Tree Planting

It’s been an amazing week, you’d have thought it was summer except there’s a chill in the wind and standing in the shade you can really feel it. At least it’s getting spring off to a good start but do watch out for overheating in greenhouses and frames.

My shed got its second coat of Cuprinol on, a job I needn’t do again for a few years at least. The worst mistake you can make with a wooden building is to not use preserver. It’s one of those jobs you can put off, ‘I’ll do it when I get around to it’. The trouble is you never do until the wood has started to rot.

So I gave myself an incentive by deciding not to start putting things into the shed until it had had two good coats. It might seem silly, but it forced me into getting it done. The second coat took less than half the time of the first, so not too bad.

Thursday was a good day as well. About a month ago I developed a really bad toothache. The sort of toothache where you start looking for the pliers because you just can’t stand it.

Well we’d put off finding a dentist after we moved, as you do, and so a bit of a game to get one when I needed it. NHS direct, after ages holding on the phone, found one who’d take me as an emergency and lucky for me he’s a good chap and was willing to undertake a root canal job on the NHS.

Many dentists won’t do it because the NHS pays them less than they want for that job. It’s taken a number of visits, a lot of unpleasant time in the chair but now the job is done. I can eat normally again! Thanks Dr Kia!

Planting Trees

Our neighbours put us onto a lady selling trees in the nearby village of Talysarn, so we bought a few. Now according to my 1924 Country Gentlemen’s Estate Book, there is no need to plant more than 1,000 trees per acre. We settled on eight from her, 4 goat willows, 2 ash and 2 crab apple whips.

It’s getting late for planting bare rooted trees, so another job not to put off. Val dug one hole just to the side of the house but came across a sheet of slate. We suspect it’s the floor of an old building, maybe some sort of small shed or maybe a ‘small house’ (toilet). So that tree ended up elsewhere until we’ve done our time team investigtions.

Trees are so important to the ecology, they provide a home for birds of course but they also provide shelter for other animals and break up the wind at ground level. Not to forget they’re beautiful in themselves.

The plan is to mainly use native species, locally sourced if at all possible. They’re adapted to the conditions around here. Those vast tracts of conifers may well be the most economic crop, providing timber and firewood, but they’re well nigh sterile below the canopy.

Our mixed native species will, eventually, be providing us with some crops. Hawthorn and rowan berries for jellies, rose-hips for rose-hip syrup and hazel nuts for starters. We may even live long enough to see some walnuts!

I’ve mentioned firewood and eventually I hope to coppice some trees for that but in the meantime we took a walk around and started collected odd branches just lying on the ground.

Once you start looking, it’s surprising how many branches there are just lying around. The twiggy bits at the end are very useful for getting the fire going and the thicker pieces, about an inch in diameter, burn well even if it is a bit time consuming cutting them to a length that will fit into the woodburner. Still, it’s free fuel and being as we’re on LPG gas for the central heating at twice the price of mains gas, I’m not complaining at a cost saver.

The goat willows are in on the side of the drive, well spaced as we’ll be planting other trees and hedging shrubs in the autumn between them. The crab apples are in to the side of the house and the ash have gone in at the far end of the back field. Our neighbours gave me some spiral plastic tree guards as well, so hopefully the rabbits won’t eat the bark and buds.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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