New nursery site


We have now bought 6.5 acres of south facing pasture land on which we will move the nursery to over the next few years.
These photos were taken this June in the middle of the dry spell we had.
It has now greened up nicely since the rains.
Plans for the new site include obtaining organic status, planting lots of willow and alder to use as ramial chipped wood and Biochar and creating a highly biodiverse closed loop system with the aim of becoming a carbon negative fruit tree nursery.
The fruit trees will be grown in an alley cropping system and rotated to different areas with a 7 year rotation for apple trees.
I’d like to find someone who would be interested in growing verge on a small commercial scale to fit in with the rotation…

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Certificate on Community Orcharding


The Orchard Project have been running a certified course in community orcharding over the last two years. I’ve been teaching the summer pruning and grafting part.
Saturday’s session at Audley End was the fourth course and this time the summer pruning was brilliantly taught by Gemma Sturges.
The photos show espaliers being pruned by students in the 2.5 acre walled garden and happy folk with their newly grafted trees.

Ramial Chipped Wood


We’re using willow wood chip as a mulch for the nursery and orchard.
The willow is growing in a corner of the nursery, split into two sections and coppiced on a two year cycle.
This ensures we get fresh chip every year and there is also lots of flowers every spring as an early source of pollen for the bees.
Ramial chipped wood means branches under 2.5 inch diameter, chipped and used as mulch.
This serves many purposes such as reducing the need for weeding, holding in moisture, feeding the soil as the mulch breaks down.
It is also thought that the salicylic acid in the willow can help combat fungal infectious such as scab.
One other great function of this mulch is it feeds the fungal duff.
The photos clearly show a living fungal entity in the form of mushrooms and the mass of white mycelium.
These chips smell lovely and mushroomy and greatly aid that ever so important relationship trees have with the fungal world.