Attempt 1 went pretty well. We have learnt plenty for Attempt 2.


Lessons learnt for next time:

  1. We’ll use the base of the steel rod as it’s more stable to counter rest on the wall for extra support.
  2. We’ll need a sturdier end attachment (or proper pulley-wheel) for the rope to thread through. 
  3. We’ll need a single piece of rope with no knots. ( knots put too much pressure on the end thread piece and we lost the end piece due to a big knot ) 
  4. Having someone on the ground in the river would be useful for filling up the bucket as it’s hard to get the right angle to make the bucket fill itself up. 
  5. It’s potentially a 3 or 4 person job. (2 in the river with rubber boots – good to have 2 for looking out for each other and 2 at the top for pulling, lifting, emptying.) 

attempt1a attempt1b

Even after loosing the end attachment (easily salvageable later) in the bushes below we still managed to get a quarter watering can. It can be done!

It looks set to rain a little this week and the Persistence Works artists will let us have some water to keep us going on Friday/Saturday. So there’s still chance to get a decent pulley system up and running in time for the future dry months ahead.

We only need a better rope and thread piece, and an enthusiastic team, all welcome!


To make things more obvious at the Huerta, rainwater symbols have been painted onto the water containers. We have run out of water nether the less. Even though it has rained somewhat over the last 2 months, not enough has collected in the water bins to keep things going.


While using the last full watering can on some freshly sown Yarrow and Mustard seeds, the sounds of the Porter Brook River on the other side of the wall tauntingly tantalises the Huerta and all her plant friends.

An inexhaustible, autonomous, fresh water supply so close, yet so far. A mere 30ft drop away.


IDEA – To create a pulley system. So in summer and any dry winter months, the water bins can be refilled with relative ease and we won’t have to pester the Persistence Works artist community to lug buckets to and from their art studios.


(click photo for larger view)

A steal support rod is conveniently already in place, the rest of the pulley just needs to be attached. Using scaffolding parts this will be first attempted later today. Watch this space to see how it goes.

If you have any spare pulley parts you think might work please get in touch.

To get things looking less barren and give the soil some cover, I’ve planted some window sill grown lemon balm, catnip and dill plants.  They’re now free range!

Although the builder’s pipe work debris mostly consisting of concrete chunks and bricks isn’t far below the surface.  These little plants should be able to handle it for now, but in the long run we hope to dig out more of these hefty boulders and replace the deficit by mixing in fresh compost instead.

The South Wall bed has been sown with Mustard seeds to provide emergency soil coverage, and some yarrow and borage herb seeds near the leafmould heap end.


plantingplanrubble bricks_insta

It’s been late to plant this spring at the Huerta.  Due to the heating pipes being dug up underneath the beds again. This time the Huerta was completely sealed off while the workmen did their job. The gate bed was half dug up, but half left intact. At least we didn’t loose a fig tree to the carnage this time.


You can click on this photo for a larger version, to see how drastic it all was – full size!

Walking tree onions looking lush!

Update on the Huerta from March 2012:

Happy rocket bed!

Beautiful rocket flower - very tasty!

Winter peas needed stringing up

Garlic bed

Broad beans in the bed

Closeup of broad beans

Parsley covering the bed


Grape vine and roots in one corner, hops the other 🙂

The leaves!

Oriental mustard taking over!

St Johns..

The silvery sorrel! Must have for any garden!



Heres a few photos of the Huerta from February when it snowed! Although the snow doesn’t last at the Huerta as its generally warmer down there than anywhere else!

Herbs looking well

Rocket rocket rocket!

Peas looking good after the november sowing. Bit wind shocked!

Garlic showing through the snow

Broad beans after November sowing

Herbs waiting for the spring!

Making compost and herbs

Root and a shoot french tarragon potted on!

Closeup of the broad beans sown direct in November

Papa Roja aka Okka/Oca Oxalis tuberosa
Here is Papa Roja “Red Potatoe” growing at the Huerta, in Sheffield City Centre.
This is a really interesting crop that we have just lifted. In the summer it had wonderful yellow flowers that were a slightly lemony addition to the salad bowl. Now it has produced white and red tubers in the way potatoes grow.
Oca, Oka, Ohkah, New Zealand Yam, Papa Roja growing at the Huerta in Sheffield

In the Andean highlands, only the potato is a more important root crop than oca (Oxalis tuberosa). But whereas the potato has spread to become the world’s fourth largest crop, oca (pronounced oh-kah) is little known outside its ancestral home. This is unfortunate because oca tubers have great consumer appeal: brilliant colors and a pleasant flavor that many people find a welcome change from the potato.”

From here:

The above link is to a great online book about Incan crops. It has a really good chapter about Oca, its history and cultivation etc. Check out the quinoa chapter!

Harvested Oka ready to boil then roast

Roasted Oka and hummus

Useful Links: – Supplier and info about varieties – Growers story and images of oca

Lost crops of the Incas

Plants for a future

Radix – A blogger who grows root crots – lots of oca images, info and growing!

Good start to the new year with a couple of hours turning the leaf pile and pruning the peach tree, lifting the Oca, herb maintanence, light weeding and a litter pick.
Still lots of greens and it was a beautifull day with plenty sun shine.
Here are the pics


Leaves turned and halved in size

Main bed

Main bed - needs soil improvement

Pineapple Sage - This has grown really well and smells wonderfull!

Making leafmould - Seed sowing ingredient and soil improver

Parsley bed - Lush blanket of fresh parsley

Broad beans Sown in late October - Just earthed up a little

Garlic bed - harvested the Oca from the front and the garlic is starting to show

Pea bed - Winter peas sown in late October. Recently earth up and may need string very soon. Danger of frost damage in the future.

Rocket bed - The rocket is still doing really well and tastes fantastic. A few here and there have gone to flower which are also delicious

Walking tree onions establishing well at the front and some sweet peas at the back

Olive tree enjoying the warm weather so far




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