Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Orchard - We've started clearance work.

Yesterday we started the process of clearing the plot in preparation for planning the orchard. The picture below is the strip of land next to the River Ecclesbourne. One of the local farmers has a right of access to his fields through this strip. We managed to to clear back about 80% over the undergrowth in the available time.



Given the uncertainty of what is hidden under the grass and brush we only using hand held tools to clear the ground during this first pass. We were using a Kawasaki KBH27 brush cutter and managed to burn through two tanks full of petrol in the clearing process. We're raking up the felled vegetation and will be hot composting it later. The brush was mostly grass, nettles and some Himalayan Balsam. The Himalayan Balsam is an invasive species and will take a few years of repeated strimming to eradicate.  Given the proximity of the river spraying with chemicals is not an option.

We'll be relaying the hedge on the left hand side of the picture at some point soon. It looks like there's been no proper hedge maintenance for a good few years.  I was pleased to note there is some healthy looking English Elm saplings forming part of the old hedge. We'll do what we can to preserve this species of tree. The question is should we lay Derbyshire Style or Midlands style, I was raised in Buckinghamshire so I prefer the Midlands or Southern Style hedging. 

We also need to have a missing gate post installed in the entrance to the main field to enable us to rehang the steel gate which we found laying on the ground.

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