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Nurturing Young Plants

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

Monday 12 July 2021

And the rain came!

We took shelter inside, on the farm.

During moments when the rain ceased, we ventured out.

Nurturing Young Plants

We looked at redcurrant saplings (ribes rubrum) that we’d replanted from a cutting from one of the bushes a few months ago.

Redcurrant (ribes rubrum)

On one of them, there were buds, but it looked brown and dried out and snails were on it.

The others did not have insects on them and they were green and growing with new leaves!

We cleared the weeds and grass from around the young plants to give them space to grow and made sure they had plenty of water. They were growing well in the soil they were in, so we didn't give them more nutrients this time.

Red currants plants produce a vivid pink flower in Spring. They have shiny red sour berries in the autumn, which are used to make jams and jellies and they have medicinal uses. A black dye can be made from the berries and a yellow dye from the leaves. We will try extracting dye from the plant during one of Chilton Magic Garden club days.

Harvesting Willow Shoots

We went around the pond and harvested Water Willow (Salix) shoots using secateurs.

Also branches of unripe fruit and greenery to decorate a vase to decorate our shelter

'Why are we harvesting willow shoots?'

The wood of the willow is fast growing, light and flexible and has been used for thousands of years, for many things like weaving baskets, the chemicals in the bark, tannins are used to cure and tan leather and cricket bats are made from willow wood.

We were going to try weaving the willow shoots.

Once the shoots were gathered, then came the task of stripping the willow of leaves. We ran our hands down the stem wearing gloves. It didn’t work so well running them up.

Bark from the willow shoot can be stripped off by pulling it through a tight fork in a stick. Removing the bark makes it more flexible and easier to bend.

We prepared 6 same length and diameter sticks of willow for weaving.

We crossed 3 over 3 to make a cross. Then with another willow we wrapped it around 3, then twisted and wrapped around the next 3. It was hard to twist the willow shoots.

Next time we will try soaking them in water to soften them more.

One of us made their own invention by tying the shoots together with string. It looked very creative.

We collected some bramble shoots from outside to see if they were easier to work with. We stripped the bramble’s thorns using leather and gloves. Not all the thorns came off completely, so they were a bit spikey and not easy to work with.

A dream catcher was made by bending a bramble shoot into a ring and binding it with string to make the frame. Then a pattern was made by tying the string at points around the ring from the outside going in.