December update

Tree planting season is here. 5000 trees are being planted alongside Avoncliff Wood, while keeping runways open for sledging.   2000 trees to be planted on the Marlborough Downs…
Finding land is of the essence of tree planting projects. The Biodiversity Group organised the planting of 1000 trees 11 years ago at Barton Country Park, and has planted hedgerows and has laid hedges.  If you would like to volunteer with the Barton Farm conservation group, they meet the 2nd Saturday of the month 9.30-12.30 pm at the Packhorse Bridge.  Please email beforehand for more information.

Carbon sequestration: The IPCC states that 89% of all emissions can be mitigated by improving soil carbon levels. By increasing the humus component of the soil by 20% nearly 10 tonnes more soil carbon can be stored by 2035.

You can do your bit
1. Stop using chemicals to encourage a healthy soil microbe population to help feed and protect your plants and avoid harming beneficial insects, pollinators and wildlife.
2. Avoid digging and compaction which destroy soil life and structure. Be gentle with the earth – layer UP  (see 3) instead of digging DOWN.
3. Continually add organic matter – this is one of the building blocks of healthy soil.  Add compost, fresh grass clippings and other organic materials that haven’t been contaminated with chemicals.
4. No bare soil – cover with mulch or a living ground cover, otherwise weeds will turn up. Use what you have handy such as leaves, dried grass clippings, this helps feed the soil and retain moisture.
5. Moisture matters – the more organic matter your soil has, the greater the moisture holding capacity. Usually at some time of the year your garden will get little or no rain.  If your soil is too dry your plants can’t access the nutrients.
Fuller information about these tips here

Isabella Tree, conservationist and writer about the wilding she and her husband introduced on their family farm, was on Desert Island Discs this week, listen here