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Planting trees again.

Its that time of year again….tree planting time. Woodland 4 and 5, I must give them proper names sometime soon, are being created. Fencing first, what a pain, but must need to keep the sheep and hares out. I am quite lazy really and only have enough stamina at the moment to plant 200 trees a day. Unless the weather is just amazingly good then I will plant 300. What am I planting? Native trees, so: birch, rowan, hazel, guelder rose, holly, oak, alder and willow. No ASH you say? Well what a sad it thing it is that Ash is not allowed! Ash die-back you see….  Who says?  The Forestry commission scientists.

How do I plant the trees?
I have a small tree planting spade with which I make just the right size of hole for the size of the roots of the tree to be planted.  I then kneel down with the little bare root tree in my hand and insert the roots into the hole so that all the roots are underground.  I then place some of the loose earth on the roots and place the clod that was lifted out back on top and press it down with my foot 2 or three times.  Using just the right amount of pressure to make the tree secure and fill in the hole and not so much that the roots might be damaged.  At the same time I hold up the little tree at the tip so that it is straight up.  Then I stand up and see what I have done and see if it is done well and in the right place.  Each tree has its right place, depending on the type of soil, the wetness of the ground, the trees near it,  the size it will grow to, the orientation within the woodland.  So you see it is quite a performance.




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Dealing with slugs

I have identified 8 varieties of slugs so far here.  As individuals they are mostly quite gorgeous creatures.  They change so much both in their looks and behaviour over the season.  Since there is quite a lot of rivalry between my greed for beautiful unmarked vegetables and their greed for delightfully nutritious bio-dynamically grown leaves I had to do something to preserve my crop.  So I opted for what some people call the nematode method, but I call the “dynamized slug soup” method.  Here’show it works:

Collect a sample of slugs over a few days and pop them in a lidded container half filled with water as you go allong. (Yes it is cruel, they will drown and dissintigrate into a gray smelly mud).  Once they are mush, pour some of the sludge into a large bucket and add rainwater till 3/4 full.  Stir vigorously for 5-10 minutes with a stick using the bio-dynamic way of stirring (first clock wise till a well forms in the middle, then reverse the direction and continue this process).  Spread the finished anti slug “medicine” by pouring, sprinkling or spraying around the places that you want the slugs to leave alone.  You will need to repeat this from time to time.  I am still researching the best times and frequencies to do this process.  It has made lot of difference to both the number of slugs in the garden and to damage to the crop.

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I intend for this blog to be somewhat of a journal of my gardening and land work and muzings on nature, my experiences, my errors and achievements.  I hope readers will enjoy, share and interact with me.