Spring is coming

Spring was in the air but then things have taken a dramatic change. Temperatures have plummeted and the wind has been blowing, even a touch of snow!

The volunteer house has had its spring scrubbing and ready for the first volunteers to arrive. And the volunteer places have all been filling up fast, still some availability but full enough to get us through the next few months. Just as well as developments in the tree nursery have been definitely behaving like spring.

This year is very exciting for the tree nursery as we have the polytunnel up and at the ready for the beginning of the season unlike last year. This will be our first full growing season. The seeds collected last Autumn have started to show signs of germination, some already sprouting so it has been a race and a few very long days to get them from their winter storage pots and planted into seed trays so we don’t loose them. Last year we lost quite a lot of our seed as they germinated in their winter storage pots as we had nowhere for them to go as the polytunnel was delayed in going up. We did our best at preparing a site outside but then we had to transplant what tiny seedlings had survived straight outside to be hit by either frosty wind one month to then scorched by the baking sunshine the next. I am hoping we can control the temperatures a bit better in the tunnel and certainly protect them from the fearsome winds when they are such delicate wee seedlings. I am sure there will be a whole other set of issues but for now I have been loving the indoor space to work in any weather and filling what was an empty space up with rows of seed trays! We have been doing different trials on planting some hazel straight into rootrainers, seed trays and outside to see if any differences can be noted. Also I had no success with Birch seed last year so I have some soaking in water for a period of three weeks, some planted in trays with plastic over the top and some just sprinkled on the surface of seed trays with vermiculite on top. Hopefully one if not all are successful and we can get some birch growing. The most exciting is now watching for the seedlings to pop up above the soil, so far we have Cherry and Ash winning the race!

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Sycamore, Alder and Ash seed

Sycamore, Alder and Ash seed laid out in trays before getting compost over the top

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Some seed like Hazelnuts and Acorns have had to be protected from the rats and mice in meshed box’s

The tunnel starting to fill up with seed trays and the first signs of seedlings…..

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