Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

What a difference a day makes, says the song and it’s true. Yesterday was sunny and 12+ degrees; today was foggy and hovered around 1 degree all day. The hoar frost does look wonderful though lacing all the plants. It’s also a Bank holiday here too and standing in the field it was possible to not hear any other human being.

It didn’t take too long to finish manuring round the fruit trees so then it was time to spread the straw mulch. The large bales unravel quite easily to start with but as you begin to approach the centre they become very compacted. They also become more difficult to break apart, as you can’t remove the lower part of the roll so you end up having to dig your way to the centre of the roll. I found a pitchfork in the barn and that certainly made life easier than trying to use a garden fork or rake. I suppose that’s why they’ve been around for hundreds of years.

I started on the straw bale at the bottom of the orchard area and by the time I’d managed to spread it all out most of the day had gone and I’d walked more steps than I would care to contemplate. The next bale can wait until tomorrow. That, thankfully is at the top of the slope so with luck should be a bit easier.

The view down to the area I managed to do today. There is still quite an area to cover so I might need a third bale but I do happily have plenty. As long as the straw helps suppress the weeds then it will be time well spent.

In the background is the next area of major work. This is the field where I want to establish a coppice woodland. The plan is to use the upper half of the slope, where it should also provide a partial windbreak for the orchard. I’m currently looking at planting oak (probably not harvested in my lifetime but I want to plant for the future as well), hazel, sweet chestnut and ash. The aim is to get a mixture that can be used for building or burning. As the oaks take so long to come to maturity I’m hoping to put them into production earlier by planting a few with the truffle fungus. The land here isn’t really ideal but then I’m not looking at commercial production just something to supplement my income. I also will let some of the sweet chestnuts grow to maturity in order to harvest the nuts.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

the woodland sounds like a great idea! i am also busy planning my (much smaller) land:)

i now have a plan of the garden on paper and know what i am going to plant and where. i will be waiting until the kids are back at school before i start anything major in the garden though as the little ones still need constant attention.

wonderful pictures:)

happy new year x