Maidenhall Community Orchard

Just a brief update on what has happened so far.

There are about nine of us who are fairly committed to this and we have decided to start with a sub of £10 to get the ball rolling. I signed the lease last week (in triplicate X three for the different chunks of land) so we can now start clearing the plot. We are kicking off with a rubbish clearing session on Monday 21st Feb at 10.30 in the morning. Anyone who would like to help will be most welcome and we’ll try to supply gloves and tea, coffee, etc. There’s quite a bit of plastic and bits of old carpet on the site at the moment but it does not look too bad and the soil is otherwise bare.

Susannah at the People’s Community Garden is keen to help in any way she can which is brilliant as the land is very close to where they are – and they have the tea making facilities and a compost toilet and friendly people to badger for advice!

We’ve decided to buy trees as cheaply as we can and get donated stock for fruit bushes and small stuff wherever possible – so if anyone has spare raspberry canes they could donate, please let one of us know. We’ll put two or three larger fruit trees in the central area where they will create some shape for the garden and will also avoid shading nearby plots.

Eric has kindly agreed to do us a design for a permaculture “forest garden”, (which as far as I understand is an integrated approach where different storeys of the garden produce fruit and other produce at different levels, much like in a nature.) We will also use some local varieties but there will be a pragmatic approach, too, where we use what’s available. Dave has already secured a couple of Bramleys and several of us have a few spare rootstocks of fruit bushes.

We may also grow some quick crops in available space, as it’s unlikely that we will fill the whole orchard this spring. The sap is already starting to rise, so we have not very much time to work with.

We decided that produce would be shared between members and we will also do some community events such as Apple Days and preserve making. We hope to have some regular involvement for the wider community as the orchard develops.
If anyone else is interested in getting involved, please contact me, Rona, on rnshrp (at) gmail.com (lose the spaces and replace (at) with @ – this is done to prevent spam bots getting my email address!) There’s definitely room for one or two more members at the moment.

About Rona

I'm interested in orchards and in improving cycling facilities so that more people feel safe to cycle more of the time. I would also like to help exchange skills for green living. I helped start and continue to help run a community orchard on one of the allotments in south Ipswich. I also run a website on green living - www.greenfootsteps.com. This is a worldwide website and anyone with a skill to share or an insight into green living methods and ideas is welcome to submit articles.
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