We’ve not got many crops left in the field now (just beetroot, with some small late leeks waiting to grow on in early spring), so our focus has shifted to possibly the nicest of all winter jobs: planting trees.
Thanks to some very generous funding from the Woodland Trust we have been planting a wide variety of different tree species in four different areas:
1. oaks, hornbeams and holly mixed in to our existing hedgerows
2. a new 4-5m wide shelter belt on our western (i.e. windy) boundary including Morello cherries, hazel, spindle and holly
3. completing our small cordon-trained apple orchard with 225 trees
4. and 100 damson trees planted in rows inbetween our growing blocks.
The benefits will be varied and long-term – extra crops to sell (apples, damsons, cherries), wind protection for the rest of the site, wood fuel and biomass, and extra varied habitat for wildlife. It’s a small example of agroforestry, which is a relatively new area of research and practice in UK agriculture, but which has already seen some interesting results.
Read more about agroforestry at: