Thursday 27 February saw the planting of a new community orchard at Mudchute. With the help of the London Orchard Project, volunteers, staff and pupils from the local George Green’s School and Cubitt Town Infants School, apple, pear and plum trees were planted to form an orchard in the Maze Field, located between the Playing Field and Forest School.
Lewis McNeill of the London Orchard Project helped identify the best sites for the trees and demonstrated how to prepare the soil to give them the best possible start on the farm. Making sure they are planted properly will ensure that they will be able to put their roots out and begin to establish themselves 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. Before planting, the roots of the trees were in a wallpaper-paste-like bath of fungal spores, which will help the new trees extract nutrients from the soil. To protect the trees from grazing animals, tree guards made of fence posts and wire were added. These will keep the trees safe from nibbling while they are young.
Justine Aw, a Mudchute Trustee who helped arrange the planting day, said “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 see more photos from the day on the Mudchute blog.
Photos by Justine Aw