Friday, 28 January 2011

The Start of The Forest Garden

Last Saturday may have been my favourite volunteer day at Occombe farm yet. We planted the beginning of a really cool forest garden. 
This is the scene when we arrived. At the top of the garden there was a field with little sticks in. Each one had the name of a tree for our top layer. A pile of compost, a pile of muck and a pile of tools where waiting. We had a quick talk about what the plans where. I'm especially excited about the hedge row that's going to be planted as a wind break but the idea of all this new fruit has me salivating. We came out from the cold to have a chat about just what exactly forest gardening is before grabbing our tools and getting to work.

The first thing I learnt is that trees go in holes, lots and lots of holes. And we had to dig them all out. We had a bit of a production line going. Some people, like Stephen, would break up the ground and we'd then move in with our spades making a neat, deep hole. The frost made the job a little harder first thing in the morning but it wasn't too difficult. Not like last year, on our first volunteer day, when we planted the plum tree in slightly more rocky ground.

After all the holes had been made it was time to fill them. A mixture of Occombe's lovely moisture retaining clay and some compost back filled the hole and a delicate little tree slipped in, staked up and protected from ferocious rabbits. This one right here I want to claim. It's my medlar.

Then it was time for lunch and unfortunately we had to turn home. I had one of those conversations with Stephen, you know, the one that goes like this.

Her: You're not well are you?
Him: I'm totally and completely well. Honest, really. Well now that you mention it I have a slight headache and I feel really dizzy, but only when I stand up.

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