what they planted is what they grew and be able to eat what they grew and learn about each veg and how tasty it is.
They have always been brought up around the chickens, playing with them indoors when they were just chicks to playing outside in the garden feeding them and collecting their eggs.

We built our own compost bins last year and fill them through the year with food scraps, and chicken and duck manure which acts as a great fertiliser so will be using all our well-rotted down compost on our raised beds this coming year.

Very much looking forward to growing as a business and as a self-sufficient family for many more years to come.

Guest Author: Liam Stanborough is a master craftsman specialising in creating some of the best trugs in the business for that perfect personalised touch. You can find his excellent work on Facebook or Twitter

 

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The Legendary Dasfuxi -Our very own steward of the land

Gardening links people around the globe. We all care for our little part of Earth with the same sincerity, we all wait impatiently for the first strawberry of the year, we all curse the slugs with the same exasperation.

But connecting with gardeners from around the world on Twitter showed me, we can also learn a lot from gardeners in other regions. So I hope I can give you a glimpse into my approach to nature and some of the ways gardening, especially allotment gardening, might differ from what you are used to.

Despite growing up in the Ruhr region, Germany’s largest urban agglomeration, I have always been drawn to nature and was lucky to have friends and family members that kept that enthusiasm alive. What got me to start gardening myself were the books by John Seymour, which gave me a taste of the (probably quite romanticized) life on a homestead.

I took every opportunity to learn and forage. I seed-bombed some neglected public land with pollinator-friendly plants. I used some of my holidays to help on organic farms in Ireland via WWOOF and started a container garden on my balcony. Soon I outgrew the space with my pots, mini-pond, worm composting bin, and quail cage, so when I finally found an organic allotment association, I immediately applied for a plot.

The German “Schrebergarten” allotment system is a lot more regulated and organized than other countries. It was implemented during the industrialization to combat malnutrition for the growing population in the cities but also to provide public recreation areas.

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The official patronage means German allotment gardeners have to comply with a host of rules about how much of your plot has to be used for what purpose, how big your shed can be, and even how high your hedge is allowed to be. But it also protects the allotment associations from urban development, real estate speculation and exorbitant tenure fees.

The jump from a balcony to a plot of about 300 m², even if only a third is meant for vegetable gardening, was a challenge. In the first year I tried to do everything and accomplished little, but then I stumbled upon permaculture. Stumbled upon and dove in head first.

I buried myself in textbooks, took a permaculture design course and became a certified permaculture designer in 2015. The course taught me a lot and helped me to plan ahead. It also reaffirmed my beliefs that we have to work with nature and led me to utilize companion planting, no-dig gardening, and mulching on my plot.

I still never have enough time for the allotment but this past year it finally felt like I found my footing and had my first decent harvest – and without any kind of pesticide or chemical fertiliser. Is there anything healthier or more rewarding than enjoying a meal made with vegetables from your own plot, fruit from your own front yard, and eggs from your own poultry?

Now I am in the process of turning my enthusiasm for gardening, foraging, and a certain measure of self-sufficiency in urban and suburban settings into something that can infect others, inspire others, and empower them to do the same.

If you have questions about the German allotment system or any of my projects, feel free to contact me on Twitter.

 

Guest Author: Damaris Reinke is a permaculture designer and gardening consultant in her local allotment association. She is part of the team that runs the German board selbstvers.org for self-sufficiency, gardening, homesteading, and low-tech solutions. You can also follow her on Twitter.

The Awesome Richard Chivers – Get ready to Sharpen your spades

Welcome to Sharpen Your Spades.

It’s strange to think but until 2007 I had no interest allotment gardening. I had no interest in gardening at all.

Today, I can’t imagine not having an allotment and not feeling as passionate about it as I do.

My grandfather was a market gardener, and even in retirement he turned all of their garden over to rows of vegetables. Despite spending every other Sunday at their home, playing next to the beds of vegetables with my brother and cousins and eating a home cooked Sunday lunch that boasted all the veg from the garden, it didn’t rub off on me. Not then.

Growing my own started with a packet of tomato seeds, a pot and a tiny back yard and emerged from my passion to cook. As I cooked more, I learned a key lesson – It’s not the complexity of a recipe that makes for an excellent dish but the ingredients that are used to make it.

One year, I decided to grow my own. In early spring I sowed a few tomato seeds and with little knowledge or experience I waited to see what would happen. What followed became an obsession.

In 2007, Carol Klein presented a 6 part series on the BBC – Grow your own veg. The series arrived at the right time. My passion to grow my own had developed further and when this programme all about growing your own vegetables arrived on the TV, I was hooked.

I placed my name on the local allotment list and bought the book accompanying the series.

I’ve had an allotment, in various guises, for nine years but for many reasons it never lasted. In April 2015 I took on my current plot and I’ve never felt so settled.

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Like most families, we have busy working lives and it’s easy to understand that the thought of taking on an allotment can be daunting. However, I genuinely believe it’s possible to manage the daily life and keep up with an allotment garden too.

I started sharpenyourspades.com around the same time as I began work on the allotment. It originated as a way to document my progress and clarify my thoughts on growing my own.

It’s come a long way since then – as well as an allotment diary, I write articles on all matters of allotment gardening and growing your own. I’ve become as passionate about the blog as I am about the allotment.

Writing is a key part of my learning. I’m not a horticulturist and have no formal training. I’m just passionate about growing my own fruit and veg. I hope in some way it means I’m able to provide a different perspective on allotment gardening.

I use organic principles. It has it’s frustrations but it’s also fun experimenting. It’s satisfying to get results without resorting to chemical management and control of the food we eat.

My six-year-old daughter, Ava, spends a lot of time with me on the allotment. She loves it. It’s wonderful seeing her excited about the crops we grow together. I want her to have a relationship with food, understand where it comes from and be thrilled eating it. I hope I can inspire others to join us in the great adventure of allotment gardening.

Guest Author: Richard Chivers is an allotment blogger and “grow your own” enthusiast. He manages sharpenyourspades.com , where he writes about all manner of allotment gardening topics, as well as providing updates on his own family allotment, which he works on with his young daughter. You can also follow him on Facebook and Twitter.