Sunday, 15 March 2015

Going for diversity

Diversity and Forest Garden

I like to have as many different fruits as possible and over the last few days I have managed to find a fair few berry fruit bushes that I hadn't already got. I've already got a few different Raspberries but have added 5 "Malling Leo" canes to the collection since we all eat Raspberries and the more different varieties will help to extend the season.

I have 5 Gooseberry bushes already but have no idea as to their names but going by the colour of the fruit and size of the bushes they are different so I've added another desert red Gooseberry to the list.

Other berry bushes about to go in include, Boysenberry, Cow berry, Mulberry, Chokeberry and Cranberry which will add to the collection of Strawberry, Blackcurrant, Redcurrant, Logan berry and Tay berry and 4 other Black berry bushes.

Two small black grapes and 2 Kiwi fruit bushes will have to go into the greenhouse along with the previous Orange and Fig that I bought last year. It'll be interesting to see how these go.

Dog Wood Area
Half of the field is slowly developing into a forest garden which is currently an orchard with all the standard type of fruit trees, Apple, Pear, Cherry, Plum, Crab, Medlar, Quince, Cherry plum and perhaps another but I want to expand it and add a woody area so 10 "Cornus" red dog wood bushes have gone in to a small area with a Hazel nut bush with a Laurel  and "Griselina Litoralis" bush to give a bit of instant height as well as being ever green. This small area will be inter planted with strawberry as ground cover since I have found strawberries suppress the grass. Hopefully all the leaves will drop and help to hold back the grass and slowly condition the soil. All the bushes were placed into a hole and the clay was mixed with rotted manure and then mulched with manure. There are also some "wild" Daffodils (which I'm not too sure are wild) planted in this area which came up last year but haven't broken through the grass yet but I did put a spade through one and can see that it was growing. The turfs that came up were simply laid between the dog wood to raise the ground and allow what ever bulbs are planted within them to still have a chance.

The two "Ceanothus Puget Blue" bushes will go near the bottom of the pond and hopefully these will link the main hedge to the pond which is then linked to the dog wood area to bring the birds out of the hedge and into the central area of the field. This area is filled with flowers with a sitting area in the middle and is screened from the car area by the willow we planted last year. I have two cork screw Hazel bushes to also go in within this area, somewhere.

I'm going to have to start planting between the fruit trees at some stage but since this is a large area I haven't decided how to keep the rabbits at bay yet. The boundary fence put up during the first few months when we started isn't stopping the rabbits and although specific areas have been fenced off to protect them the bigger orchard area will be a problem. I think each individual fruit bush that I inter plant between trees may need it's own little ring fence.

I've also got 10 bare root field maples and 10 bare root Beech trees to go in along the south and east boundaries to help stop the wind from whistling through the field. The house and stables protect from the North, the main road hedge protects from the west but most of our wind comes from the South East so this area needs attention. I think one of each of these will also go into the chicken area which hopefully will not only give the chickens some more cover but will add leaves for worms and slugs etc to hide under to help the chickens to scavenge with the added bonus that the holes I dig will aid drainage and allow the trees to suck up water since I have only half solved the flooding problem in this corner.

Privet Hedge starting around compost heap area
As we enter our 3rd year I'm rather hoping that all this latest planting will transform the field once more as has been done in the previous two years. This year will also see the biggest amount of planting of non fruiting bushes and trees with yet more every greens to go in and at some stage soon a pagoda will be going in which will allow a few climbers to be added. The fence separating the car area from the field will also be extended.

I have also sown some (50 to 100) hazel nut and walnuts that someone gave us to eat, fresh off of their bush, in the autumn and I'm rather hopeful that a few of these will set. Some are in the green house, some in a cold frame and some direct sown into the hedge line. I'll consider this to be a bonus if only a few succeed but last year I had a Sycamore and an Oak self seed and take which I transplanted into the hedge along with a walnut that we were given.

Seeded with wild flowers
My attempts to get wild flowers to germinate within grass failed on several previous occasions and so this time I have scattered seeds and then covered them with some compost. The grass was cut very short during winter which has held it back a fair bit and the addition of compost will hopefully allow the seeds a good start before the grass over powers them.  

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