Wednesday, 16 June 2010

hazel beanpoles

In vegetable gardens across the land, gardeners are erecting frames for climbing beans.

Almost every gardener will use regular, straight, imported bamboo canes.

The sustainable gardener, wishing to reduce the inputs in his organic garden, might wonder whether importing and using bamboo canes is the best option for supporting climbing beans.

'National Beanpole Week' was introduced some years ago to encourage gardeners to use hazel poles taken from local nature reserves. Taking the stems from hazel 'stools' in native woodland in a planned and regular way is a necessary part of woodland management. By cutting back the hazel on a frequent basis, light floods into the woodland floor, allowing a diverse range of native flora to flourish. It is a practice that goes back hundreds of years and it is this practice that has helped shape our woodlands and countryside.

If this work doesn't happen, our woods become much less wildlife friendly and rare flowers, insects and birds are lost.

Gardeners can make this necessary part of nature conservation work more likely to happen by creating a market for the hazel poles. This renewable resource is grown locally and does not need to be imported from thousands of miles away.

So, this year, we made a small step towards this by getting our wildlife trust to deliver poles for sale to allotment holders.

Demand exceeded supply!!

Because there weren't enough for everyone to use, I had to 'stretch' mine to make our beanframe. But, here it is, robust, rustic and rather too widely spaced, but, at last, my beanpoles are in and my bean frame is formed.

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