A community initiative
Our Tree Nursery, which was first
established in the 1980s has grown from being a a simple production
facility for tree plants to a wider initiative, where one can see
the entire wood cycle. Here Geoffrey Sinclair & Adria Pittock
, our tree wardens, describe this project. This article was published
in Permaculture Magazine.
Adria and my (Geoff Sinclair) introduction to allotments was in 1993 when our first impression was not of the Ipswich Wildlife Group's tree nursery, which we had just volunteered to look after, but of the great quantities of bamboo being used by neighbouring allotment holders. There could be no better indicator of how remote we have become from our own environment than this importing of twigs from China to support runner beans! If we can not supply bean poles from our own environment it is difficult to imagine us ever successfully tackling the bigger sustainability issues
Situated in a derelict corner of a large allotment field we considered the tree nursery well placed for promoting the British bean pole by growing our own and encouraging others to do the same.
HOME GROWN BEANPOLESInitially we rented an adjacent allotment and planted it with hazel, which makes excellent bean poles, and other native shrubs grown from seed at our nursery. This year Ipswich Allotment Holders Association has made three vacant allotments available for us to plant with hazel, with other sites likely to become available in later years. In addition we have provided plants and advice to local gardeners who have planted their own supply of bean poles. Last year fifty enthusiastic five-year olds from Dales Hall School planted a new hazel wood in their school grounds, part of which they will coppice in 6 years time with the help of the new incoming class. The cycle will then continue with this new class recoppicing the section they originally helped cut in their final year.
Our annual commitment of planting and maintaining at least 150 plants, whilst small by many peoples standards, is realistic and achievable and does build up. By the end of this year there will be five new woods in the heart of the town, providing important wildlife habitat as well as, ultimately, the annual production of over 600 bean poles and a similar amount of pea sticks.
Inspiration:Abby Ruoff, 1991, Making Twig Furniture & Other Household Things, publisher Hartley & Marks, Vancouver.
Ralph Kylloe, 1995, Rustic Traditions, publisher Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City.