How do we grow our trees and plants?
We believe that gardening should happen in harmony with nature and not work against it, and support growing systems like forest gardening and companion planting which benefit both gardener and garden inhabitants. We are especially concerned, as beekeepers, that gardens should help bees and other pollinators.
We do not use any chemicals at all in our production, and if we ever need to for reasons of plant health, we’ll always choose ones that are registered for organic use or have minimal impact. Likewise with fertilisers – we use organic poultry manure pellets on our trees, and in our garden and container-grown stock we only use bonemeal, seaweed meal, wood ash and other natural fertilisers.
We are working towards using peat-free compost, but have struggled to get good results from the proprietary ones! For now, we choose reduced peat composts and those which contain peat from the most sustainable sources. Sometimes we are able to make up our own compost mixes.
We are currently growing our maiden trees at Blackhaugh Community Farm which is run on organic principles throughout. This season we have been experimenting with green manures instead of plastic mulches and multi-cropping with various soft fruits.
We would like to find a decent alternative to plastic pots, but are currently re-using and recycling them as far as possible. We recycle all our green waste on our own compost heaps and through the digestive systems of our hens; all glass, paper, card and recyclable plastic, if we can’t find a second, third or fourth use for it, is taken to the local recycling centre. We recycle boxes and packaging for plants and use recycled paper in the printer.
We welcome any further advice on reducing our environmental impact, or making a more positive one!
My e-bike upon return to UK from a trip to France
Back in April I bought an electric bike and have totted up over 1500 carbon free commuting miles on it in 2019! It is my intention to keep my use of the van to a minimum in 2020. I am also considering removing any new plastic from the production cycle of my potted trees, a pet project for 2020!