Tim Young - 14 April 2012
Easter is a busy time in the year for the allotment, and ours is no exception – weather permitting we’ve been getting down to the plot most weekends, and our house and garden are full of seedlings in various states of growth. We’re in relatively good shape at the moment – most of our beds are dug, we’ve got spuds, onions and some squash in the ground, a bunch of brassica, pea and tomato seedlings at home, and we’re still enjoying the last of our purple sprouting from last year – which is absolutely delicious.
The most exciting thing recently though has been planting an apple tree. It’s a semi-dwarfing Fiesta from Walcot Organic Nursery, and although at the moment it’s more of a stick in the ground than a tree, there was something particularly satisfying about planting it. I’m not sure why exactly, as the process of planting was, in essence, the same for the potatoes we put in on Saturday, or the raspberry canes that went in over the winter. But I definitely had a bigger sense of fulfilment after planting the tree.
Perhaps it’s the connection between tree-planting and environmental care. Although it’s semi-dwarfing, the tree must doing more for my carbon footprint than the spuds that will succumb to either blight or my stomach before the summer is done. And maybe this sense of permanency is what’s important – planting a tree implies a long-term relationship to nurture nature that is probably at the heart of why I’m trying to keep an organic allotment in the first place.
Regardless of the precise reason why, planting my little tree the other day felt good, and by coincidence when I returned to the office (the tree was planted in a mad lunch-time dash across Bristol) one of my emails was about the news that the Soil Association’s Woodmark scheme has certified ethical wood at 19 different sites around the Olympic Park in Stratford. The wood – which has been sourced from all around the world – is certified to either FSC or PEFC standards, which means that the wood is from forests that are being managed for the long-term well being of people and the planet. Apparently there’s been 12,500 cubic metres of certified timber used on the site, which somewhat puts my sapling in the shade – in some funny way though I like to think the underlying principles beneath these two ‘projects’ are linked.
Tim is editor of the Soil Association's Living Earth magazine, and has written on food, health and consumer issues for the last ten years. When not at work Tim is normally being run ragged by his two young sons. In 2009 Tim started trying to grow vegetables, and last year he took on an allotment. Two years later he is still trying to grow vegetables, and is very hopeful that one day soon he will have some success.