It’s a wild and windy January evening and the forest garden is resting but thoughts of the season to come prompt me to post an update (I know, I should do this more often and pledge to do so!).
It’s been a busy year both personally and in the garden, Debbie and I have moved back to Prestwich; it’s great being closer to the project!
The 30 or so fruit trees have all survived and are starting to bear fruit, although still relatively little as they are all less than five years old. We had some damage last winter from creatures unknown nibbling the bark (rabbit, deer?) so the last job of 2016 was to put tree guards on them. We still have room for more and are planning to obtain some more unusual trees to go with the forest garden staples of apple, pear, plum, damson and cherry such as quince and medlar.
We have ventured into the existing woodland and started to lay out some pathways and replaced some of the young emerging sycamore trees with plum, apple and currant bushes. We don’t intend to remove any mature trees, just take advantage of the more open areas. If anyone would like to take on this area as a separate Incredible edible project please message me.
Our monthly Sunday volunteer sessions have continued, and we are also doing Wednesday evenings during the lighter months as we have more edibles to take care of. Our open day in September is now firmly an annual event and attracts upwards of 200 people from the local area, who continue to fully support the project.
The application to be a “Land Learner” with the Permaculture Association was successful (see previous update). The assessor thought we were immediately ready to be a fully fledged “Land Centre” which is a centre of excellence for Permaculture in practice.
It’s been interesting watching and observing the garden, some things do well, others less so. We’ve had two allocations of wild flower seeds from Grow Wild but not much came through (too much competition? or the soil is too rich?) A handful of poached egg plant seeds took off marvellously though. A small cutting of peppermint brought by Gill a couple of years ago is now covering an area of about 25 square meters and excludes most of the weeds that are prolific on the rest of the site. I don’t envisage buying mint tea again!
We have over 380 Facebook followers and we still have active members from the start of the project. One lady took her six year old daughter to the garden last year and she said “I’ve been here before in my dreams”. That is what we hoped for at the beginning, a real life Garden of Eden that people would spend time in whether we’re there or not.
Roll on summer, please come and visit for a chat and a brew, there’s no compulsion to dig!