Choosing the trees

Ben Raskin - 14 January 2011

I spent a morning going up to see Nick Dunn at Frank Matthews tree nursery. I have not chosen to buy organic trees, partly because of price and the fact that the site is not certified (a discussion for another blog), but also because Nick grows a lot of Hugh Ermens varieties and has some interest in the "Own root" experiments I am starting.

Half of the site will be devoted to these experiments with 3  varieties (Scrumptious, Bright Future and Meridian) grown on 4 rootstocks (M9, M26, MM111 and own rootstocks). Only some of these were available this year, so I will be producing some myself over 2011 and then may order some more in the future.

The other half of the site will be devoted to a wide range of fruit, pears, plums, apricots, cherries.

All the fruit will be planted at wide row spacings to enable rows of vegetables to be grown in between.Most of this will not be planted in the first year, but will wait till I have  more time to devote to the site.

Agroforestry here I come.

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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