When we talk about becoming self sufficient we normally talk about food, and rightly so as it's one of the most important things. The conversation then often moves on to heat and power, firewood , solar energy, wind power, ect.
But what other materials would we need to grow to be self sufficient? I've been thinking about this and one thing that would be important to me would be the ability to grow some of the materials I use.
Now I'm never going to be able to use an oak tree that I've planted unless I live to be over a hundred years old (so those are planted for the future grand children), but there are other trees that I use that can be much younger.
For example I've got a clump of hazel at the bottom of my garden that's going to provide my bean poles this year and the tops will be my pea sticks. Although this clump has to be removed, due to some drainage work I need to do, it would provide my bean poles for many years to come if it was harvested properly, alone with firewood and other things. I've planted lots of hazels in my coppice as a future replacement for this clump, as well as some extra firewood, but it got me thinking.
The rest of my coppice is going to be planted up to hybrid willow to be cropped on a short rotation for firewood, but willow has many other uses and maybe it would be worth planting some different types encase I wanted to use some in the future.
|Really well packaged willow|
One use you think of is basketry when you think of willow, and I don't think I've got the time to start that any time soon, but it's also great for making hurdles and climbing features in the garden, both of which would be great things to do with the children on a spring morning and the ability to make my own hurdles would be very useful when we've got stock or to keep wild animals out.
So I set about on the internet to find some more willows. I've already got a couple of hundred hybrids planted (although they haven't done that well yet) so I wanted to increase the diversity of the willow I've got for firewood and to plant some willow for basketry to be grown in a separate plot.
I stumbled upon the world of willow website which had over 80 varieties of willow to choose from, From firewood and basketry to growing willow for goat feed and bees. there were slightly more expensive than buying cuttings from eBay but I wanted it to come from a reliable source, especially if I'm to propagate from it in the future.
|It came with lots of information on each type of willow that I had|
I chose two packs, one for fuel and short rotation coppice (50 of these) and one for basketry (20 of these), with five varieties in each.
In the basketry selection there was - Willam Rogers (K1), Golden (K17), Calliantha (K39), Harrison (K58), Pheasant Brown (K63).
I was really pleased that I had such diversity in the packs and the colours in the basketry pack were really great (Golden looks lovely) I was also pleased that it came with a information sheet on each variety of willow along with planting instructions, it doesn't take much but the little touches are really appreciated. It was also really well packaged, each type being sealed in a packet and labled up.
I'll hopefully get these in over the weekend (through some weed matting this time), I'm really looking forward to seeing how these grow.
Anyone else got any other trees planted for uses other than firewood?
BTW - This post is not in any way sponsored by World Of Willow, infact they don't even know I've written it yet (but if they want to send me anything I won't say no!).