Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Coppicing willow with the Wild Penwith volunteers (again).

It's that time of the year again! Although the spring seems more advanced than at this point last year.... The Wild Penwith Volunteers came on their fifth working day out to the farm today to help us coppice another line of willow, and plant willow around the remainder of our vegetable field.
Bex has revamped our volunteering board.
We inherited three lines of willow coppice windbreak on the south hedge of the veg field, and today we have completed planting offcuts of this willow so there are three lines of coppice around the entire field. Last year we coppiced the back line and planted along the east and west of the field. Today we coppiced the middle line and planted along the north of the field. Next year we'll coppice the front and final line, and introduce a windbreak to another part of the farm.
Coppicing the willow.
Greg Humphries explaining the finer points of coppicing.
There's a lot more to coppicing than just lopping down trees at the base. Because we want the willow to be healthy and continue growing and producing we must leave it in good shape, with no avenues for rot to set in, and no damage to the stump. Greg once again was on hand to explain how to coppice correctly.
Last year's coppice on the right, this year's in the centre, and next year's on the left.
Willow provides a flexible permeable windbreak for the vegetables we grow, a godsend in this incredibly windy part of the country. In addition, the wood we cut can be used as woodfuel, charcoal, pea-sticks, plant supports, or woven into baskets, hurdles etc... or used in green woodwork.
A tired but rewarded group of volunteers at the end of the day.
Many thanks to Greg, David and all who came to coppice - see you again next year!

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