Bumper Hedgerow Harvest

Thanks to Tree Wardens in London and the South East, Hedgerow Harvest has produced a bumper crop of achievements and is now poised for the next stage.

By the time the initial two-year project came to an end in May there were 59 new Fruitful Hedges and 4,542 people had taken part in 94 foraging and planting events.

This was achieved by 47 Tree Warden networks and community groups working with The Tree Council on the Hedgerow Harvest project, which was supported by a Local Food Grant from the Big Lottery.

The Tree Council, in partnership with member organisation Learning Through Landscapes, also produced an online Key Stage 3 resource for teachers which, along with recipes for using hedgerow produce, is available on the special Hedgerow Harvest website  (www.hedgerowharvest.org.uk)

The Tree Council has now secured additional funding from the Big Lottery to continue the project in the South East. The first step is to review the project, particularly the experimental Fruitful Hedge plantings, to recommend planting mixes. White and redcurrants are among the fruits that have been included in some of the experimental hedges.

Portsmouth Tree Warden network co-ordinator Pauline Powell reported to The Tree Council: “The fruit hedge is doing well, weeds, weather and vandals permitting! It has been a difficult season for trees. No apples or pears in the first year, apart from some John Downie crabs and a few Golden Hornet.  Red and white currants have been most successful, I picked a lot of currants and gooseberries yesterday.”

And Surrey Tree Warden Dave Woods said: “Our hedge is doing very well and we did harvest quite a lot of gooseberries and blackcurrants. There is also fruit on the trees for later.”

Case studies will be going up on the website to inspire more groups to plant Fruitful Hedges.

Then in 2013 the Tree Council will provide hedge maintenance training for groups who have already planted hedges, including advice on propagation, when to cut and prune, and on controlling dominant species. It is also planning to put guidance on how to manage and maintain a Fruitful Hedge on the website and to create an online forum for groups to share knowledge.