Go To Homepage

Diary Articles For Oak Tree Farm


Wellington Field Allotments Hixon

More Allotment Articles

Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.

Environmental Issues And Going Green.

Books By
Alan J Hartley




Diary Article 9.

As usual the first thing I did this week was to have a wander round the site to see what had been going on. The first thing I saw was a pile of fresh branches stacked up all ready for my bonfire. Some of them were nice straight ones that I decided would be ideal for shredding and as I walked past the bonfire area into the woodland walk I saw where the branches had come from. Somebody had been busy thinning the overgrown younger trees and quite a few small trees had been taken out leaving short stumps. When I actually looked at what had been removed I could see that they were all the quicker, stronger growing trees such as Ash that would have rapidly over taken the more pretty and ornamental ones. The idea was also obviously to let more light in down at the ground level and encourage some more of the woodland type plants to grow.
Walking round a bit further I noticed that one or two of the fruit trees in the orchard were being strangled by their tree ties. My favourite, the Medlar, was one, so I carefully removed the tie and tree stake that must have been in place for several years and had obviously not been checked recently. The tree, although still quite small was well established and no longer needed any support. After speaking to David, I decided to put all the straighter branches from the bonfire pile through the shredder and then use the chippings to make a ring round the Medlar tree to act as a mulch. This would kill the grass immediately round it and help the tree to grow a little. It would have been better done when it was planted, but would still help. The intention is to do the same with the other trees in the orchard as the coming months go by.

After my 11’s, a hot chocolate and lovely piece of Ginger cake, I returned to make my bonfire with what was left of the rubbish – the thicker branches that wouldn’t go through the shredder and a great pile of Hawthorn. I don’t put Hawthorn through the shredder on principle, because the thorns go through it intact and take a long time to decompose properly in the soil. In all that time, anybody putting their hands into the soil may find them and almost every year you can see in the papers that a gardener somewhere gets badly infected from thorns in compost heaps and the like with some gardeners even dying from tetnus. My home-made paper fire lighters soon had the fire going, but as often happens the heart burnt out of the fire, so I ended up re-lighting it several times as people kept bringing me more paper and cardboard rubbish. Several of them said, “I could smell smoke, so I thought to myself, Alan’s having a fire.” Even the manager, David cleared out an old desk and brought great armfuls of confidential papers to carefully burn. As he said it was quicker than putting them through a shredder and more effective at destroying them totally.

This week I had decided to stay for more hours at the centre, so it was time for another visit to the coffee shop and another hot chocolate along with a ham and mustard sandwich. Suitably refreshed I had another little play with my fire and then started barrowing some more of a pile of spoil that I was removing, down to the soil bank in the woodland area that I was slowly in the process of landscaping. As the barrowfuls mounded up I found a rake and started to level some of it to see how it looked. Great swirling piles of leaves were all over the ground, but I thought that with a little bit of the rough soil covering them the worms would work them in, so I simply raked the soil tidily over them.

I worked hard that day and I am not really used it, so I didn’t stay for the full 5 hour day, but left a little early. Still I had managed to get a lot more done than usual by staying twice as long.

Click Here For Information