Still, it's been a busy tree planting season here on the farm - over 500 extra trees in hedges, orchards, coppice woodland & windbreaks.... unbelievably i have (almost!!) ran out of space for more new trees! Just a few spots remaining for a couple of dozen new Black Locusts (Robinia psuedoacacia) which I want to try out. They are part of a small windbreak/coppice area which is composed of a mix of pioneer (birch, alder), medium term (ash, beech) & climax (oak) species which should provide a successional harvest of fuel/timber starting from about 10 - 15 years from now & continuing long into the future. The fast growth of the birch will pull up the slower oak & beech to grow nice & tall, then, as the faster maturing species are coppiced (harvested) those remaining can fill out.
A great encouragement in my design work this winter has been this excellent book I've been reading 'The Resilient Farm & Homestead' by Ben Falk from Vancouver. Working in a climate similar to ours, Ben recommends the Black Locusts as 'The fastest return on investment in this climate when transforming sunshine into usable fuel'
The book itself is like an extended case study of his Permaculture research farm, what I love about it is it's down to earth honesty along with a commitment to experimentation. His work is informed but unconstrained by permaculture patterns & generalisations -so refreshing, every site & situation is unique! Fleshing that out is heaps of practical info on everything from earthworks, to chickens, to building, food growing, & design. Highly recommend it if you're working on a large garden or farm scale project.
Finally for now - Fruit tree grafting!
Our wonderfully lovely, generous, & knowledgeable friends Matt & Amandine are offering to share their fruit tree grafting knowledge here at the farm sometime in March. For anyone who wants to join us all you need to do is cover the cost of the rootstocks (won't be much) bring some tasty vegan food to share for dinner, a sharp stanley knife and anything else you would like to offer to them in return.
There will be a limit to the amount of people depending on how many rootstocks we get so let us know if you would like to join.....