Learning from the Land

For the last six years we have been encouraging parts of our 3-acre plot to go wild in an attempt to increase the habitat for wildlife and to study what arrives. Here is some of the progress to date:

Getting rid of chemicals and plastic

When we first saw this site it was being used as a small plant nursery. The topsoil had been scraped off down to the clay beneath and terram woven matting laid down with gravel on top to suppress weeds and make a tidy working area. This had then been kept weed free with large quantities of roundup and other chemicals.

There were old plastic trays and racks and plant pots all round the site, many of which had deteriorated in the sun and rain, splitting into tiny fragments that were mixing with the soil. Others were buried in huge overgrown areas, dumped as trays of unwanted plants, which had taken root and grown into thickets.

We decided on a few basic principles:

  • no more pesticides or weedkillers
  • no more plastic on site
  • reduce non-native species as they naturally died or became too large
  • introduce more wildlife-friendly plants
  • have some areas of the site where wildlife had top priority and humans came last