The Great Planting

Ben Raskin - 23 February 2011

The great planting happened at the weekend. Due to some wonderful friends (and Dad) coming to help we managed to plant almost all of the main planting. Over 200 trees went in and had rabbit guards put on. We were lucky enough to recycle some old windbreak fencing from elsewhere on the site and cut it into strips. These were then staked around the trees. The next priority is to get the trees properly staked before the wind rocks them about too much. The weather was kind, with mainly dry while we were planting and then heavy rain to water the plants in on Monday.

Have found my new work local: The Crown Inn at Churchill, great food and unpretentious surroundings. The work parties took well earned rest there before heading back out into the field.

Today I went back to plant a few more trees and check all of the ones already in the ground were. We had lost one that appears to have had a weak graft union (where the variety - or scion - is joined to the rootstock). So having bought some more canes as a temporary measure this weekends job will be properly staking the trees.

After discovering the outdoor life on an organic vineyard in Northern Italy, and a one year professional gardening course at Lackham College, Ben has worked in horticulture for 16 years. Previous incarnations include running a walled garden in Sussex, working for the HDRA (now Garden Organic) at their gardens in Kent, setting up and running the horticultural production at Daylesford Organic Farm, before moving to the Welsh College of Horticulture as commercial manager. Ben is passionate both about the commercial production of high quality organic vegetables and teaching practical skills through on farm learning. He currently works as horticultural advisor and learning manager for the Soil Association, as horticultural advisor for The Community Farm at Chew Magna, and has just signed the lease on a piece of land near Bristol to plant an experimental and educational fruit and agroforestry system.

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