When we moved into our new Bean Store on the Sotterley Estate we asked our landlord Tom whether we could plant a hedge and a few fruit trees. ‘I think we can do better than that...’ said Tom.
And so this week, appropriately enough National Tree Week, a wood was planted at the back of the Bean Store. It went into a cover crop established by @robravenfarming. Over the last few months this has been home to and has fed (will continue to feed) a mixed flock of birds - as well as a kestrel (at times it’s been tense out there).
Over the next few years we’ll watch Andrew the forester’s plan develop as oak, birch, wild service, walnut, Scots pine, wild pear and more grow and fill the space. This spring we’ll plant a few trees of our own in gaps left for us, and in the area where we eat in the summer.
We believe there should be more space for trees on farms - in the form of woods and also more formal agroforestry systems (such as at @wakelyns). But also (especially) scrubby ‘untidy’ areas. Even small areas provide an incredibly important habitat for invertebrates, small birds and mammals and their predators.
There are also a host of potential ecosystem services - from carbon sequestration and flood risk mitigation to insect pest control, pollination services and nutrient cycling - but you know what, let’s also just celebrate the beauty; things don’t have to have a function defined by us to have a place.
(Reposted from our National Tree Week post on Instragram)
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Last year (field scale chickpea production year 2) was a real struggle: drought through much of the season, intense heat in late May, then extraordinary rainfall in August. This year (chickpea year 3) hasn’t started much better to be honest: a cold start and prolonged wet conditions are not what chickpeas like.