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LBKA-planting-2016-1There’s a meadow in the making on our big field. Last week the London Beekeeper’s Association planted 1200 potted wildflower plants representing 21 native species on our big field. On Friday and Saturday, volunteers first prepared the area by mowing and raking, then introduced the new plants. The team also sowed the area with the seeds of the yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), a species which can weaken and suppress more vigorous grasses, which should help the newly planted species.

We hope the new plants with thrive and provide excellent sources of nectar for both the honeybees at Mudchute as well as the many wild bee species living on the farm. These important pollinator species are essential not only for wild flora and fauna, but also play a vital role in producing the food we eat.

Many thanks to the all of the team at the LBKA, Tesco bags of help who funded the project and all of the volunteers who helped out including corporate volunteers from NOMURA bank, Costain, Cross Rail, Neal’s Yard Remedies Covent Garden.

To find out more about beekeeping, please visit the LBKA’s website and Facebook group. You can find out more about the important role pollinators play Save London Bees. Interested in what you can do to help bees? Find out more at http://www.lbka.org.uk/forage.html


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Today members of the London Beekeepers Association joined us to plant nectar-rich forage for both the honeybees in the hives at Mudchute as well as wild pollinators. The wildflower species include a wide variety of native varieties that provide nectar throughout the year. All of the wildflower species have been carefully selected by the LBKA forage officer Mark and Mudchute trustee and botanist John Swindells. Thank you to all who helped with the planting! The weather may not have been the best for our volunteers, but the rain will help water the new plants in! As they settle, please take care when walking of the area surrounding our deadhedge on the lower paddock.

Interested in finding out more about planting for bees? You an find more info on flowers for bees on the LBKA website.

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Thursday saw the planting of our very own community orchard! With the help of the London Orchard Project, volunteers, staff and students from the local George Green’s School and Cubitt Town Infants School, we planted apple, pear and plum trees, forming an orchard in the Maze Field located between the Playing Field and Forest School. It was a fantastic day only made possible by your help, thank you to all who joined us!

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Planting our first apple tree!

Planting our first apple tree!

The morning began with a visit from George Green’s School. Staff and students got stuck in helping to unload our materials for the day, including plenty of forks, shovels and spades.

Lewis McNeill of the London Orchard Project helped us identify the best sites for our trees and demonstrated how to prepare the soil to give them the best possible start on the farm. By making sure they are planted properly, we can ensure that they will be able to put their roots out and begin to establish themselves here at Mudchute when they wake up from their winter dormancy . This includes planting the trees at the right depth, loosening the surrounding soil, decreasing competition from weeds and surrounding trees, and giving them a boost with the help of symbiotic fungi. Demonstrating with help from the students, he helped us plant the first apple tree of the orchard.

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We then broke into groups to take on the heavy digging work. While digging, we uncovered earthworms of all shapes and sizes as well as the larvae of several beetle species (a rare glimpse into our subterranean ecosystem!). Once the sites were prepared, it was time for the trees!

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IMG_1501Before planting, we dipped the roots of our new trees in a wallpaper-paste-like bath of fungal spores, which will help the new trees extract nutrients from the soil. Once the trees had been dipped, the students carefully lowered the trees into their carefully prepared planting sites and began replacing the displaced soil. They then surrounded the base of the trees with dampened cardboard to help suppress weed growth, and a protective top layer of woodchip and mulch.

To protect the trees from our grazing animals, we then added tree guards made of fenceposts and wire. These will keep the trees safe from nibbling while they are young. The process was quite similar to putting in fencing, a very common chore around the farm! However, with the tall height of the posts, hard hats were required.

Students from Cubitt Town learning about blossoms.

Students from Cubitt Town learning about blossoms.

IMG_1518After a brief break for lunch, Cubitt Town Infants School came to see our morning’s work, find out more about trees and help us plant an apple tree in the playing field. The students loved finding worms and other creatures in the soil and did a fantastic job preparing the ground for our new tree, taking turns and digging expertly. The whole class helped firm in the soil and spread its surrounding bedding of woodchip. We finished planting the tree just as a storm rolled in. As we packed up our tools, the rain began, watering in our new trees!

An enormous thank you to all of the staff and volunteers who assisted on the project, the London Orchard Project, and the students and teachers from George Green’s School and Cubitt Town Infants School for all their hard work. We look forward to nurturing our new fruit trees with your help and watching them grow and develop over the years to come!

You can find more photos from our planting day below!