Monday, February 22, 2021
Hedges, departing friends and onions
You’d think there wouldn’t be much to do at the farm on dreary cold February days, but we’re always as busy as ever. I read an article in the Guardian about hedges: (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/02/reservoirs-of-life-hedgerows-help-uk-net-zero-2050-aoe). We have certainly done our bit towards creating hedges in the past few years, having planted thousands of trees along fences in the area. But it turns out it’s all about management. Hedgerows are important corridors for wildlife, they help to sequester carbon, and they can assist in reducing flooding, at the same time as preventing soil erosion. Instantly consumed by hedge zeal, we organised a coppicing day in the orchard. Many years ago, after five of us attended a basket weaving morning, we planted willow whips as a hedge, with a view to making baskets. Years later, with baskets still unmade, we have a row of tall trees, or, as it now transpires, an unmanaged hedge. So we basically sawed these trees off at knee height, leaving a few taller ones as pollards, for variety. The day was one of the coldest of the winter, and we recalled another reason for planting the hedge – as bulwark against a biting east wind which sometimes sweeps over, seemingly straight from Siberia. The trees have deep root systems, and in no time lots of new shoots will spring from the cut stems, thickening the hedge nicely (and providing even more raw materials for baskets…)
We came together yesterday at the farm to say goodbye to Judy, who has been with us almost since the beginning of Transition Town Dorchester, and certainly as long as I’ve been here. It is sad when old friends leave, and she will be missed. We celebrated by planting 160 onion sets and promised her that if she comes back to visit, she can have an armful of onions!