Kate & Andy's Microholding

LAND Region: 
EnglandSouth East

Aiming towards self sufficiency and sustainable living in a suburban terraced cottage with 125m² garden using permaculture principles and design.

Starting in May 2007 with a blank canvas we have gradually set up and expanded our organic home food production to become about 75% self sufficient in fruit and vegetables and 100% self sufficient in eggs.

We have a small steeply sloping back garden of about 25m² where we have made terraces to grow fruit and veg and a long front garden of about 100m² where we grow in raised beds, a greenhouse and on a roof. We also keep ex battery chickens for eggs and some quail, whose excess eggs we exchange for food we can’t grow ourselves at the local veg shop. We also occasionally rear quail to eat.

All the structures in our garden are made from either reclaimed materials or sustainably managed sweet chestnut wood from the 20 acre coppice woodland that we manage for a friend.
We have just taken on a further 25m² of growing space a short walk away on part of a neighbour’s allotment where we can grow crops that take up more room.

In November 2010 we won Smallholder of the Year award run by country smallholding magazine for our innovative design features, sustainable living and efficient food production in a small space.

We are WWOOF hosts and take volunteers to help us who we can educate in return.

Member Project known date: 
Friday, 13 January, 2012
Everything in the garden has been thoroughly planned and sited in the most suitable place using observation and zoning, taking into account factors such as micro climates, shade and proximity to water. The poultry runs have been designed to mimic the natural environment the birds would live in and minimise the inputs we have to make from outside. Everything is designed to be low maintenance to fit in with our busy working lives. We interplant and use companion planting and make the most of allelopathic relationships between plants. We grow through mulches and use physical pest and weed barriers rather than chemicals. Where possible we have perennial crops and the annuals are in rotation. We have a pretty much closed cycle in the garden so we don’t have to buy things in; everything possible is composted or put in the wormery, we harvest rainwater from all the roofs for watering, we make our own liquid feeds, collect seeds for the next year’s crops, use wood shavings from our workshop for the poultry runs (composting the soiled material) and we make pots for seedlings out of newspaper. We encourage biodiversity by having wild areas, a hedge, a dry stone wall, nest boxes, log piles and planting flowers and plants that attract butterflies, bees and insects. We are also making a small pond and boggy area at the moment which will be planted with a range of native plants and hopefully attract frogs and other wildlife. We don’t use any treated wood for beds, fences and structures, using rot resistant wood instead and scorching the ends that are in the ground. All the structures such as sheds, greenhouse etc are also used as vertical growing spaces.
Project start date: 
May, 2007
4 Railway Terrace Bepton Road
Midhurst, West Sussex GU29 9QY
United Kingdom
West Sussex GB