Friday, February 14, 2014

A lifetime of fuel from a handful of twigs

A momentous couple of days for the "farm"...

I have spent much of Jan & Feb trying to find a suitable time to plant willow cuttings, when it was both dry enough and suitable from a biodynamic standpoint. Winter is the time to plant, but the weather has been soggy to say the least !!

Finally a window of opportunity, when it would only be mostly raining. I contacted Gwen at world of willow. They are based just north of Poole and have hundreds of different cuttings available for firewood, hedging, winter colour, basketry and attracting bees. This is the selection I chose, for £17 I got 25 biomass / hedge cutting of various sorts as well as 17 for winter colour / bees / basketry. As you can see its not a lot to carry but in a couple of years the results should be enormous..

Each bundle came with details of the best uses, estimated mature height, colours and latin name as well as a planting and care guide. World of willow offer a great service, and Gwen was kind enough to sort out my order in less than 24 hours, despite being very busy, so I could take advantage of the break in the rain on the 11th & 12th of Feb.

Planting could not be easier: A small piece of cardboard is cut to stop competing plants, a 6 inch deep hole is made by shoving a screwdriver into the ground and the cutting is inserted, as shown below. Each one takes under a minute to plant !! 

The coulourful / bee / basketry selection I planted around the orchard and along the stream creating a pollinator pathway between the orchard, the veg patch and where I plan to place the bees. This should guarantee the pollination of all my crops as well as bringing colour and materials to the farm. they were transplanted on a flower day to maximise their blossoms.

I also planted a variety of biomass / hedging varieties every 5m along the Northern boundary of the land, they should grow to 2-3m high, 8-25cm diameter within a year. They were planted alternatively on leaf and flower days to see if the biodynamic day made a difference. Next spring I plan to cut them back and use my new cuttings to fill in between the first row and maybe even double up. this will give me much more privacy from the road as well as (fingers crossed) providing all the firewood I ever need- not bad for £10 and an hours work !!! 

Ya Gotta luv willo !!!

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