(The Story of the Uk’s first Palm Tree Farm)
November 2021, and welcome to our new blog.
Recently we purchased a nine acre plot of land near the Devon/Cornwall border to build Britain’s first Palm Tree Farm and this is our story documenting the trials and tribulations on creating a project of this size from scratch. The plan is to publish monthly updates highlighting the successes an failures of our new adventure.
After 26 years of running a nursery in Exeter we decided after Brexit that we needed a long term future plan and finally managed to secure at auction a very rough neglected plot right on the A30 that included an ancient slate quarry that now accommodates a large fresh water pond. ( perfect for irrigation was our thinking) and here was our first challenge.
We needed to begin first by testing the water for Ph, ammonia and nitrates and secondly by determining weather any contamination had taken place after the quarry was abandoned over 70 years ago. The title deed suggested there were disused water tanks under the water with lead piping leading to a water valve. There seems very little signs of life in the water except a family of Mallards that reside deep in the undergrowth so I guess that shows signs of promise.
Our thoughts at this point was to gradually add vegetation to oxygenate the water and ultimately to stock fish which would be perfect for wildlife. the surroundings of the quarry are extremely overgrown and reminds us of ‘Devils bayou’ the very creepy scene at the beginning of Disney’s ‘The Rescuers’, so that is our nickname.
The quarry is a natural wildlife haven for birds including a roosting Tawney Owl by day and there are many mature hawthorn trees covered with berries that we need to protect.
Moving on to the long term objective!
We have many Roe Deer, thousands of rabbits, and there are foxes, badgers and probably many other critters yet to be discovered I am sure.
The first thing we needed to do was apply for planning permission to erect two Poly tunnels and this can take up to two months but in the meantime we are making some temporary pathways until the permission is granted and have measured two growing areas where we plan to plant 20,000 young Palm Trees over the next three years. We are also putting up a new gateway of 12 feet width and planning stock fencing to keep the rabbits and Deer from eating the young plants.
That’s about it for this month we will document our progress at the beginning of each month.